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Table of contents


Overview

Gibraltar has a land area of approximately 6.84 square kilometres (2.64 square miles). The land is shared between the military and civil interests in Gibraltar and is therefore a scarce resource. The percentage of undeveloped land is extremely small when one excludes the rocky cliffs and steep sloping land on the upper rock. The government, however, is always keen to explore the re-development of older properties or properties passed on by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), with a view to attracting investment and encouraging economic growth. Whenever possible, pockets of previously undeveloped land are also considered.

Infrastructure

Prior to commencing any development activities, it is recommended to survey the land very carefully to find out if there are any utility services available within reach as this may essentially have a great impact on the development costs. It is therefore recommended to contact the local utility services providers, namely AquaGib Ltd (Water Supplier) and the Gibraltar Electricity Authority, for more information on any particular site.

Land Tenure

Land Tenure in Gibraltar generally follows English principles. Land and property are either held on a freehold or leasehold basis, with the latter taking various forms depending on the length of the lease term and whether it is residential or commercial. It is not the policy of the Government to grant freeholds. Those that do exist were granted long ago and are mainly concentrated in the central town area. It is now the common practice to dispose of Crown Lands and property on long leasehold terms, usually from 99 to 150 years. Commercial lettings may take various forms depending on the circumstances of the business venture and location.

Law

Property Law in Gibraltar is likewise broadly based on the English system, as it was prior to the inception of the Law Property Act 1925. There are no restrictions on foreign nationals purchasing properties save when residential individuals jointly own developments and/or when purchasers qualify for a Government Housing status.

Purchase Procedure

In the case of a private transaction, once a suitable property has been identified and a purchase price agreed between vendor and purchaser, it is common for 2% of the purchase price to be the fee normally paid to the agents, subject to contract and held in escrow pending completion. Lawyers are then instructed to act on behalf of the vendor and the purchaser. The lawyer representing the vendor will submit a contract to the purchaser's lawyer for approval. Once this has taken place, the contracts are typically exchanged with a further 8% of the purchase price being paid on exchange. During the period between this and completion, the purchaser’s lawyer will submit a deed of conveyance/assignment to the vendor’s lawyer for consent. Once approved and engrossed, the deed will be handed over to the purchaser’s lawyer on completion.

In the case of Government proposals or land, Land Property Services Limited acts for the Government as agents and take care of the necessary documentation. The premium payment is usually required to be paid by the Government up front.

Land Property Services Ltd

Land Property Services Ltd is the government’s adviser on all matters involving property. The company’s areas of work are concentrated on managing government property, including the valuation, billing and collection of the property tax (commonly known as rates) and the management of the public property register of all transactions involving property in Gibraltar.

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty is only payable on real estate and capital transactions at the following rates:

£10 for Share Capital
£10 for Loan Capital
On purchase of Real Estate:

Nil for real estate costing up to £200,000
2% on the first £250,000 and 5.5% on the balance for real estate costing between £200,001 and £350,000
3% on first £350,000 and 3.5% on the balance for real estate costing over £350,000

Acquiring Land or Premises

The acquisition of premises is a complex subject and is best approached with the aid of professionals qualified in that field. There are three potential procedures that can be considered when acquiring premises:

- Entering into private negotiations with owners or leaseholders
- Purchasing or renting out premises through estate agents
- Tendering for premises which are advertised from time to time by the Government

Industrial Parks

Some of the industrial parks in Gibraltar are free-port zones where special benefits apply. These mainly comprise of warehousing, industrial workshops and office space that are available for rental or purchase on a short or long lease term basis to exporting companies.

Local Staff

Gibraltar gives high priority to the education of its youth. The education system follows that of the UK hence students in Gibraltar undertake the same examinations as those in Britain. Since there are no facilities in Gibraltar for full-time higher education, all students undertake degree or certain non-degree level courses elsewhere. The Gibraltar Government operates a scholarship/grant system to provide funding for students studying in Britain. Gibraltar consequently has a substantial pool of graduate expertise available to new employers in a variety of fields.

Foreign Nationals

A national of an EU State may work in Gibraltar and enjoy all the benefits and protections of the European legislation relating to the free movement of workers. The individual will be entitled to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of nationality at the workplace. The worker will also be entitled to residence together with his or her family.
Rentals

Electricity Supply

The Gibraltar Electricity Authority is responsible for the generation, distribution and supply of electricity to the civilian population of Gibraltar.

Water Supply

AquaGib Ltd is principally engaged in the provision of water supplies to Gibraltar, under a License Agreement with the Gibraltar Government issued under the provisions of the Public Health Act. AquaGib in effect, under the terms of the License Agreement became the water authority, which is responsible for the infrastructure necessary for the supply and distribution of both potable and seawater to the local community.