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Number 10 replies to Cyprus petitioners

More than 2,000 people added their names to a UK Government’s Number 10 e-petition urging the Prime Minister to exert pressure on the Government of Cyprus to protect property rights.

EARLIER today, those who added their names to the Number 10 e-petition urging Gordon Brown to put pressure on the Cyprus Government to protect property rights received a reply from the UK Government.

The petition

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to exert pressure on the Government of Cyprus to protect property rights in Cyprus in compliance with Article 17 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Cyprus is mis-described as having a property registration and ownership system based on the British Legal System. In fact it’s based on archaic Turkish law which allows the removal of property ownership rights from both Cyrus and foreign nationals. It works like this: The developer builds a property, sells it, is paid in full and releases the property without providing final title deeds. They are only issued by the local authority if the developer applies for completion and has met all of the planning requirements for the project. Until they are issued the developer can use the land as collateral for further loans! The Cyprus Land Registry figures show there are 29,949 transfers of Title Deeds to foreigners still pending and are only being issued at the rate of 1,600 a year! Lots of UK citizens, many of whom are ex-service personnel and pensioners, are at risk of losing their home if a developer goes bust, or simply chooses not to repay loans on the building land! It is unjust!”

The UK Government’s response

Thank you for your e-petition.

The Government sympathises with the problems being experienced by property owners in Cyprus.

This issue affects both Cypriots and foreign nationals living in Cyprus, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office highlights it in its Travel Advice (www.fco.gov.uk).

We have also made a number of representations to the Cypriot authorities to make clear our concerns and have been assured that the Cyprus government will introduce legislation to speed up the issuing of title deeds, although unfortunately, this legislation may only apply to future cases.

Our High Commission in Cyprus will remain engaged in supporting British citizens on this issue and will continue to meet regularly with action groups formed by British nationals such as the Cypriot Property Action Group.

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