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Dream holiday home nightmare for British couple

It is not only property buyers in the free areas Republic of Cyprus who are at risk of losing their homes if developers fail to service their mortgage debts. Buyers in the Turkish occupied areas of the island have already started to lose their homes as a result of unpaid loans. An omen of things to come in the South?

AN £85,000 dream holiday home in the sun has turned into an expensive nightmare for West Midland couple Anthony and Irene Barker.

The three-bedroom bungalow in North Cyprus was seized by a bank because the land on which it was built had been used without their knowledge as security for an unpaid loan.

Nine other holiday homes owned by British people in the area – one an 87-year-old former Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot – have also been requisitioned in the wrangle over cash borrowed by either the developer or the former owner of the site.

Mr Barker, aged 60, who remortgaged the couple’s flat in Cherry Tree Lane, Bilbrook, near Codsall, to buy the bungalow, declared today: “I feel that we have just had £85,000 stolen from us.

“It is as if we are the scapegoats in a daylight robbery.

“It is a farce. It would be laughable if it was not so serious. These people just appear to act with impunity.”

His 58-year-old wife added: “We are going to fight this all the way.

“We bought the bungalow in good faith and did everything by the book.

“Let this be a lesson to others thinking of buying a holiday home abroad.”

The couple, both heavy goods vehicle drivers, bought the bungalow in Karisyaka off plan in 2004.

It was part of a 13-home development and they moved in three years later having paid £85,000 for the property and spent a further £10,000 furnishing it.

They have stayed there eight times since, most recently last July.

Three of the villas and bungalows were given to relatives of the landowner Yuksel Yilmaz as payment for the ground by the developer Kulaksiz Construction.

The other 10 homes were bought for a total of £786,800 with none of the owners made aware that they had been used as security for loans that if the borrower defaulted, Akfinans Bank Ltd was entitled to auction the property to clear the debt that has soared in value because of the sky high interest rate. Following a change in the law in January 2008, residents were required to register their contracts of sale with the North Cyprus Land Registry and discovered for the first time that a charge had been placed on the land by Akfinans Bank Ltd.

Mr Barker commented: “We were told that this was not uncommon in Cyprus and that there was nothing to worry about.

“When we later discovered that the loan was not being repaid we were told that the three villas given to the previous landowner would be used as collateral and our homes were not involved.

“Then things suddenly changed and started moving very quickly this year with our home and those of our neighbours in Cyprus being seized by the bank last Sunday. We do not know what happens now. Most of the others involved live full time at their property in Cyprus and we are in constant touch with them.

“They have not been thrown out yet and negotiations are continuing with the bank and the developer but I am not hopeful.

“One suggestion is that we might all have to pay a further £40,000, which is money we do not have.”

Mrs Barker, the couple have once child and a grandchild, added: “Our money is hard earned and the bungalow was not bought recklessly.

“We thought that if we bought somewhere warm we could go there on holiday and sell it in a few years time.

“It was supposed to have been a pension nest egg.

“We would have done better to put the cash under the bed.”

The couple paid the final instalment on the three bedroom bungalow with expansive roof terrace and swimming pool on 15 July 2006.

Mrs Barker said: “It was lovely and we started to move in.

“It cost us a further £10,000 to £15,000 to fully furnish the place. We were delighted with the outcome.

“We have been there eight times since, most recently in July last year.

“There were no proper roads on the estate when we took over possession of the property and there still are not any despite all the promises.

“The whole thing is a nightmare.”

Read more in the Express & Star

Readers' comments

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  • Shanti says:

    If I were you I would take the bank to court. There is absolutely no way they should be allowed to seize your property that you have paid your money for in good faith. They need to get their money back from the developer, not you. Its ridiculous that they should come and take your property.

    Take them to court and get lots of publicity about it in Cyprus and UK. You really have to stand up to these crooks.

    Regards.

  • A Fraser says:

    As we all know Banks are to blame they continue to lend money on land that has been already been mortgaged why are they getting away with it!!!!!!! make them be the losers not us.

    Regards

  • hector says:

    Anyone who is thinking of buying a property in Cyprus whether north or south should look elsewhere. The legal system is totally inadequate to protect buyers and the financial system likewise.

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