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Title Deed law changes delayed

The Cyprus government has been unsuccessful in its attempt to introduce the five bills designed to accelerate the issue of Title Deeds by the end of the parliamentary session. Talks on their substance will continue after the summer recess.

APPEALS by the Government Executive to have the five Title Deed bills approved during the last session of parliament have proved unsuccessful and the House Interior Committee has decided to continue their examination at the start of the new parliamentary session after the summer recess.

After the session, the House Interior Committee Chairman and AKEL MP, Yiannos Lamaris said that despite efforts discussions on the bills could not be completed.

There are some points that must be clarified and examined further. Talks on a small part will continue after summer so that the bill is subject to the Parliament’s approval in October”, Mr. Lamaris said.

At the present time some 130,000 properties do not have Title Deeds. Last July, Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis announced a series of amendments to the law to alleviate the problem.  Often referred to as a ’Planning Amnesty’, the five bills influence other aspects of the Title Deed problem and change the following laws:

  • The Streets and Buildings Regulations Law, Cap 96
  • The Planning Law 90/1972.
  • The Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) Law, Cap. 224
  • The Sale of Land (Specific Performance) Law, Cap 232
  • The Contract Law, Cap. 249

However, the proposed amendments have been the subject of much criticism. They were opposed by the Cyprus Bar Association who rejected them saying that “They will lead us into a labyrinth without solving the problem”.

The Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) also condemned the proposals, calling them “an amnesty for developers who have failed to adhere to planning/building permits issued or even built illegally without these permits”.

CPAG went on to say that they failed to address the main problem of “developers taking mortgages on properties they have also sold to unsuspecting buyers”. Buyers then “wait years to obtain Title Deeds and stand to lose their homes should the developer go bust and if the buyers cannot then pay off ‘their’ portion of the mortgage”.

The Cyprus Technical Chamber, ETEK, has urged the government to demolish illegally constructed buildings and draw up a ‘black list’ of developers who were known to have broken the law as well as those who remortgage property for which no Title Deed has been issued.

Meanwhile pressure on Cyprus from the European Union continues to mount. MEP Daniel Hannan is trying to uncover the facts behind the Cyprus developers’ mortgages scandal and has also called on the EC to send a fact-finding mission to Cyprus to investigate the Title Deed problems, while MEP Syed Kamall has raised a question about Aristo Developers.

Readers' comments

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  • Nosher says:

    I agree entirely with Spike and couldn’t have put it better.

    I would only add that any fact finding mission sent by the EU take no notice of anything any government department, politician or lawyer says.

    As history has proven time and time again, politicians and governments will give only their version of events and judging by the GC version of history being taught in schools, the actual truth will be buried under a mountain of propaganda.

    And the sad thing is that kids know no better and believe what they’re taught. Until they leave Cyprus and discover what the rest of the world is saying.

    But I digress. The thrust of my rant is that for a fact finding mission to be a success they have to talk to the aggrieved as well.

  • Gary Temple says:

    More delays and more dashed hopes for those of us awaiting Title Deeds. Come on European Union do something to push it along, you must be good for something.

  • Spike says:

    When these proposals were announced they were clearly unworkable and it was inevitable that no action would result. It was nothing more than a ruse was to appease the European Union and get them off the Cyprus Government’s back.

    You can get your bets down now that nothing will happen after the summer recess because if any genuine attempt to resolve this problem is undertaken it will bring down the whole house of cards built by national and local government, banks and developers.

    It would plunge Cyprus into a bigger crisis than Greece and the politicians would be turkeys voting for Christmas.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Where are the 20,000 or so Title Deeds promised back in June 2009 by the Interior Minister Sylkiotis that he said would be issued by July 2010?

    It’s a joke that is now getting tiresome and the real reason for these delays needs to be uncovered by an EU working Party.

    It’s not rocket science. The Cypriot Government just needs to ensure that in future no property in Cyprus is sold without the Legal Title Deeds being obtained in the purchasers name and issued to them by the conveyancing solicitor at the time of the purchase..

    The price of new properties should include the Title Deed Transfer Tax and any outstanding legal IPT which the conveyancing solicitor would collect and pay to the appropriate Government department on conclusion of the legal process.

    In addition the Cyprus Bar should make it compulsory for conveyancing solicitors to carry out proper searches to determine if there are any third party encumbrances on the land / property and if any further planning permissions have been granted within 500m of the land / property.

    Why the Cypriot Government is taking so long to put into place some common sense, basic consumer protection rules in this area is a complete mystery to me and leads me to believe that they have neither the competence, and more importantly, the will to do so for reasons that will eventually emerge.

  • Crystal says:

    Why am I not surprised by this announcement? Seriously its time the EU sent in someone to investigate this farce. A committee should be set up by the EU to make sure this shambles is cleared up, and the mass fraud committed by greedy developers, banks and lawyers is dealt with. No person should have to live with the fear of losing their home.

    I for one will be sending this link to all the MEP’s in the UK. Also I will be sending it to the EU petitions.

    Why, yet again, are they allowed to get away with it.

    If you value your home and there are no sign of the deeds from your developer , please take steps to alert the people who can represent us in the EU Parliament.

    Send them an email it only takes a few minutes.

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

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