BUYER INFORMATION AND LAND POLICY
NEW RESIDENTIAL CERTIFICATE POLICY 2021
The Economic Investment Certificate and Residential Certificate policy ensures a minimum investment in the Bermuda economy and, unlike the previous Residential Certificate policies, the Economic Investment Certificate has clear criteria for holders to be eligible to apply for the right to reside in Bermuda indefinitely while contributing to the economic well being of the Island.
An Economic Investment Certificate will require people who are granted the right to live in Bermuda to first make an economic investment of $2.5M or more in the island.
If at or after five years, the Economic Investment Certificate holder decides he or she would like to reside in Bermuda indefinitely the holder may apply for the Residential Certificate. It is important to note that moving forward one must possess an Economic Investment Certificate in order to be eligible for a Residential Certificate.
If successful, a Residential Certificate will be granted. This will give the holder as well as the holder’s spouse and/or dependents the right to reside in Bermuda for an indefinite period. The holder will also be granted automatic approval to work in the business to which he/she may have invested or to work in any other business. If the spouse of dependent of a Residential Certificate Holder desires to work in Bermuda, they will be subject to the Bermuda Work Permit Policy.
ACQUISITION OF BERMUDA PROPERTY BY NON-BERMUDIANS
Non-Bermudians may only purchase property valued above a set minimum Annual Rental Value (ARV). The minimum ARV for houses is $126,000 and $25,800 for condominiums.
The ARV is used to determine land tax and is not necessarily a reflection of market value.
Houses with a qualifying ARV start at approximately $2,350,000 and condominiums at approximately $320,000.
ARVs may be viewed on the Department of Land Valuation.
The effect of these guidelines means that only the highest valued properties are available to Non-Bermudian purchasers.
Non-Bermudians must acquire a Residency Certificate to purchase a condominium, which they are not eligible for if they have a work permit. This certificate does not apply for houses.
A Non-Bermudian is permitted to own up to 2 properties.
A Non-Bermudian is not permitted to acquire vacant land except in specific tourism developments.
There are situations where a Non-Bermudian is permitted to purchase a house with more than one assessment number upon application. However, the ARV of one of the assessment numbers alone must be above the $126,000 minimum.
Non-Bermudians who purchase property are not able to rent it out for short-term or holiday rentals unless it is in a specific hotel tourism designated development. Non-Bermudians may be granted permission to rent their property upon application to the Department of Immigration which is subject to a tax of 7.25%.
ACQUISITION OF BERMUDA PROPERTY BY BELONGERS
A Belonger is able to purchase any property on the market with some exceptions.
A Belonger is permitted to acquire vacant land, a property that is part of a Government Scheme, and may not rent out a property that they own which has two assessment numbers.
A Belonger is permitted to own up to 2 properties.
A Belonger married to a Bermudian no longer needs to apply for a licence to own real estate when purchasing jointly.
LICENSING AND FEES
Non-Bermudian purchasers must obtain a licence from the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs; their application is made through a local attorney of their choosing. Licence fees are 8% of the purchase price of a house and 6% for a condominium.
Licence Fees for Belonger purchasers are 4% of the property purchase price.
The licence fees for a property within a hotel development is at 6.5%.
Applicants are required to provide a banker’s reference and personal references (preferably Bermudian if possible).
The licence application fee is currently $1,546 (refundable upon licence approval).
MULTIPLE PROPERTY OWNERSHIP
Generally, a non-Bermudian is permitted to own two residential properties.
PREPARING TO PURCHASE A PROPERTY
Buying a home is one of the most important decisions you may make and certainly one of the most significant investments of your life. Start preparing with these five tips: Top 5 Things To Do When Preparing To Purchase A Property
If you have any questions, our qualified team of experts are ready to assist you and help address any queries you may have.
COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH PURCHASE OF PROPERTY
Deposit: A deposit of 10% of purchase price is payable upon signing sale and purchase agreements. The deposit is held in escrow by the Agent or Attorney until closing. Interest accrued is for the Purchaser’s benefit. Balance is payable when sale completes.
Stamp Duty: Bermuda Government Stamp Duty is calculated on purchase price:
- • First $100,000 is at 2%
- • Next $400,000 is at 3%
- • Next $500,000 is at 4%
- • Next $500,000 ($1,000,000 but not exceeding $1,500,000) is at 6%
- • Thereafter (exceeding $1,500,000): 7%
Conveyance Fee: Based on a scale of minimum fees provided by the Bermuda Bar Association and determined by your legal representative.
Mortgage Fees: Your preferred lender can provide a current fee schedule for mortgages.
Additional Costs: These may include an Appraisal fee (from $450 upwards), Pro-rated land taxes at closing; structural survey fee (if the home you are purchasing is a fixer-upper and requires repair/renovation) – price of survey depends on size of property and approximately 1/10th of one percent of the purchase price; property insurance; services charges for utility service installation; moving costs; maintenance fees (condos).
Property Ownership Costs: Other costs to consider include utilities (such as electricity, cable and internet), water (houses in Bermuda collect rainwater via their roofs which is collected in a cistern or tank – some properties may have access to a well or are connected to the Bermuda Waterworks – during the drier months it is possible that your water supply may need to be supplemented), building maintenance (houses should have their exteriors painted every 5 years or so and their roofs painted every 2-3 years as needed), and ground maintenance.
On a case by case basis, the Bermuda Government has historically approved applications permitting Non-Bermudian purchasing in Trust subject to the following:
- (a) administered by a locally licenced Trustee;
- (b) limited to one generation; and
- (c) after death, the property must be sold within 2 years.
When purchasing a home, Non-Bermudians can apply for the following:
- • Multiple Re-Entry Permit: this allows the successful applicant to stay on Island for a maximum of 6 months per trip.
- • Permission to Reside on Annual Basis: this allows the successful applicant to stay on Island year-round and must be renewed annually.
- • Residential Certificate: this certificate the successful applicant to stay year-round without restriction and does not need to be renewed. The applicant must prove they have substantial means to reside on island without employment.
For more information on the residency requirements for Non-Bermudians to purchase property in Bermuda, please refer to the Bermuda Government website.
MULTIPLE PROPERTY OWNERSHIP
Generally, a Non-Bermudian is permitted to own two residential properties.
For more information, go to: www.gov.bm
*Unless otherwise mentioned, currency is in Bermuda Dollars (BD) which is currently at a 1-to-1 ratio with the US Dollar.
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