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Liabilities, utilities & other legal issues

8.1 What are the liabilities of an (foreign) owner?

A building owner is liable for any injury which results from poor construction, negligence, or misuse. If a building collapses due to poor construction and any injury or damage results, the owner is to indemnify the losses and damage. To prevent such undesirable events, properties to built have to be in line with earthquake-proof and construction supervision regulations. Moreover, you are advised to buy a home-insurance policy.

Furthermore, if the property in question is a flat, or a house in a buildings complex, then the owner has some responsibilities according to the Flat Ownership Law (“Kat Mülkiyeti Kanunu” in Turkish). In line with this law, communal parts of buildings are managed by a Board whose members are selected by the owners in the building for a certain period of time. A Board’s decisions on communal issues such as communal heating (if any), having the communal parts of the building painted, refurbishment of the communal parts are binding for all flat/house owners. Thus, such costs are shared by the owners. If you rent your property out, the tenant is to be responsible for the communal heating variable costs.

8.2 Electricity, gas, water, telephone, and heating issues & utilities

Electricity and natural gas are provided by the local distributing and retailing companies. Natural gas is supplied to only a limited number of cities.

Water is supplied by municipalities within the municipal borders. Water bills are charged on the basis of the amount of water you use.

Electricity, natural gas, telephone, and water utilities are billed monthly, quarterly or semi-annually depending on the supplier’s choice.

In cities where natural gas is supplied, gas central heating is the common practice. In other cities, communal heating or electric heating is more frequently observed. In coastal cities, solar energy heating and boiling systems are used very widely.

All electricity, natural gas and telecom companies are audited by the relevant Regulatory and Supervisory Authorities. According to the relevant laws, subscribers can complain about their suppliers in case of any disputes. Moreover, the Consumer Protection Law and the Competition Law are the two laws targeting to protect all consumers in the country.

It is suggested that as soon as you take over the ownership, you immediately subscribe to electricity, gas, water companies on behalf of your own name. All subscription transactions can be completed in a day.

On the other hand, if you plan to rent your property out, make sure that the tenants register to the utility suppliers on behalf of their own names.

Taking into account the average consumption figures of the Turkish residents, total cost of the utilities explained in this section is expected to range between 50 euro and 200 euro per month, depending on the features of the asset and the utilization of the utilities.

Please note that many banks in Turkey provide ‘direct debit’ services especially for payments to utility companies. In addition, if you will stay outside Turkey, you can use management companies so that they will pay utility bills for you.

8.3 Can you transfer the money you make through your property abroad?

You can freely transfer abroad the money you will make through either selling or renting out your property.

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