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Simplifying co-ownership on property

A new law is being examined that is designed to ease the problems associated with developing land that is owned by several individuals.

THE HOUSE Legal Affairs Committee is examining a law proposal that will enable owners of a co-owned plot to develop their share of it as they wish, without having to present the signatures of the remainder of the co-owners.

The proposal, which was tabled by Committee Chairman, DISY’s Ionas Nicolaou, will be led to the Plenum soon, he said yesterday.

Until now, if a plot was co-owned, for someone to build in his part of the land, he would have to seek the approval of the other owners, otherwise the Town Planning Department would not grant authorisation.

But with the new law, which Nicolaou said had secured the approval of Town Planning and the Cyprus Land Registry Office yesterday, people will be able to develop without needing the co-owners’ signatures.

Readers' comments

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  • @dimitri – thanks for your comments.

    One of the problems is that the developer has to act as the guarantor for the mortgage.

    Apart from yourself, I have heard of no other cases where a developer is prepared to act as a guarantor if the buyer wishes to sell his home before its Title Deeds have been issued.

    As a consequence if people want to sell their home, they have to find a cash buyer. And these days, people are very wary of buying a property that has not been issued with Title Deeds.

  • dimitri says:

    My comment has not much to do with developing a co-owned plot, but more so selling a property on a plot where separate title deeds have yet to be issued, banks reply to me was as follows:

    Further to your email dated 08/02/2011, we would like to inform you that in case there is no separate title deed, share can be mortgaged which will secure the housing loan. Also a sales agreement is necessary.

    However, it is a condition for a housing loan, the sales agreement to be assigned in the favour of the bank. Also, share of the property will be mortgaged in the favour of the bank.

    As a Bank we consider as a tangible security only the mortgage.

  • AnnDee says:

    I tried to buy a co-owned plot, but gave up due to the complications of finding the heirs of the original owners named on the title deeds. All have to be willing to sell I was told.

    Using this as an example, the plot is 419 sq.m.and is divided between 3 owners in the shares 72/108, 18/108 and 18/108.I work that out as 279 sq m for the largest part and 70 sq m each for the others. As there is no division of each part on the map, then how do you know which is your part? It seems impossible. Would you even be allowed to build a house on 70 sqm if each part was shown on the map?

    I don’t see that the proposed changes can possibly help those who don’t have their share shown on the land map. Surely the whole business of joint ownership should be looked at as it must be making hundreds of plots unusable.

  • Frank says:

    Surely the Cyprus government has forfeited any claim to credibility when it declares that any legislation relevant to property is receiving consideration. We should all live so long.

  • Dee says:

    Can see ructions in some Cypriot families, where several children are bequeathed one plot between them!

  • Robert Cairns says:

    Given the history of the Cyprus legal system, with respect to property, I would not want to buy a house on jointly owned land. It would come as no surprise to find out that one of the co-owners was given some sort of leverage over the property at a later date by a system that has shown itself to look after its own citizens interests before that of a foreigner. This seems to happen no matter how obvious to the rest of the world that there is corruption in public office.

    There is no shaming some of these people who are after short term gain and do not see their own interests in stabilising and growing an industry dying on its feet.

  • andyp says:

    I would have thought there were more pressing ownership problems to sort first, although the time-scale sounds familiar i.e. soon.

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