The International Persons Landholding Act describes how non-Bahamians and permanent residents may acquire and hold property in The Bahamas. As used in the Act, the term “non-Bahamian” means a person who is not a citizen of The Bahamas, a company incorporated in The Bahamas with any shares or capital owned or controlled by a non-citizen, a company incorporated outside The Bahamas, or an international organization. International Persons Landholding Act, Section 14.
Non-Bahamians – other than permanent residents or non-Bahamians acquiring an interest in land under a devise or inheritance – who acquire a property or condo for use as a single-family home do not need a permit to acquire the property. They must register such an acquisition with the Investments Board of The Bahamas. After the Board receives the application fee, it issues a certificate to the non-Bahamian confirming the acquisition's registration. International Persons Landholding Act, Section 3.
If the non-Bahamian would be the holder of five or more contiguous (connected) acres of undeveloped land or if the land will be used for something besides a single-family home or condo, he must obtain a permit from the Board. The Board may decide to deny a permit at their discretion. International Persons Landholding Act, Section 4.
Permanent residents and non-Bahamians who acquire land under a devise or by inheritance have fewer restrictions under the International Persons Landholding Act They need only register their acquisitions with the Board; there is no need to obtain a permit if the property will not be used as a single-family home. International Persons Landholding Act, Section 3. Similarly, non-Bahamians seeking business leases lasting more than twenty-one years must follow registration rules. International Persons Landholding Act, Section 9.
Non-Bahamian banks, trust companies, or insurers licensed under Bahamian law need not obtain registration certificates or permits if the property acquired is held under a mortgage or debenture. International Persons Landholding Act, Section 6.
Registration costs $250.00, while a permit costs $500.00. The Board has standardized application forms for both. Once a registration certificate or permit is issued, it must be recorded with the Registrar General. International Persons Landholding Act, Section 5.
To find out more about real estate law in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.