The notary is a legal professional, considered as a ministerial officer. This title legally grants him the power to authenticate the acts entrusted to him. Consequently, any notarial act is authentic and must be executed. Like most of the world, in Mauritius, the purchase of a property requires the intervention of a notary. Zoom in on the essential role it plays in such a setting.
The intervention of the notary in the purchase of real estate in Mauritius
As a legal practitioner, the notary must intervene in any real estate transaction, whether it is the purchase, sale, lease, usufruct, of a house, land, apartment or any other type of property.
It is also responsible for collecting transfer, registration and other stamp duties and remitting them to the Registrar General’s Department at the time of registration of a deed.
Finally, the notary must verify that the seller really has the right of ownership that can be freely transferred to the buyer. He also makes sure that no mortgages or fixed and floating charges are outstanding on the property for sale.
A duty to advise
Impartial, the notary has a duty to advise his clients. In the context of a real estate transaction, he must explain to both parties the ins and outs of a contract, during the “reading of the deed”, so that both the seller and the buyer clearly understand their obligations and rights.
Choosing a notary
The Code of Ethics of the Notarial Profession provides for the freedom of a client to choose his notary. Thus, a seller may have a different notary than the buyer. The only exception is the real estate developer, who can impose a single notary. In return, purchasers may freely turn to another notary for advice.
Concerning the choice of a notary, it is important to select a notary who is experienced or specialized in his field: purchase of a property in Mauritius, for example. Let’s not forget that personal affinities are also to be taken into consideration, so it is important that both parties manage to create a real climate of trust.
When does the notary intervene in a real estate transaction?
Once the ideal property has been found, the buyer or, better still, his or her real estate agent hands over all the documents related to the property in question to the notary, who proceeds with all the required verifications (ownership, sale, mortgage, etc.).
Then comes the stage of signing the sales contract under certain conditions, which brings together the two parties.
On the day of the sale, the seller and buyer sign the deed of sale at the notary’s office.
Once this step is completed, the notary files the signed deed for registration with the Registrar. He pays the rights and taxes deposited by the customers and receives in return the TV number which makes the sale opposable to third parties.
Notary fees in Mauritius
Notary fees are payments made by the seller and the buyer to cover the following obligations:
- Transfer tax – payable by the seller and representing 5% of the price of the property.
- Registration fees – payable by the purchaser and representing 5% of the price of the property.
- Tax on Geometric Steps (when the property is located along the coastline) – the seller and the buyer split the payment of 20% of the value of the leasehold interest.
- The notary’s fee – 2% to 0.5% of the sale price and about 0.7% for a property over 5 million rupees.