Selecting your home

When buying/renting a house, the key thing to decide is whether you want a single family home or whether you want to live in a housing complex/scheme (similar to a subdivision in the US).

The advantage of single family homes is of course greater privacy. If you spend enough you can find one with a decent sized garden too. However, invariably the house will be surrounded by high walls for security and almost every house in the neighborhood will have dogs.

Newspapers are perhaps the best resource to find good deals for housing in Colombo, suburban Colombo and all major cities in Sri Lanka. The Sunday newspapers have dedicated sections available for advertisements about houses/apartments on sale. Most of Sri Lanka’s popular newspapers are also available online so interested parties can look them up (e.g. http://www.hitad.lk/).

As of late, many owners of land/houses are using websites to advertise their houses. Some of the popular sites are listed below:

Can’t find a suitable place with the options above? You also have the option of placing an advertisement on the papers yourself, specifying your requirements which will allow any interested party to contact you with suitable offers.

Laws pertaining to buying property

Non-citizens, except those of Sri Lankan origin, are not allowed to purchase land; however land can be bought on a 99 year lease.

All such leases are subject to 100% tax. This tax is exempted when

  • Condominiums above the 4th floor in a Urban Development Authority (UDA) approved condominium.

  • Investment in a project that is over US$10 million

  • A joint venture company incorporated in Sri Lanka (with foreign participation)

  • Land for the development of large housing schemes, hospitals and hotels with a minimum investment of $10 million

  • Exporting companies with a minimum investment of $1 million

  • Large infrastructure projects with a minimum investment of $50 million