The main sources of real estate law are the Registered Land Act and the Stamp Duty Act.
After Hurricane Irma in 2017 and in an attempt to stimulate the market, the government implemented a reduction of stamp duties on real estate sales. The pandemic caused a further contraction of the real estate market and as Anguilla relies on the tourism sector and its status as a tax-free jurisdiction, the closure of its borders was deeply felt.
Over the past 12 months, motivated sellers, coupled with the stamp duty incentive, which was extended to 31 December 2023, resulted in increased sales of properties between locals and also of investment properties for foreign direct investment. This market is still recovering.
Additionally, the government launched the Digital Nomads Programme, which encouraged people to reside in Anguilla for up to one year while working remotely. The government has reported that this also stimulated the real estate industry as a few digital nomads acquired property.
Recent significant deals include the sale of several villas and condominium units (priced between USD500,000 to USD5 million) in the resort managed and operated by Four Seasons Anguilla; the acquisition of Cuisinart Resort (now known as Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club) and the transport of the resort’s passengers and others by Aurora Airlines; as well as the sale of several properties with values ranging between USD300,000 to USD3 million.
We are not aware of active steps to adapt to the use of emerging disruptive technologies in the real estate industry in Anguilla. In addition, we are not aware of any impact in relation to disruptive technologies and therefore have not assessed the possible impact on the real estate market over the next 12 months.
There are currently no proposals for reform that would significantly impact real estate investment or development.
In relation to ownership, there is a proposal to digitise the Land Registry, which would allow persons to conduct online searches to confirm ownership of land.
Property rights are divided into four categories:
The applicable law is the Registered Land Act RSA c R30, which applies to all types of real estate.
A lawful transfer is effected in a sale transaction on execution of an instrument (Form RL 1 – Transfer of Land) by the proprietor/transferor to a transferee, on payment of the relevant stamp duties and registration fees and submission of the instrument for recording to the government.
Anguilla maintains a registered system of title registration.
Title insurance is common to transactions involving substantial overseas (usually US) loans to acquire and/or develop a property.
Though the Land Registry closed for a short time in 2021 and instituted controls on the amount of persons allowed entry at any time, there has been no substantial impact to the functionality of the departments on transactions.
Overseas purchasers usually request Land Registry searches to establish the legal proprietor and that the land is free from encumbrances that would affect the interest intended to be transferred. A Court Registry search is usually conducted as well to establish if there are any judgments that act as a charge over the property.
Typical warranties are:
The buyer’s remedies usually include specific performance of contracts and a claim for damages against a party to a transaction.
Representation and warranty insurance is not customarily used in the jurisdiction.
The Anguilla Registered Land Act is the most important piece of legislation for an investor to consider when purchasing real estate.
The intention of the investor will dictate whether or not other statutes are required to be considered, such as:
Other acts such as the Customs Act will be considered if an investor intends to negotiate with the government and enter into a Memorandum of Understanding for concessions and/or waiver/reduction of custom duties and taxes that will affect a project.
Other permits, licences and approvals are necessary for the project:
The Public Health Act deals with storage, discharge and disposal of contaminants and hazardous materials. Environmental Health Officers are authorised to enter upon any premises with or without the consent of the owner to conduct inspections as necessary under the act.
A buyer should conduct due diligence prior to entering into any contract as environmental protection legislation does not run with the land at this point.
If the buyer fails to conduct the required due diligence prior to the completion of the transaction and purchases the real estate as is, and also if contamination is present and the buyer discovers this and fails to include terms in the contract, then the responsibility for remedial work will fall to the buyer, especially if there are no warranties by the seller relating thereto included as a term of the agreement.
An Environmental Impact Assessment may be required for different reasons and also based on the intent of the investor.
There is no zoning legislation save for the Special Economic Zones Act, which affects certain land, areas or locations in Anguilla declared as such by regulation by the Executive Council of the Government.
The Land Development (Control) Act, mentioned above, governs the development (building or rebuilding engineering or mining operations; making of material change in the use of building or land; subdivision or alteration of the nature or the character of any land).
The Planning Committee is, however, guided by the Proposed Anguilla National Land Use Plan, which was prepared in consultation with the United Nations Development Programme.
Notwithstanding that there is no zoning legislation, areas are identified by various designations such as institutional/commercial use; resort; resort/residential; etc.
Refer to 2.6 Important Areas of Law for Investors with respect to the specific development agreements with relevant public authorities.
The government may compulsorily acquire land under the Land Acquisition Act in instances where the land is required for a public purpose. Once the decision is taken by the government in council, a declaration (which shall include the description of the land, the public purpose for which it is required, etc) is published in two issues of the Gazette, which is required to be posted on a building (if any) on the property or exhibited at suitable places in the area where the land is located. The land is automatically vested in the Crown upon the second publication of the declaration in the Gazette.
If the premises are occupied during the process, the occupier must be given seven days’ written notice if it is intended to enter upon the land for any reason.
As soon as the declaration is made, persons with an interest in the land should contact the government and there should be negotiations for compensation upon reasonable terms and conditions.
Compensation, if any, required to be paid based on the use of the land, shall be assessed and paid based on any actual damage suffered as a result of the acquisition. Such assessment is usually undertaken by a Board of Assessment.
A 5% stamp duty on transfer of land (or undivided share in land) and registration fees are customarily payable by a purchaser, who can negotiate with a motivated seller on any sale.
If the purchaser is not an Anguillian he/she/it (if an entity) shall require an Aliens Land Holding Licence (which attracts stamp duty of 12.5%) from the government to legally acquire the property. If the land purchased by a non-Anguillian is undeveloped, a 10% refundable deposit is payable by the purchaser pending completion of construction within a specified time noted on the Aliens Land Holding Licence.
If shares in a company that owns property are transferred, the same principle applies; ie, 5% of the value of the assessed value of land being transferred in the transaction; and USD5 for every USD500 or part thereof on the share or stock in the company, which is payable at the Companies’ Registry.
So long as an interest in property is being transferred, stamp duty on the transfer will apply.
Reduction of Stamp Duties to Stimulate the Real Estate Market (Which Expires on 31 December 2023)
There are circumstances (negotiated with the government) in which:
An Aliens Land Holding Licence is required before a foreign person can legally acquire an interest in real estate.
This is negotiated between/among the parties concerned. Typical financing options include personal savings or loans.
The following securities are typically created or entered into by commercial real estate investors:
There are no restrictions, save that an Aliens Land Holding Licence will be required by a foreign lender as this affects an interest in land. There are no restrictions on repayments being made to a foreign lender; the repayment terms are a matter of contract.
Stamp duty on the charge to be registered against the property is 1% of the charge (loan) amount. Stamp duty on the loan document is USD20. Registration fees on each document are USD37.20. There are no documentary taxes in Anguilla. Notary public fees will vary.
The enforcement of security would be dependent on the requirements and steps taken to recover any outstanding amount. This may involve court costs and fees, legal fees and costs resulting in the transfer by the chargee (lender) and the attendant stamp duties and registration fees.
The Articles of Incorporation/by-laws and other underlying documents, if any, of the entity would dictate this.
So long as the lender holds a first legal charge over the security or at the onset, the lender ensures that the charge ranks pari passu with any existing charge, then the lender, along with the prior charge (lender) will rank in priority to the interests of other creditors.
The Registered Land Act will dictate the steps required to be taken in a foreclosure. After three months of default the lender may exercise its powers of sale and take steps to sell the land at public auction. A defaulting borrower/proprietor, in good faith, may seek to vary the repayment terms of an outstanding loan.
It is possible for existing secured debt to become subordinated to newly created debt in any circumstances, whether by agreement or otherwise, with the consent of the first chargee (lender). The balance due on the existing loan and the value of the security will dictate whether or not a lender will take the security.
A lender holding or enforcing security over real estate cannot be liable under environmental laws if it did not cause any pollution of the real estate, as the interest is not proprietary in nature.
There is no law that makes security interests void if a borrower becomes insolvent. The lender can pursue its rights under the bankruptcy laws.
The issue of interest is one that is subject to negotiation among parties. We do not envisage any changes in the post-LIBOR world.
The Land Development (Control) Act and related protocols – see 2.8 Permitted Uses of Real Estate under Zoning or Planning Law.
The Proposed Anguilla National Land Use Plan sets out the guidelines relied upon by the Planning Committee while the Anguilla Building Code is a guideline that applies to the design and construction of new buildings (alteration, demolition, relocation, reconstruction, etc), and provides recommendations with respect to waste disposal facilities and the minimum provision of water supply, etc.
The Planning Committee of the Department of Physical Planning guided by the National Land Use Plan is responsible for regulating the development and designated use of individual parcels of real estate. The submission to the Planning Committee is required to include details such as placement of the intended building and confirmation that no boundary covenants will be breached, etc.
Once planning permission with respect to the use of the land is obtained, an application is made to the Building Board under the Building Act. The decision in relation to design, layout, construction, sanitation and drainage of the intended construction is made at this level.
Development of a new project will require the necessary licences/permissions outlined above.
So long as the refurbishment does not include an addition to an existing structure that amounts to more than 25% of the square footage of the existing structure, no additional building permission may be required. It is, however, recommended that the department be consulted to ensure that the structural integrity of the building is not compromised by the refurbishment.
So long as there is no encroachment on the property of a third party, there should be no reason for an objection. However, if any citizen believes that the project may harm the environment or cause long or short-term devaluation of their property, they have the right to be heard.
There is a right of appeal against a relevant authority’s decision respecting an application for permission for development or the carrying on of a designated use. An aggrieved party has the right to appeal a decision.
A Memorandum of Understanding or similar document is usually entered into with the government. Such agreement usually includes a clause stating that the government will use its best endeavours to facilitate expeditious approvals under its control.
Agreements with utility suppliers would involve separate contracts between the developer/contractor and the utility supplier.
Restrictions on development and designated use are enforced through building inspections and notices by the Building Board under the umbrella of the Department of Physical Planning.
As at 19 April 2022, the Anguilla Companies Act (ABC) and the International Business Company Act (IBC) were repealed. Therefore, the only type of company that is now legally able to hold an interest in property is one governed by the Business Companies Act (BCA).
A foreign Limited Liability Company (LLC) such as a Delaware LLC can also hold title subject to government approval in relation to alien shareholders, if any, and registration as a foreign company under the BCA.
A foundation is considered by some persons to be a preferred vehicle.
There is no specific feature that the by-laws of a company formed to invest in real estate would contain. As is usual in companies, there will be mechanisms for approval of contracts and agreements, voting rights of investors etc.
The minimum capital required to set up each type of entity used to invest in real estate would be the value of one share.
The governance requirements will be set out the legislation under which the entity is formed.
A company that holds an interest in property is required to ensure that all the statutory requirements are met. This includes the filing of an Annual Return and Economic Substance Return and complying with normal accounting principles. The costs associated with these requirements can vary, but they start at a minimum of USD800. Accounting compliance costs will vary based on the organisation that is performing this function.
Rental and lease agreements can be entered into, to occupy and use real estate for a limited period of time without buying it outright. Persons/entities rarely enter into licensing agreements.
Commercial lease agreements are dependent on the intended use of the properties and the terms agreed between the parties.
Rental and lease agreements are not regulated, save that if the lease term exceeds a period of two years the lease is required to be recorded in the Land Registry.
The following terms are typically included in a lease agreement for business premises, whether contractual or regulated:
The rent payable will not necessarily remain the same as long as the lease lasts. There is usually a clause with respect to incremental/periodical/annual rental increase based on the duration of the lease (calculated using the CPI or by percentage/other).
The matter of rent increase is determined between the parties. However, if there is a disagreement regarding the amount of rent increase beyond any prior agreements, a party may refer to the limitations established in the Rent Restriction Act (Revised Statutes of Anguilla, Chapter R50). This act does not apply to furnished accommodations, building leases, or renewals or continuances of such leases for terms of 25 years or more.
Since 1 July 2022, Goods and Services Tax (GST) is payable on rental or accommodation provided for a period of 182 days or less.
Long-term rental (183 days or more) is exempt from GST.
If the lease is for a term exceeding two years, it is required to be recorded. In this event, stamp duties and registration fees will apply.
Declaration of Covenants Easements and Restrictions under which the register is created, as well as the Condominium/Home Owners Association and Unit Management Agreements, usually outline the obligations of owners in relation to the common areas of developments.
In a property occupied by multiple tenants, utilities and telecommunications costs are typically covered through Unit Management Agreements, and are prorated based on each unit’s square footage and the proportion of shared common areas. This method is used when individual units are not separately metered.
Usually the tenant is required to obtain insurance as one of the terms of a lease, with a requirement that a copy of such insurance be provided to the landlord. Recoveries are subject to the terms of the policy. We are unaware of any instances of recoveries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restrictions can be imposed by the landlord on how a tenant uses the real estate and the use of the property is usually a condition of the lease. There is no zoning statute in Anguilla.
The tenant is permitted to alter or improve the real estate. Typically, the lease agreement includes a clause stating that no structural alterations or modifications can be made without the prior consent of the landlord, and that such consent should not be unreasonably withheld.
Leases are governed by the Registered Land Act.
The landlord reserves the right to forfeit the lease where the tenant, as a company, goes into liquidation or, as an individual, becomes bankrupt. Enforcement actions can be taken in the court.
A landlord usually ascertains that a prospective tenant is employed and requests a security payment equivalent to one or two months’ rent. There is no credit bureau in Anguilla.
The agreement usually includes a termination clause. The landlord has the right of forfeiture whether expressed or implied in the lease, after giving notice to the tenant. Eviction proceedings can be commenced.
Such permission would first be required to be included in the initial lease agreement. Some agreements indicate that the tenant does not have the right to assign for a period (say ten years from the date of the initial lease); while others may include a clause where the tenant agrees not to assign or part with possession of the premises or any portion thereof without prior written consent and for which an adjustment of the rental rate will have to be agreed.
Landlords have the right to terminate a lease in the following circumstances:
Either party may terminate after a specified period, such as 12 months, by giving, for example, no less than six months prior notice in writing, during which time the tenant should pay rent, and the landlord and tenant should perform and observe the covenants in the lease.
Tenants have the right to terminate a lease in the following circumstances:
The Registered Land Act includes other implied terms that apply to lease agreements, whether or not they are expressly included in any agreement executed between the parties.
Leases for a term of more than two years must be recorded. To effectuate the recording, the responsible party (usually the lessee) must execute and submit an instrument (Form RL 8 – Lease/Sublease) and an agreement, pay the relevant stamp duties and registration fees, and submit the instrument to the government for recording.
The stamp duty payable is calculated based on 0.05% of the value of the leased property for each year or part of a year of the lease term, up to a maximum of 5% of the value of the leased property. The registration fee is USD37.20.
A tenant can be evicted in the event of a default prior to the date originally agreed. A notice to quit giving 30 days from the date of service of the notice is usually issued. If the tenant does not leave the property after that time has passed, then an application can be made to the Magistrates’ Court. The process could take several months. There are no known eviction moratoriums.
While it is unprecedented for a lease agreement to be terminated by a third party, it is possible in certain circumstances, such as when the government claims the property for public purposes.
The most common structures used to price construction projects are cost of the work (generally per square feet).
Usually a request for tender is made. Once the selection is made, the assignment of responsibility is a matter of contract.
An indemnification clause indicating that indemnification shall not be limited in any way by any limitation on the amount or type of damages, compensation or benefits payable by or for the contractor, and subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor, is usually included in the agreement. Warranties are also included in the agreement.
A Contractor’s All Risk Insurance Policy and Workmen’s Compensation Policy are also required.
The devices are only limited by the terms of the agreement, so long as there is no contravention of the applicable statute, or policy.
In the schedule, tasks are assigned by creating a work/task schedule and creating a chart to measure progress.
Large investment projects would require performance bonds.
As most construction projects are conducted on a task-related staged payment basis with the funds being provided by the owner, whether directly or by loan, additional performance security is not required.
Contractors and/or designers are not permitted to lien or otherwise encumber a property in the event of non-payment; a claim is required to be filed.
Once the contractor issues a Certificate of Practical Completion, or a similar document, arrangements will be made for the Building Inspector to inspect the property to confirm that it is completed and fit for habitation or use for its intended purpose. An Occupancy Certificate is issued after inspection.
Gains from disposition of real property are not taxed.
There are no methods commonly used to mitigate transfer, recordation, stamp or other similar tax liability on acquisitions of large real estate portfolios.
Property taxes are payable by the proprietor of developed property whether or not it is occupied. There are no business rates and no exemptions.
Property taxes are not charged on undeveloped property (bare land).
There is no specific income tax withholding in Anguilla. However, under the Goods and Services Tax Act 2022, where a taxable person is providing goods or services to the government and is required to charge GST on those goods or services, the government may withhold such taxes that would be charged by the taxable person.
Effective 1 July 2022, goods and services tax becomes payable on short-term accommodation (rental) for a period not exceeding 182 days at a rate of 13%.
This tax is collected by the proprietor from the occupier for payment to the Inland Revenue Department.
Gains from disposition of real property are not taxed.
Exemption applies, upon the implementation of GST, to the following:
“(i) a supply of –
(i) a lease, licence, hire rental or other form of supply of accommodation, to the extent that it is a supply of the right to occupy or be accommodated in premises for 183 days or more;
(ii) leasehold land by way of lease (not being a grant or sale of the lease of that land) to the extent that the subject land is used or is to be used for the principal purpose of accommodation in a residential dwelling erected or to be erected on that land, where the lease is for 183 days or more.
(j) a supply of the following immovable property –
(i) vacant land;
(ii) a residential dwelling, that is –
(A) resold by the initial purchaser including all subsequent sales of such property; and
(B) sold by the first-time owner after two years of continuous occupancy of such premises by the owner or his immediate family;
(k) a lease, licence, hire rental of land to the extent that it is to be used for agricultural purposes;
(l) a lease, licence, hire rental of land except for in (j), where the lease is for 183 days or more.”
There are no tax benefits from owning real estate.
PO Box 58
+1 264 497 2060
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With Anguilla repeatedly being ranked as one of the best islands in the Caribbean and even in the world, its property market continues to rapidly expand with increased demand for luxury real estate. The island attracts large investment projects due to it consistently being a popular tourist destination.
Over the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a radical change in our ways of living and working and this has also greatly contributed to the property market. Individuals are now seeking a lifestyle unrestricted to a single location and Anguilla catches the eye of many with its pristine beaches, laid back tropical living, friendly people, low crime rate and exquisite seafront real estate.
In addition, Anguilla remains an attractive investment opportunity due to it being a zero-tax jurisdiction. Anguilla has no direct taxation, with no income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax or corporate tax.
Trends in the Anguilla Real Estate Market
Within the last 12 months, the property market of Anguilla has continued to flourish and expand due to the success of the tourism sector. The Government of Anguilla places great importance on safeguarding Anguilla’s identity as exclusive and unspoilt through strategic development. It has recently heavily invested in the upgrading of the island’s infrastructure including a sleek new ferry terminal with modern facilities and is currently moving forward with airport expansion plans. These development plans are viewed as key drivers for the island’s economic growth.
The strong demand for Anguilla’s premium tourism product has led to American Airlines introducing daily flights direct from Miami since December 2021. This in itself has significantly contributed to Anguilla’s tourism sector which in turn directly impacts the real estate market. A recent phenomenon which we are experiencing in Anguilla is the rising numbers of visitors seeking unique travel experiences through vacation rentals on Airbnb and VRBO as opposed to the traditional hotel stays. This has created a major opportunity for property investors and the villa rental market.
Anguilla Residency and Luxurious Living – the Residency by Investment Programmes
The Government of Anguilla has recently launched two Residency by Investment Programmes: Residence for Tax Purposes and the Residence by Investment Programme for Permanent Residency. These exciting new initiatives are attractive for high net worth individuals seeking a tax efficient residence or for individuals who want to relocate to an off the beaten track, tropical paradise.
Many foreigners purchasing second homes in Anguilla are keen to apply for the permanent residency or tax residency status to further strengthen their ties to Anguilla. The Residency by Investment Programme provides a mechanism to establish a second home in Anguilla as well as a pathway to British nationality. The Residency for Tax Purposes Programme provides a tax planning solution for very successful global citizens, international investors and entrepreneurs. These programmes are relatively new but there has been an increased interest with more and more individuals exploring this opportunity.
In addition to offering one of the most attractive tax regimes, Anguilla is a regulated offshore jurisdiction with modern and flexible financial planning solutions for both businesses and individuals such as the creation of trusts, foundations, investment funds or international companies.
Asset Protection Opportunities
Many see Anguilla as an opportunity for wealth management/asset protection. Offshore trusts have time and again proven to be one of the most effective financial vehicles for asset protection, estate planning, confidentiality and tax optimisation.
In particular, an asset protection trust is a separate legal vehicle, which can own property, bank accounts and other asset classes. It is best suited for assets that already are or can be moved offshore and for this reason real estate is quite commonly chosen as a trust asset.
Anguilla is an ideal setting for wealth management through a trust and some of the key benefits include:
Developments Contributing to the Anguilla Real Estate Market
Since the lifting of all COVID-19 travel restrictions in September 2022, Anguilla has enjoyed a busy and successful tourist season for winter 2022-23. Anguilla continues to catch the eye of many investors, being a prestigious tourist destination, a tax haven, offering top shelf real estate and the opportunity to experience a laid back and private lifestyle in an idyllic setting.
Reduction of stamp duties on property transfers for foreign investors
In an effort to further stimulate the real estate market, the Government of Anguilla has reduced the stamp duties payable by foreign purchasers until 31 December 2023. The Government has not yet made a decision as to whether this incentive will continue past this date, but currently all foreign purchasers are subject to the following stamp duty rates:
In addition, there is a 5% stamp duty payable on all property transfers.
This scheme demonstrates how receptive the Government of Anguilla is to foreign investment and the importance it places on always finding new innovative ways to grow the island’s economy.
Anguilla joins the UK’s Ocean Conservation Blue Belt Programme in February 2023
Sustainable development is the international community’s most urgent priority. Anguilla joined the UK’s Ocean Conservation Blue Belt Programme in February 2023, recognising that the promotion of sustainable development is required to ensure the long-term stability of its economy and environment.
Joining this initiative provides Anguilla with an opportunity to manage its coastal and marine resources, respond to marine challenges and preserve the health of the ocean ecosystem to ensure marine environments are safeguarded for future generations.
It demonstrates Anguilla’s effort to link the health of the ocean with economic growth and its focus on ensuring that the vision of sustainable development is kept at the forefront.
Anguilla is often described as “tranquility wrapped in blue” and many people have their hearts set on owning a piece of paradise after experiencing all that Anguilla has to offer. The trends and latest developments in Anguilla within the last year have brought about positive change and growth within the real estate sector and Anguilla’s focus on sustainable development will hopefully ensure long term prosperity.
P.O. Box 58
British West Indies
+1 264 497 2060
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