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Parliament blamed for Title Deed bills hold up

Neoclis Sylikiotis, the Cyprus Interior Minister, claims that a group of MPs are systematically trying to delay the progress of the Title Deed bills through parliament.

CYPRUS Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis rounded on parliament blaming it for dithering over a Title Deed amnesty and therefore trapping thousands of home owners.

“Before thousands of citizens I am accusing some MPs of trying to thwart the reforms envisaged by the government instead of protecting the public interest,” Sylikiotis told reporters.

“Despite the public pledge from House President Marios Garoyian… that the House would approve three of the bills discussed it was then decided to postpone again,” he added.

With growing frustration that one of the government’s key policy issues is seemingly the victim of an election year Sylikiotis also blamed coalition partners Diko for dragging their feet.

He said thousands of buyers were left to wait longer after being unjustly left in the lurch for years.

The minister said three of the five bills already discussed could be passed without affecting the remaining two.

He argued that the three bills ready to be voted on would enable thousands to acquire Title Deeds and repair Cyprus’ tarnished reputation among foreign buyers desperate to obtain deeds.

Streamlining town planning regulations and ushering in a Title Deed amnesty has buyers’ rights as its core philosophy.

This is seen as a popular move that would earn the government brownie points during a difficult period.

Sylikiotis claimed a “group of MPs” were “systematically” trying to waylay the process at the committee stage.

Five bills to ease the Title Deed backlog and streamline land registry red tape were tabled to the House last year and had cross-party support which makes the delay even more puzzling. There was also a lengthy consultation process before the bills were even tabled.

Nevertheless, opposition Disy vice president Ionas Nicolaou denied there had been any deliberate delay on behalf of parliament as the bills had gaps in them which needed rectifying.

The proposals aim to better regulate the property sector by streamlining the issuing of Title Deeds and introducing a town planning amnesty for those who have infringed on building regulations.

Modernising the property permit system and easing the logjam would also see a steady flow of much needed cash into empty state coffers, not to mention giving home owners piece of mind.

It is believed that more than 100,000 applications are snared over town planning disputes and that once the laws are passed around 20,000 Title Deeds could be issued annually.

Estimated government revenue for each Title Deed issued is €7,000 on average.

Tweaking town planning and property licensing is seen as the best way of bolstering confidence in Cyprus real estate among foreign buyers especially now the market is struggling.

New legislation will enable the authorities to issue different types of Title Deeds to speed up a complicated system.

A key element is to approve Title Deed issues where they have been held up by minor infractions.

The property owner will be able to pay a cash penalty to legalise the infraction and receive the Title Deed.

Legislation also seeks to better protect buyers from unscrupulous contractors.

Readers' comments

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  • out of the frying pan into the fire says:

    Said it before and say it again.

    They will find new ways of relieving us of our money. Even if they did put things right.

    There will be a new scam to rob us.

    With the complicity and encouragement of the government

  • Andrew says:

    The executioner is coming and he wants us to pay for the bullet.

    It is wonderful when a plan comes together.

    Try again minister, but this time give us what we have already paid for!

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    They HAVE another scam!

    We have been ripped off so much that there’s not much mileage left in us, so they are going upmarket. Has anyone received a promotional brochure for the new Limassol Marina yet?

    Cheapest 1 bed flat (68 sq m, no outside space) €428k. A decent sized house (295 sq m total covered area, no berth for boat but the maximum sized one is 15m anyway so actually too small for a decent sized one) is a snip at a mere €3.65m…

    The really good bit though is they all have 99 year leases. As the equivalent of a Leasehold Advisory Service does not exist in Cyprus, it means that in a few years time, you can pay for your extremely reasonably priced property all over again – a bit like we’re doing now!

    Such developments are springing up all over Cyprus.

    The whinging Brits will eventually shut up and go home, after writing very strong letters to their MPs, MEPs, the AG and various other completely ineffectual individuals – now it’s time to rip off the seriously rich (Russians etc).

    Only problem is that ripped-off Russian billionaires don’t write letters to their MPs…

    Expect the death toll amongst Cypriot Property Developers to rise. What goes around comes around…

  • cab says:

    Is there no discussion on these subjects amongst the domestic Cypriot media?

    As this is currently affecting the economy and jobs in the construction and property sectors, wouldn’t it be wise to start lobbying the Cypriot language media and getting the point across the reasons why the foreigners are not coming to Cyprus now and unless the legislation is changed they won’t be coming back in the future. Or the golf courses and marinas being built going to provide sufficient employment for the islands in the future?

  • andyp says:

    So just to be clear-

    The Cyprus Government will not enforce existing legislation enforcing developers to build what they have been given permission to build and will take no action against them if they have not.

    Instead new legislation is proposed to charge the buyer a fee to “regulate” these transgressions of building code, planning etc.

    The buyer has then to sue the developer to recover costs, which as we all know is unlikely.

    We then pay The Cyprus Government “on average” 7000 euros for our deeds.

    Dream on Cyprus. Better start to think up another scam as opposed to doing the right thing.

    Sounds like a scheme made up by the lawyers/legislature for more fees and no result for the victims

  • Jim says:

    The government are saying that 100,000 of the estimated 130,000 people awaiting title deeds are not getting them due to building irregularities.

    That is complete rubbish. There may be some hold-ups due to this reason, but the overwhelming reason for the title deeds hold-up is, developers being unable, or unwilling to pay off bank mortgages they took out to finance the building of the properties.

    As usual, those in power ignore the main issue.

  • Peter says:

    Quote: “The property owner will be able to pay a cash penalty to legalise the infraction and receive the Title Deed”.

    I found out last week that there is a problem with the position of the houses on our estate. So as well as paying a developer for a house, I can now pay for HIS mistakes so that I can further pay the Government for the title deeds so that THEIR reputation will be repaired and they can have money in THEIR account.

    So very simple and so child like.

    The alternative is of course I don’t get the title deeds, but I use the spare money to have a holiday and a better standard of living.

    Difficult choice, isn’t it Mr Neoclis?

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