- Cyprus Property News Magazine - http://www.news.cyprus-property-buyers.com -

Summary of Cyprus planning amnesty laws revealed

AFTER a long period of discussions and friction, the House of Representatives eventually passed into laws the pack of bills loosely known as «Planning Amnesty» (i.e. the opportunity of legalizing, within a given period of time, existing irregularities in the construction of buildings or the sub-division of building sites).

The planning amnesty is only a part of the whole package, which contains important amendments of the Town and Country Planning Law, the Streets and Buildings Regulations Law and the Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) Law.

The most important provisions of the new legislation are the following:

Temporary provisions (planning amnesty)

Any owner or other interested person may apply, within 3 years from the coming into force of the law, for the issue of a certificate of approval for irregularities that resulted in:

a) an increase of the built up area up to 10%, or

b) a change in the aesthetics of the building or

c) the wrong positioning of the building or

d) the unsatisfactory construction of infrastructure works or

e) wrong construction of a building site.

Any owner or other interested person may apply, within 3 years from the coming into force of the law, for the issue of a planning permit for irregularities that resulted in:

a) an increase of the built up area up to 30%, or

b) an increase of the height of the building or

c) the wrong positioning of the building or

d) wrong distance from the boundaries or

e) the unsatisfactory construction of infrastructure works or

f) the decrease of the area of a building site up to 20%.

Irregularities which have resulted in the increase of the built up area can be traded off by the payment of a sum of money, equal to the value of the extra land which corresponds to the extra build up area, or by the transferring, from another property, (including a listed property), of the extra «building ratio» needed.

Certain acts, like the carrying out of irregularities, false statements, obstruction of an authorised person to carry out his duties under the law, or failure to produce relevant documents or other information needed by an appropriate authority, is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment or a fine or both.

Other (permanent) provisions

  1. The simultaneous issuing of a building permit and a division permit is made possible.
  2. The issuing a Certificate of Approval and eventually Title Deeds for part of a project is also made possible.
  3. The relevant authorities are empowered to impose an administrative fine on developers and other owners who fail to apply in time or to co-operate promptly with the authorities for the issue of the relevant permits, certificates of approval or Title Deeds.
  4. The issuing of titles with «notes of irregularities» for minor irregularities is authorised.
  5. The issuing of a «certificate of non- authorized works», which eventually leads to the issuing of titles with a note prohibiting the voluntary transferring or burdening of the property is also authorised.
  6. Planning permits, certificates of approval and Title Deeds can be issued after an application of any interested person, in the case where the owner fails to apply.
  7. A certificate of approval can be issued by the relevant authorities on their own accord, where the owner fails to apply.
  8. The production of all relevant documents and the issuing of an up-to-date title by the Director of Lands and Surveys, on his own accord, is possible, if the owner fails to produce the documents or take any other necessary action.

There are many other provisions in the amending Laws which need not be mentioned at this stage.

About the author

Andreas D. Symeou LL.B, M.Sc (U.L.A.) was the draughtsman of the original amendments to the Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) Law, which underwent many changes before being approved by parliament on 24th March.

He is a property consultant and a Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS) and may be contacted at [email protected]