PROSPECTIVE buyers trying to obtain information about mortgages and other claims against a property they are thinking of buying often run into ‘difficulties’ as the Cyprus Land Registries are reluctant to divulge this information to the public.
In Cyprus, the Land Registries will only disclose information on the status of Title Deeds, mortgages, etc. to ‘interested parties’, due to the fact that the laws of Cyprus are very different to those of England and Wales:
In England and Wales
The Land Registry operates an open register which means that copies of all documents referred to on the registered title can be obtained by anyone, subject to payment of the necessary fee.
Information or documents in the public register of Titles connected with the ownership of immovable properties and charges or encumbrances lodged against them are treated as confidential and unavailable for public inspection.
(This effectively prevents a potential property buyer finding out whether the property he/she is thinking of buying is mortgaged until after they have signed a contract of sale to purchase it; by which time of course, it is too late!)
New procedures to overcome the problem
TO OVERCOME this problem Andreas Symeou, a senior official at the Department of Lands and Surveys, recently sent a circular to all the District Lands Offices in Cyprus with instructions to provide prospective purchasers with all relevant information regarding the property they are considering purchasing.
These should make it much easier for those who are thinking of buying a property in Cyprus to discover whether or not it has been mortgaged by the developer.
The District Lands Offices will now supply information on the status of a property’s Title Deeds to potential property buyers providing that he/she he produces:
- Confirmation by the Owner/prospective vendor that he is a prospective purchaser or
- Authorization by the Owner/prospective vendor or
- Contract of sale signed by the vendor (but not necessarily by the prospective purchaser) or
- Any other similar document.
Guide to obtaining a Title search
It will take staff a few days to carry out the search and provide you with a comprehensive report on the status of the property’s Title. The cost is just a few Euros and is money well spent. Proceed as follows:
- Complete a ‘Land Registry Search Application Form N.50‘ (The Greek language section only. The English translation and example are there for guidance only).
- Get the vendor to complete an ‘Authorisation Form‘ or a ‘Confirmation Form‘ (This is only necessary if you do not have a Contract of Sale).
- Take the completed forms with you to the District Lands Office in which the property is situated – Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Famagusta or Paralimni along with your passport.
Obviously, if a vendor refuses to complete an Authorisation or a Confirmation Form or refuses to provide a Contract of Sale signed by just himself, it is reasonable to assume that there are problems with the property’s Title Deed. In these situations you are strongly advised to look elsewhere for a less risky purchase.
(Click here to download the circular and forms issued to the Land Registries by Andreas Symiou in Greek – plus an English translation of the circular and forms – plus the N.50 search form in Greek & English)