Iceland Tightens Restrictions On Foreign Property Rights

3.5.2013
Words by Alda Kravec
Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson recently signed a new regulation limiting the right of foreigners within the European Economic Area (EEA) to buy property in Iceland.

Signed on April 17th, the regulation denies EEA citizens who are not registered residents of Iceland to buy land or property here unless such a purchase is shown to support their legal right to residence or employment in the country. Ögmundur says the regulation is in line with existing laws on property ownership and use rights, particularly with reference to law no. 19/1966.

He told Vísir that the regulation clearly states that the freedom to move capital is not a self-evident or unrestricted right but only an interpretation of  EEA citizens’ right to acquire property in connection with the EEA’s (and EU’s) so-called Four Freedoms , which guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people.   

Ögmundur adds that the regulation is designed to restrict EEA citizens who do not reside in Iceland from buying property which is not essential to their employment or residency.

The new regulation only affects EEA citizens. Purchase of land or property by foreigners from outside the EEA still requires special authorisation by the Interior Ministry.

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