Purchasing Zanzibar real estate has clearly defined regulations, legal structures and processes. In order to effectively navigate the buying process, especially as a non citizen you must be fully acquainted with the processes, regulations and lawyers governing land ownership.
You Are Buying The Rights To Land ... Not The Land Itself
All land in Tanzania is owned by the government and cannot be outright sold or bought. In turn, what land buyers are actually buying are the occupancy rights of the land and NOT the land itself. The government issues land leases which range from 33 - 99 years and grants the lessee, absolute occupancy rights, allowing them to invest, develop and inhabit the land during the lease term period.
Foreigners Cannot "Technically" Buy Land For Personal Use
Foreigners can purchase land for investment purposes but cannot technically purchase land for personal use. This may seem like a major barrier to those who want to acquire a piece of paradise for themselves, however, there is a common way to remain within compliance while using the land for what ever project the investor would like to do. Most investors simply register a Zanzibar business, of which they have 100% ownership and put the land title under the business. This allows the "business" to develop the land as it sees fit while staying within the perimeters of the law.
Navigating the world of Zanzibar real estate investment requires a level of knowledge and experience in the market, which most investors simply do not have. Due to this, it is imperative that investors new to the Zanzibar real estate market, enlist the services of a legal advocate who can help guide them and keep them within compliance.
There are a range of legal advocates on the island, but like anything in life, you get what you pay for. Meeting with a range of advocates is the best way to find the one that suits your wants, needs and requirements best. But be wary, make sure that you enlist the services of a highly recommended, established and professional advocate if you want a the transaction to be hassle free.
Budget constraints often encourages investors to attempt to either circumvent hiring a legal advocate or enlisting the services of the cheapest possible option, but always remember, "If it Seems Too Good To Be True ... It Probably is". Zanzibar land ownership is different than that of mainland Tanzania, involving processes that vary from that of the mainland. Due to this, it is important that the legal advocate or agency which is hired, is based in Zanzibar or has experience conducting Zanzibar real estate transactions.
What Services Should A Lawyer Provide When Buying Zanzibar Real Estate?
Due Diligence - An experienced legal advocate would conduct their own due diligence investigation prior to the sale/purchase of a property. This is done to confirm the genuine owner of the property.
Identifying Land Disputes - Unfortunately, land disputes are a common issue with land ownership. A good advocate would investigate the land history, speak to neighbors and the municipal authorities to identify any other claims to the land or disputes which can affect the land procurement process.
Contract Creation - Contracts in Zanzibar are structured differently than other countries and therefore, require an advocate/agency, experienced in drafting these contracts. For a contract to be recognized in the eyes of the Zanzibar government for enforcement purposes, it must be registered with the Zanzibar High Court and the Zanzibar High Court only approves contracts created in line with their defined formats, terms and regulations.
Document Processing - In order to guarantee your claim to a property and the secure occupancy rights as an investor, certain certificates are required from different government organizations. This process is very time consuming and is often expedited through personal connections and contacts. Your lawyer will be responsible for submitting the necessary documents to the relevant authorities as well as following up on a daily basis regarding the progress of the process. Enlisting the services of a good lawyer can cut document processing time by upwards of 75%
Language Barriers - The native language of Zanzibar is Kiswahili and most locals do not speak fluent English or other international languages. To ensure that there are no break downs in communication or misrepresentations, a multilingual advocate can bridge the language barrier between buyer and seller, reducing the chances of misinterpretations which can cause major issues further along the sale process.
In conclusion, we strongly suggest that you enlist the services of a good legal advocate when purchasing Zanzibar land for sale. This may seem like an extra unnecessary expense, but the value of their service is not just for immediate or short term purposes, but the long-term issues which you can avoid by having a good advocate on your team.
Africa Luxury Properties is a well established real estate agency based in Zanzibar. They have multiple experienced lawyers on their payroll, who's services are also enjoyed by their customers. If you are interested in purchasing Zanzibar Land For Sale, we strongly suggest that you reach out to them if peace of mind is a major factor when investing in Zanzibar.