Under the Real Estate Scheme (RES), residential units are sold to non-citizens at no minimum price. Acquisition of property under this scheme entitles the purchaser to a residence permit if the purchase price of the property is a minimum of USD 500,000 or its equivalent in any other hard convertible currency. Mauritius is still at the pioneering stage as regards to residential property development. The Real Estate Scheme builds on a highly valued image of Mauritius. Having successfully positioned itself on the international scene as a renowned up-market tourist destination and considerable natural advantages as a dream destination – beautiful coral beaches, warm clear lagoons, picturesque mountains, a subtropical climate, a southern hemisphere location, an atmosphere that is exotically different, yet safe and stable, people who are friendly and welcoming and a mixed cultural diversity – the Real Estate Scheme further gives opportunity to real estate developers, property owners and investors lucrative development and investment opportunities in the residential market.
The Real Estate Scheme offers a wealth of opportunity for businesses to invest and prosper in the development of residential property. The residential properties may be sold to non-citizens at no minimum price. It is therefore expected that not only will we see high interest among international buyers seeking a second or leisure home with an appealing lifestyle, but that the demand will also grow from professionals and international players relocating their business in Mauritius so as to benefit from the low tax regime prevailing in Mauritius. The planned real estate development coupled with the intrinsic attributes of Mauritius in terms of political stability, booming luxury tourism market, sound infrastructure, make Mauritius a highly-sought real estate investment destination whether for ownership or for buy-to-let schemes.
Invest-Hotel is a scheme designed to enable property developers to sell hotel rooms, villas, suites or any other part of a hotel to individual buyers. While this scheme paves the way to facilitate the overall financing of new hotel projects, it offers individual buyers all the facilities of an exquisitely-furnished new luxury resort hotel with amenities like F&B, full-service spas, health and fitness centres, resort-style pools, sophisticated business centres and maid service and the promise of rental income.
The above enhancing features are now available to a wider cross-section of the Mauritian population who previously could not avail of such opportunities.
Approval of Project
A hotel project under the Invest-Hotel Scheme must be approved by the Board of Investment. On approval of the project, an IHS certificate is issued to the company for the construction of a hotel where the units (rooms, villas, apartments or suites) and other parts of the hotel can be sold.
Extent of Land
A hotel project under the scheme can be developed on either freehold or leasehold land. The land, however, must be of an extent of at least 1 hectare.
Basis of Sale
The units or parts of the hotel may be sold on:
- The basis of a plan
- During construction phase or
- When the construction is completed.
On acquisition, the buyer of a unit secures ownership title to a specific unit or part of the hotel. The definition and management of the units and other parts of the hotel are set out in a “règlement de copropriété” which is governed by the provisions of the Mauritian Civil Code.
Eligibility for Purchase of Hotel Rooms, Villa or Other Parts of a Hotel
The following may acquire a unit under the scheme:
- 1. A citizen of Mauritius
- 2. A non-citizen
- 3. A company incorporated in Mauritius
- 4. A société (partnership) registered with the Registrar of Companies
- 5. A trust managed by a trustee licensed by the Financial Services Commission
Investment on Acquisition of a Unit or Other part of the Hotel
- No minimum investment on acquisition of a room, suite or other part of the hotel
- Minimum investment of US$ 500, 000 for a stand alone villa<
Why invest in the Hospitality and Property Development sector? Whether you are considering business expansion or new investment opportunities, Mauritius should be top of mind as your investment destination of choice. Mauritius has been attractive for foreign internationally expanding businesses as it offers:
- Continued rapid growth in the number of tourist arrivals
- Stable political and macroeconomic environment
- Excellent geographical location and infrastructure
- Competitive business environment
- Great quality of life
- Low income and corporate tax rates of only 15%
- Simple business regulations
- Highest international standards for business, tourism and lifestyle
- Freedom from bureaucracy, freedom of living and freedom of speech
- No foreign exchange controls, trade barriers or quotas
- No restrictions on capital repatriation
- No inheritance tax
- No capital gains tax
Mauritius’s real estate and property market has seen extensive development in recent years and many investors, both locally and foreign, have benefited greatly. Real estate in Mauritius is a great investment whether you are planning on acquiring, renting or business development.
The immovable property market in Mauritius is well regulated and protects property rights of investors, lenders, developers and occupiers. The Constitution of Mauritius, which is the supreme law of the country, protects the right of land owners and the right from deprivation of property. Guarantee of an ownership title means that an owner may not be deprived of his ownership rights other than by a court decision.
Ownership to land and real estate objects transfers to the buyer at the moment of state registration of a document evidencing the buyer’s title. The Mauritian laws are a hybrid of French code civil and local statutes. The substantive contents of the law are derived from the Code Napoleon. The public law is based on English common law. The Mauritian property law is substantially based on the civil system so that sale of property in Mauritius is carried out by means of an acte authentique, which must be notarized, registered and transcribed to be binding on any third party.
By virtue of Article 3 of the Civil Code, a property owned by a non-citizen of Mauritius is governed by the laws of Mauritius. “Les immeubles, même ceux possédés par des étrangers, sont régis par la loi mauricienne” – Titre Preliminaire, Art.3.
Real estate relations are governed by a system of regulatory Acts pertaining to various branches of law – civil, land and planning. The statutes relating to property are:
- State Lands Act
- Non-Citizens (Property Restriction) Act
- Pas Géométriques Act
- State Land (Alienation) Act
- Landlord and Tenants Act
For acquisition of real estate property in Mauritius, as seller on the one hand and purchaser on the other, a sale and purchase agreement must be executed in written form, drafted by a notary public in Mauritius. Moreover, besides entering into a purchase agreement, registration with the Registrar General is indispensable for acquisition of title. Ownership, therefore, is created by way of registration with the Registrar General, and extinguishes upon the person in title being removed from the Register. Under the Mauritian laws, registration of the change of owners in the property register as well as providing the contract for transfer and other legal titles is required in order to transfer ownership.
Pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Registration Duty Act, the duty payable in case of onerous transfer of title is – in general – 5 % of the acquired real property’s contract value. Restriction on acquisition of real estate
All foreigners who wish to acquire an immovable property in Mauritius must obtain approval prior to their purchase, which will otherwise be invalid. Such approval is obtained from Prime Minister’s Office. A foreign-controlled domestic company, how ever, may be authorised to purchase an immovable property to be used exclusively for business purposes by the Board of Investment and therefore is exempt from the requirement to seek for a certificate from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Acquisition of residential real estate by foreigners in Mauritius Foreigners holding a permanent residence permit are allowed to purchase a house or apartment for their personal use with only a need to seek prior approval from the Board of Investment. There are no more restrictions regarding the acquisition of residential real estate by foreigner or foreign entities in projects developed under the Integrated Resort Scheme and Real Estate Scheme.
Mauritius is undoubtedly one of the most attractive countries in the world to live in. An ideal combination of political and economic stability, a clean and safe environment and relatively low tax rates make it the ultimate place of residence. The possibility for foreigners to elect to be tax resident in Mauritius, no inheritance taxes as well as the high degree of privacy and security of tenure make Mauritius the residence of choice for many individuals.