Foreigner Buying Lands in Sri Lanka

Hello folks,

I am sure this topic has been discussed to ad nauseam. But I just want to get the latest and comprehensive information for foreigner to buy land in SL.

1) Is it still possible for foreigners to buy land in SL and own the land outright under his/her name? Or it will have to be under a local SL name (hence need to find a trustworthy local to do this)? Or 99-year lease is the only option?

2) Good lawyer and a bulletproof contract is a given, how do one start going about finding good legal counsel?

3) 100-year deed/title search - This is still mandatory and how does one go about getting this process started?

Looking to buy a beachfront plot for personal use (maybe later convert to boutique hotel).

Tks for the help. coast of Sri Lanka for 99 year lease.
About 63 perch ( about 1575m2 )
Video link:

Let me know if your interested

Gr. from Enigmarie

my husband is Sri Lankan and we are living in France for 2 years but regularly going to SLK.
He is a travel agent but also has many different other type of projects in Sri Lanka.
He is already having a project with a foreigner for buying and building a beachfront house. The land is already bought and now they are planning the construction.
He has many contacts for lands buying and construction projects.
If you need informations or help, do not hesitate to contact me. I will introduce you to my husband.
This is a really wonderful project that we both would like to realize also.

Hi, My name is John, I am not 100% sure wether the law regarding buying land is but I have heard that you can. Firstly you really need a local you can trust to help negotiate the land price and this in itself is hard because you usually find that by the time you find out that the local is untrustworthy it's usually too late. I am speaking from experience as we were cheated by a family member who we had helped for 18 years. When it comes to land the locals will try and get a commission off the seller and sometimes the commission is VERY high.You have to find a good lawyer and get them to make sure that the land has a clear title. The Lawyer will want a commission of the purchase price. Once you found that the title is clear I recommend you see the internal revenue department to have them calculate the stamp duty and pay them directly.We had a lawyer who quoted us the total cost of his fees including stamp duty charges, which we paid to him directly. A couple of months later we got a letter from Internal Revenue department advising us that we still owed them some stamp duty. Our lawyer did not pass on the full amount of tax.Try and demand the lawyer to give you written receipts upon payment but here in Sri Lanka this is not normally done. I personally do not know of any foreign person who has not been cheated here and some of the stories are horrific. Having said that there are many Sri Lanka's that are so very honest you cannot believe but to find them is difficult.The only other thing that I can add is once you have found your ideal land try and find out what your neighbours are like or the village in general.GOOD LUCK

I am sorry to hear your story John but I have so many other positive examples of foreigners who have bought lands, built houses and now live happily in SLK ..... like in each and every country, so as mine also, you have to be careful and choose honest and professional persons to build your project. How many construction projects are stopped  in our countries also because building companies shut down suddenly ????

every foreigner how invests in Sri Lanka will come into hell on earth.

I invested in 2008 because I believed the war will end soon.
First, it was a buying contract and paid half upfront to pay second part later.
Me highly recommended lawyer forgot the registration of the buying contract, so I only got a piece of toilet paper, cost 25000,= euro.
She even has stolen the stamp fee for that.
Finally, i got a lease contract after long- long negotiation.
Paid second part ( 25.000 euro)
Within 2 weeks after buyingcontract, the old owner confiscated the land by corruption, cheating, ect. ect.
I have a ship full of evidence to prove they cheated me with fancy lawyers and even an old judge.
We win already 3 court-cases but still no money back.
Lawyer Barr Association is just a Institute to protect their cheating lawyers and didn't do anything at all.
Even when I get the money back it's almost impossible to transfer the money back to abroad.
Check the Exchange control stupid regulations.

I asked a very good friend of me how I know for more than 10 years, to buy a piece of land for me, and paid him 5000,= euro for his service by bank on his account.
Off course I never got the land and lost a friend + money.
I asked an another very good friend to buy that same land for me and paid him 5000,= euro on his bank account.
He buys the land but went with the documents to a pawn shop and got a loan.
Later I have to buy the land for the 3e time back ( 450.000 SRP )
I love my friends in Sri Lanka.

In 2010 I married me Sri Lankan love, but we still didn't have a house to live.
I asked a friend of me in Europe for a loan to buy this property.
and promised to pay him back after I got the money from the still pending court case.
He paid the money from Europe to her bank account.
So we buy an another land with a house which is on here name registered.
All documents are correct and now issue what so ever.

Now my friend wants to have the money back after 5 years, so we decided to sell ower house to settle that matter.
Now the tricky part.

You have to ask permission from exchange control to transfer the money back to Europe.
So you come from one problem into an another one.
I still don't know how to get the money back to my friend.
We have all proof where the money came from because I always send money by bank to Sri Lanka and never bring cash money.

If somebody can help us with this bloody issue we will be very thank full.

I recommend to everybody in the world:
Never invest in Sri Lanka as a foreigner.

Moderated by Bhavna last year
Reason : Please recommend in the business directory or exchange the number through private messaging. Thanks
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

Choosing the right business premises and business location is the key step in starting a new business.
The right location can be critical for attracting customers and employees, while the premises themselves can significantly influence productivity.
Legal considerations when choosing business premises
Foreigners can purchase land and property (from the ground up), as proposed by the 2017 budget. Previously land could only be leased up to 99 years and apartments purchased from the 4th floor and above only.
Sale of land to foreigners has been prohibited from the 2013 budget; however, this is likely to be removed from the 2017 budget allowing foreigners to purchase land. Previously the land could only be leased out for a max of 99 years. Foreigners or companies (with more than 50% foreign ownership) no longer need to pay the 15% land tax from 1st Jan 2016 (LAND (RESTRICTIONS ON ALIENATION) (AMENDMENT) – issued 2nd Sept 2016)
Anyone leasing out a property to a foreigner or local will need to pay a 1% stamp duty when the rent is collected.
VAT is payable at 15% if the lease is a VAT Registered person, other than on residential premises. Further, the sale of land & buildings other than residential premises will also be liable to VAT at 15% on the value.
The premises must have planning permission that allows them to be used for your type of business.
You must comply with building, fire, and health and safety regulations.
Stamp duty is payable on commercial leases and you are likely to be liable for business rates, though in rented premises these may be paid by the landlord.
You are responsible for the health and safety of employees and visitors.
You also need to provide a suitable working environment.
If you provide goods or services to the public, you must take reasonable steps to make your premises accessible.
You need to comply with the terms of any lease or license agreement.
For some businesses, you may require a license to operate or to sell certain products.
There may be restrictions on times when deliveries are allowed, noise and pollution levels, and how you or your customers dispose of waste
If a foreign resident wants to purchase a property, then the money will need to be channeled into the country via a special SIA (Securities Investment Account), held at a local bank. Once the property has been sold, the money can be taken out (plus any gains) via the same account in the currency that the money was deposited in. If you currently own a property where the money hasn’t been brought via an SIA account (e.g. inherited, bought while a citizen of Sri Lanka), then there’s an annual limit of $20,000 when taking the money out of the country. You could still take the money out at once if the source of the money can be proven to the bank and Central Bank (this whole process will take a few months to complete).
The government will allow $45,000 to be brought into the country without declaring the source (Budget 2017)
The budget of 2017 has proposed that foreigners be allowed to borrow money from local banks for the purchase of condominiums (up to 40%).

Moderated by Priscilla 10 months ago
Reason : please post in the housing section
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct
Anuruddha1987 :

Hi Anuruddha1987,

The forum's code of conduct does not permit you to sell private property in the forum.

Suggest you read the site's code of conduct for you to see what can and cannot be posted.

Can I have your email address any other contact details please


Could you please introduce him as I’m looking for someone for my property In Galle. I***



Moderated by Bhavna 8 months ago
Reason : Please do not post your contact details on the forum. You should exchange them through the private messaging system.Thank you
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Hi sorry to hear your story... But I must say that you get cheated if you don't look at the real information available before proceeding.. I see many people are there to help foreigners and some may be real genuine... However, if I ever goes to a place where I don't know much details, I always get the information though the most reliable source. For me the most reliable source is the government institutions... its true in Sri Lanka most of these government institutions are not much efficient but yet you can get a reliable result at the end as all the employees are accountable for whatever actions they take.. For example, if you are looking to do business in Sri Lanka, better you check with "Board of Investment", "Registrar Of Companies" websites or visit them. They have plenty of reliable options available for you...

For the mistake you have done already, you should have opened a SIA account in Sri Lanka to bring money form your country. SIA account is the only option available for foreigners to take back their invested money in Sri Lanka.. These accounts could be opened in State owned bank or private banks. (when it comes to private banks, Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank, HNB etc would be better as they are the biggest private banks of Sri Lanka. Better to choose a reliable bank before investing)
For other troubles also, just get the help of Board Of Investment etc. as they are the government institutions available to help you...

Well all i got to say is before make a move, go for the most reliable source and then you will find the best deal...

Hi Reedking,
I willing to know are you willing invest on a well running hotel. It is a great opportunity. Pls let me know if you are interested.
Thank you !

Sri Lanka is becoming a completely urban city at a rapid rate. We are honestly running out of land due to increasing construction of apartments and hotels. It feels like you would benefit more from investing in apartment condominiums instead of land per se. My uncle is moving down from Canada and after thorough research of Sri Lanka's apartments he bought a condominium from 447 Luna Towers as he felt that would be best for him and his family. Here's the link if you're interested [link moderated]

Moderated by Bhavna 5 months ago
Reason : Veuillez publier une annonce dans la section immobilier svp
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Hi Anuruddha1987,

This forum is not meant to be used as a free platform for you to indulge in your real estate business.

If interested, you can still post free ads under the Housing category you can see on the top. Thank you.

Please how can I contact you my email ***

Moderated by Priscilla 4 months ago
Reason : do not post your personal contact details on the forum for your own security
Moderated by Bhavna 4 months ago
Reason : Free advertising is not allowed on the forum. Thank you
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

Hi Marie,
Can you get me in contact with your husband , best is to drop me a mail with email address then i will respond. I in particular intrested in building contact with travel agent on a B2B basis. I am managing a group of resorts and villas. Also i have 140 perch land fronting the beach available in Uswetiyakiya  that is between Ja-ela and Colombo city .


Exactly what is is your forum if members are not allowed to make useful announcements of benefit to other readers.

On this forum are endless tales of woe from people duped in trying to buy property. I posted some very sensible helpful advice for readers, recommending them to an agency Spillburg Holdings, who have been very helpful to me, who are honest and reliable. But you saw fit to ‘moderate’ my entry.

I ask again, exactly what use is your forum ?

christoferus :

Exactly what is is your forum if members are not allowed to make useful announcements of benefit to other readers.

On this forum are endless tales of woe from people duped in trying to buy property. I posted some very sensible helpful advice for readers, recommending them to an agency Spillburg Holdings, who have been very helpful to me, who are honest and reliable. But you saw fit to ‘moderate’ my entry.

I ask again, exactly what use is your forum ?

The 'use of the forum', as you put it, is for the exchange of information and advice between members.

Posting contact details and advertising of any kind are not permitted on the open section of the forum for reasons of security. I suggest you are a little upset by having admin delete part of your posts.

The forum message system is the safe way to pass on any contact details to other members.


Please use the message system to contact others with your offer as advertising is not permitted on the open forum. You can place a free advert in the classified section found in 'Handy Tools' at the top of this page.

Moderated by Bhavna 3 months ago
Reason : Please drop an advert in the housing section.
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

Foreigners can buy property in Sri Lanka, but there' a catch, and that's the 100% tax payable on the purchase price.  This means you basically pay double the purchase price.

A lawyer must do the necessary searches in the land registry, and goes without saying that you need a diligent, reliable and incorruptible lawyer.  I cannot stress how important this is.

There are legal constructions whereby you can avoid paying the tax, but for this you need to speak to a lawyer specialising in purchases by foreigners.

It is not now possible for a foreigner to own land outright in his own name.
But there is still a way of owning property securely and legally. The problem with this website is that you get ‘moderated’ if you mention any names of commercial  companies who could help you. But I’ll give it a try.  My advisers are S***. They have handled my dealings over 4 years. They are honest, competent and well connected. Speak to S****
If this gets through the ‘moderators’ it’ll be good. If not contact me somehow on this site.



Moderated by Bhavna 2 months ago
Reason : Please recommend in the business directory or share the names/contact details through the private messaging system of the website. Thank you
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Hi Reedking,

Having most of my family in Sri Lanka, I've heard how hard it is to find a nice plot of land at a reasonable price (especially near the beach). Even if a land is purchased the building cost nowadays seem to have skyrocketed and there are rarely genuine construction companies that would charge a reasonable price. Looking at the current situation, I might as well suggest investing in a condominium unit along the beach side which can be purchased for your own personal use and also gain a good ROI by renting it out when not in use. My friend purchased one very recently and she also got a good deal compared to other apartment in the area. She invested in this very unique apartment in Talpe, Galle (Southern beach side) with a beautiful view of the beach. You could check it out too! They are planning to use the condo as a holiday home as its situated in touristy area with many sites to see and thing to enjoy. The developers team was very helpful too and will advise you on the process of purchasing this property.

In case your interested you could check them out on: [link moderated]

Hope it helped!


Moderated by Bhavna last month
Reason : Please drop an advert in the housing. Thank you
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct


Please post your land and house for sale in the housing section at the top of this page.
Advertising is not permitted here on the open forum. Thank you.


Moderated by Alexia 3 weeks ago
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I have a land in Battaramulla


Moderated by Alexia 3 weeks ago
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To be sold the beach front land

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