How to acquire Real Estate in Liechtenstein

Eurojuris International is the leading network of law firms in Europe, covering 650 different cities/locations in 17 countries.

Each country has a national Eurojuris association which selects as members medium-sized independent law firms well established in their country and which, satisfy the Eurojuris selection criteria.

The objective is to provide companies, corporations, public authorities and private clients with direct legal advice and local representation all over Europe.

The main aim of the Group is to provide members with specific real estate law advice, assistance and representation when required about matters falling out of their jurisdiction. It is also anticipated that the Group aims to provide advice to business clients on how to avoid problems by investing in foreign countries.

In this book, we explain the aspects of the purchase of property from a practical point of view in the next countries: England, the United States, Spain, Austria and Italy.

It can be stated as a general introductory note that the legal situation in the Principality of Liechtenstein as to property law and land registration is almost identical to that in Switzerland. Therefore, the civil law situation as regards the purchase of property as well as the administrative law situation as to the procedure of entering such purchase into the Land Register are almost the same as in Switzerland. What is different, however, is the character of the authorisation proceedings for the purchase of land by foreigners: basically, only persons or companies resident in Liechtenstein can purchase land in Liechtenstein.

Before signing the Contract

It can certainly be recommended to have the legal and factual situation clarified before signing a contract. What should be checked in particular is the legal situation as it is reflected in the Land Register, the admissibility of the planned usage according to the zoning plan, and the compatibility of the planned purchase with the Grundverkehrsgesetz (Land Purchase Act).

Under civil law, there is no in rem binding by signing corresponding preliminary contracts. However, such preliminary contracts are still relatively common in practice. Signing a preliminary contract only – but at least – results in obligations under the law on obligations to comply with the preliminary contract’s terms and conditions.

What contract do you need to sign?

What is needed for entering a real estate transaction into the Land Register is the proper contract, which will usually be a purchase contract.

However, that contract must be certified, i.e. signed by the Land Registrar, a court official, or the proper mediator. In addition, applicants must fill in a form in which the compatibility of the land purchase with the provisions on land purchase in Liechtenstein, that is in particular proof of a corresponding need.

The Loan

As already indicated, easements are regulated just as in Swiss property law.

Charges on property are the usual instrument of financing or the tool to secure loans to that effect. The two most common types are the mortgage, which is bound to the land and expressly mentions the creditor, and the land charge certificate. The latter can be made out to the bearer or a specific name.

Who can Purchase a Property?

To answer that question, one must consult the specific Liechtenstein Act on Land Purchase, which says that only persons resident in Liechtenstein may acquire land in Liechtenstein, regardless of citizenship.

When land is purchased, the purchaser must prove/explain for what purpose he needs the land in question, be it to satisfy his own need for living accommodation, recreation, erecting a facility for a company, or the like. To ensure a wide diversity of land ownership, land cannot be purchased without limitations; rather, the area is limited per family to what is necessary for the above-mentioned needs. The proof of need can only be waived in special cases such as when land is purchased by a spouse or by a person related by blood up to the third degree, with exchanges of property of equal value, or in the case of acquisition mortis causa.


The procedure is as described above. A potential buyer must meet the requirements of the Land Purchase Act and sign a corresponding purchase agreement, the signature being certified, so that the land is subsequently transferred to the Land Register. A transfer also has taxation consequences, which are seen below.


Property also is subject to the general rules of inheritance law contained in the Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (ABGB: General Civil Code). The Liechtenstein ABGB was adopted from Austrian law so that the respective provisions are comparable to those of Austria. Under the Gesetz über das Internationale Privatrecht (IPRG: Act on Private International Law), which also applies to border-crossing matters, it is the personal statute of the deceased at the time of his death that determines applicable law. Therefore, the inheritance law to be applied depends on the nationality of the deceased. However, § 56 Jurisdiktionsnorm (JN Jurisdiction Act) states that exclusive jurisdiction for probate proceedings concerning Liechtenstein real estate always rests with the Fürstliches Landgericht (Princely Court of Justice). So if there is no express selection of law by the deceased in a will or an inheritance contract, Liechtenstein real estate is always subject to Liechtenstein law according to Art. 29 (2) IPRG.

If Liechtenstein law applies, testamentary freedom prevails, which means that if the deceased has left a clear will, the inheritance of real estate is always subject to that will. If there is no testament, intestate succession applies, which also provides forced inheritance shares for spouses and descendants, and if there are none of the previous, also for the parent. If there is neither a clear will nor an agreement between the heirs concerning the transfer of a concrete property, all heirs are entered in the Land Register as owners with the respective co-ownership shares.

Taxes and Expenses

If ownership of property is acquired/entered in the Land Register, Land Register fees are payable. These are normally 0.6 % of the purchase price with a minimum of CHF 100.00.

If ownership of property is transferred, another tax that becomes payable is the so-called Real Estate Profit Tax, which depends on the period the seller has owned the property and the amount of the profit made. Depending on these two factors, taxation varies between 3.24 % and 34.02 % of the profit made on the property, that is, the sales proceeds minus the original purchase price and minus investments by the seller increasing the value of the property.
Lacking an express contractual provision to the contrary, the tax is in both cases payable by the seller.

During the ownership of real estate, property tax is levied on the so-called tax assessment value of the property. The tax assessment value is normally far below the market value. Depending on the applicable progression class, property tax is between 0.054 % and 0.284 %.

When the owner of the property dies and the ownership of the property is transferred to mortis causa, inheritance tax becomes payable. Depending on the degree of relation between the heir and the deceased, inheritance tax can be between 0.5 % and 27.0 %.

There is no value-added tax in the context of the transfer of real estate in Liechtenstein.

The above comments refer to the acquisition of private property to satisfy the need for living accommodation or recreation. If real estate is used for commercial or industrial purposes, certain specific rules apply.

More detailed information on the Principality of Liechtenstein and its legal and administrative system can be found at

For additional information,

Please note that this article is not intended to provide legal advice.

Related Articles