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Cyprus property market tarnished by London protest

Conor O’Dwyer continued his ‘Shame on Cyprus’ protest outside the main entrance to Earls Court throughout the recent two-day A Place in the Sun overseas property exhibition.

Conor O'Dwyer's protest

Conor O'Dwyer talking to potential Cyprus property buyers at Earls Court

TENS of thousands of prospective home-buyers were greeted with placards reading ‘Shame on Cyprus’ at the gates of a property exhibition in London over the weekend.

The signs were part of a high-profile campaign organised by Conor O’Dwyer who is embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with local developers.

His colourful protest, camped at the main entrance to Earls Court, was staged during the two-day A Place in the Sun show, an event designed to help people get onto the overseas property ladder.

The show was organised in conjunction with the popular Channel Four television programme, which draws millions of viewers every week.

Over 200 exhibitors, representing more than 40 countries worldwide witnessed the highly visible stand set up by O’Dwyer.

Despite objections from local property developers – many of whom were left fuming, O’Dwyer said he was allowed to stage the protest with the blessing of the Metropolitan police.

Greek Cypriot property developers came out of Earls Court on masse, they were furious with me. Some took photos; it was worrying because I had my children there. Some even said they would take me to court.

At first they wanted the stand to be taken down, but after I explained my situation, some of them expressed sympathy and one developer even offered to help, but many were not happy,” he said.

Thousands of property dealers and customers from Spain, France, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Italy and the USA were greeted by the protest, with many stopping to discover what was happening.

It needs sorting out,” insists property analyst Nigel Howarth, “This has been going on for far too long. His case is high profile and who can even begin to calculate the damage by the negative press?

O’Dwyer claims he purchased a house in the eastern village of Frenaros in 2005 that was then was resold without his knowledge by the developers.

The developers have dismissed the accusations and accused O’Dwyer of attempting to extort a more expensive house from them.

This is not the first time O’Dwyer has taken his campaign to the streets, two years-ago he held a protest outside the Cyprus High Commission in London.

O’Dwyer slept in a tent and spent his day updating his website and talking to passers-by, including, he said, potential British property buyers for Cyprus.

Readers' comments

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  • Timmo says:

    Well done Mr O’Dwyer for standing up to these crooks and cheats who have tarnished the reputation of the Island of Cyprus. I have bought a property on the Island, as yet not completed. I have dealt with a large developer and a Solicitor recommended to me by the Marcus James partnership. It has panned out to be a total disaster with regards to an investment opportunity. I am telling everyone I know top steer clear of the Island because unfortunately no one can be trusted to deliver what has been promised.

    I believe I will complete on my property provided the developer stays in business and as soon as the £ recovers I will look to sell and get out as soon as possible. What a shame as Cyprus is a wonderful place.

    Lack of regulation and honesty, combined with a short term business outlook & greed, will make Cyprus a country that will be avoided by its biggest clients the British. This publication, Cyprus property news seems to focus on more of what’s bad than good in the Cyprus property market. Is there some plan to drive down buyers and prices for some unknown reason? I wonder!

  • Steve says:

    I greatly admire Conor O’Dwyer for the determination and tenacity he is showing in a fight that is against all the odds.

    However, there is a serious risk that the lessons we can all learn from his experiences in Cyprus are going to be lost because his cause is being hijacked by every Tom, Dick and Harry with a grievance about buying property in the island.

    First and foremost, according to what I have read, it is alleged that Mr O’Dwyer withheld a due payment because the developer failed to adhere to some stipulations he had made. This tactic may work in the UK but it is very dangerous in Cyprus, because it usually breaches the Sale and Purchase agreement, for which there are generally penalties, maybe up to and including loss of the property and any monies paid. My purchase agreement has some similar clauses in it, including termination of my agreement and resale of the property.

    The CPAG uses this case as “proof” that the lodging of a sales agreement in Cyprus is no protection for the buyer, ignoring the fact that the agreement was allegedly not completed as required, so the protection would fall away. The case is now about breach of contract, not theft or fraud, and that is a civil, not a criminal, matter. The second lesson is the higher risk when buying off-plan versus resales where you can see what you are getting. The third lesson is that resorting to the Cyprus legal system against a Cypriot is a hard road to tread. Just look at the runaround Conor O’Dwyer has suffered in his case for Grievous Bodily Harm against the developer, despite witnesses and a mountain of evidence, including a video.

  • David W says:

    Re Colin’s comments. He feels if Developers clean up their act the buyers will return.

    I live in the UK but seek to move to Cyprus. In my opinion, the damage is done and is more permanent. It will take many years before buyers return to purchasing new properties from “Developers”.

    Most people I know ( who have done a little homework ) are fully aware of the problems with dealing with Cypriot Developers, especially the more major ones. There are many small and medium size builders who are excellent and trustworthy and build to a high quality spec.. But they (and their reputations) will suffer equally because of the other greedy ones. However the resale market should benefit from this adverse publicity in time.To a lot of buyers it appears the whole “Cyprus” property market should be given a wide berth.

    Nothing goes round faster than bad news.

    When will the Cyprus Government clean up it’s and the Developers’ act ??

  • Colin H says:

    It’s people like Conor who will eventually force these developers to start issuing Title Deeds the moment a property is sold and to get the government to finally crack down on all the corrupt practices that are rife in todays Cypriot property scene.

    Even the UK Government has very clear warnings on it’s website for anybody thinking of purchasing a property in Cyprus.

    It’s very simple – clean up your act and buyers will return.

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.

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