LEPTOS Estates has filed a libel claim against Denis O’Hare of the Cyprus Property Action Group in response to a page of the association’s website.
The company says the site made false claims about the issuing of Title Deeds on Leptos projects and that it is acting to protect its reputation and existing customers.
“I will defend any libel claims vigorously,” O’Hare told OPP. “I am absolutely shocked and dismayed at this action.
“All I’ve tried to do is lobby the government, help buyers and fix the property problems in Cyprus for everyone’s benefit. This is a sad day for the Cyprus property industry.”
The organisation has spent the last few years campaigning on behalf of homeowners who have not been issued title deeds – a problem that is thought to affect around 100,000 people in Cyprus, including 30,000 foreign nationals. Legislation to speed up the title deed process is currently going through the Cypriot parliament.
CPAG has now taken down the website, which is owned and maintained by O’Hare. A message from the group warned it would no longer be able to help buyers in its current form, but said that some members were looking into a setting up a limited liability company outside Cyprus.
According to the Cyprus Mail newspaper, a Cypriot court ordered O’Hare to remove the webpage and banned him from repeating the allegations, threatening arrest and confiscation of his property if he did not comply.
A statement from Leptos Estates said: “We were forced eventually to take these legal measures which were also the demand by hundreds of our clients. They strongly felt their interests and the values of their properties were irreparably damaged by these defamatory publications.
“In those publications, numerous of our company’s projects were described as problematic due to issue of separate title deeds for the properties therein. However, these properties had separate title deeds actually long before those publications.”
There are approximately 130,000 properties awaiting Title Deeds, rather than 100,000 people as stated in the report. Similarly ‘30,000 foreign nationals’ should be ‘30,000 properties purchased by foreign nationals’.
Bearing in mind that properties are often bought in joint names, the number of people affected by this problem could well be in excess of 200,000.
When you consider that the population of the free areas of the Republic is approximately 800,000, the Title Deed problem could be affecting a quarter of those living here.