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Can we get our money back?

WE are new to all this and hoping for some help and advice. We paid a reservation fee of £2,500 to an overseas property marketing company in the UK for an off-plan apartment in Kiti. Having returned from their viewing trip to Cyprus and despite them trying to persuade us to use their lawyer, we […]

WE are new to all this and hoping for some help and advice. We paid a reservation fee of £2,500 to an overseas property marketing company in the UK for an off-plan apartment in Kiti.

Having returned from their viewing trip to Cyprus and despite them trying to persuade us to use their lawyer, we appointed an independent and really helpful lawyer on the list provided by the British High Commission in Nicosia to do some checks prior to us proceeding.

Within a day he informed us that the land was mortgaged and that we should not proceed on this basis due to the problems that this would bring us in the future when trying to get our Title Deeds or if the builders were to fold in the interim and the land was repossessed.

On enquiring with the mortgager they declined to sign a waiver and so we decided to walk! We have been back to the marketing company and requested that we should at least get the majority of our reservation fee back as we were clearly not given the whole picture. Although we have a receipt, we never signed anything but they are flatly refusing to return our money.

Any help and advice would be much appreciated!

Answer

I’m sorry to hear about your problem – at least you found out about it before you handed over more money. I suggest you speak with your solicitor in the UK – with the correspondence from your lawyer in Cyprus. Perhaps a ‘stiff’ letter to the company in question may do the trick. You should also have a word with your local UK Trading Standards office to see if they can help.

I’m afraid that reservation fees are usually non-refundable (at least in Cyprus). But in this situation, where it seems they tried to con you by not disclosing vital information about the property, I would have thought that you will be able to recover your money.

Editor’s note

When buying any sort of property in Cyprus, it is absolutely vital that you take independent legal advice before handing over any money or signing any papers.

In the case of reservation fees, you pay these to your lawyer who acts as your ‘escrow agent’. He/she would then check that there were no mortgages or other claims lodged against it with the Land Registry before handing over the reservation fee to the company concerned.

See also: How to reduce your risks when buying off plan property in Cyprus

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