Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners in Lebanon
What are the laws regarding the purchase of real estate by foreigners in Lebanon?
The Lebanese parliament approved on 3/4/2001 the law number 296 amending some sections
and points of the decree number 11614 of 4/1/1969 relevant to the acquisition of real estate rights
by foreigners in Lebanon and ratified the law number 299 of 3/4/2001 related to the reduction of
the duties of registration of real estates in the special register.
The foregoing laws have many positive characteristics and impacts including:
1. Characteristics of the amendments ratified on 2001
The major amendments entered by virtue of the aforementioned laws on the acquisition of real
estate rights by foreigners in Lebanon are the following:
- Allow for physical persons of Lebanese origins, Arabs nationals, and foreigners as well
as to Arab, foreign moral entities and Lebanese companies deemed as foreign1 without
any prior permit or authorization to acquire on all the Lebanese territory, real
estates which surfaces do not exceed three thousand square meters, in form of built
edifices or lands. (1 Lebanese companies deemed as foreign ones are those which in
which the majority of the capital shares are owned by foreigner physical persons or moral
entities or 100% Lebanese companies which bylaws allow the cession of shares to non
Lebanese moral or physical persons or not only to 100% Lebanese companies.)
- Allow the persons or entities aforementioned to acquire real estates which surfaces
exceed 3000 square meters after obtaining a prior approval issued by the Council of
Ministers upon motion of the Minister of Finance in the five circumscriptions. The total
of the lands owned by foreigner physical persons and moral entities or the ones
considered as non Lebanese should be in conformity of the following schedule:
o 3% of the total surface of the Lebanese territories
o 3% utmost of the surface of each casa
o 10% utmost of the total surface of Beirut.
In consideration of the above mentioned rates, only 50% of the surfaces owned by foreign
companies shall be considered. These companies shall have at least 50% of the capital owned by
physical Lebanese persons or Lebanese moral entities or 100% Lebanese companies shall be
considered and prohibit in their bylaws the cession of shares to foreigners.
- Grant a delay of 5 years renewable for a similar period by a decision of the Council
of Ministers as from the registration in the real estate register to construct on the land
or to use the real estates for the purpose intended upon acquisition.
- Adopt same registration duties for Lebanese and foreigners in the real estate
register after reducing from 16% to 5% the value of the real estate and excepting
foreigners from paying the additional fee of 10% pursuant to the ratification of the law
number 299 of 3/4/2001.
2. Impact of the two foregoing laws on the investment environment in Lebanon
The ratification of the two aforementioned laws has the following positive impacts:
- Encourage the major Arab and foreign companies to invest and carry on mega investment
projects in various sectors namely industry, tourism, and agriculture in Lebanon and
acquire the needed surfaces for their projects without fixing a maximal limit for the
acquisition and a need to have a Lebanese partner.
- Promote the tourism flow to Lebanon known as a prime touristic destination for Arab and
foreign vacationers by enabling the same to own their own dwellings without a need to
obtain a prior authorization from the Council of Ministers.
- Enhance the real estate industry and the construction sector suffering from a sort of
freezing namely in the outer skirts of cities.
- Provide job opportunities for Lebanese youth and reduce the immigration as a result of
the new investments in various sectors and secure the employment of the qualified
Lebanese work force.
- Allow foreign investments in the agriculture sector in Lebanon requiring huge surfaces to
- Reduce the investment fees and costs for the Arab and foreign investors by reducing the
registration fees of real estates to 5% and treat them as if they were Lebanese nationals.
The final duty to be paid in order to register a real estate in Lebanon by a Lebanese as the
non Lebanese is equivalent to 5.8% of the value of the real estate plus the financial
stamp fee of 0.3% the notary public fee of 0.1%, the municipality charge 0.25% and the
flat sum collected upon registration in the real estate register.