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Tala homes slipping down hillside

Cyprus has a long experience of landslides and houses damaged by landslips can be seen in Pissouri, Kinousa and Polemi. Fourteen homes in Tala seem to be the latest victims.

A TALA development appears to be sliding down the hillside it is built on, prompting police to close the road, diverting traffic from the area.

The development – of 14 units, villas and apartments, of which only four have been sold – is situated along the main road leading to the Kamares village development in Paphos.

President of the Paphos branch of the Cyprus Civil Engineers and Architects association, Chrysostomos Italos recently visited the development, which has remained unfinished for a number of years.

“I saw there is no danger to the public at this time or for people using this road but it is necessary for specialists/civil engineers to investigate the situation in more detail and special efforts should be taken to ensure the buildings will be safe for ever,” he said.

Italos pointed out that building on a cliff side is not usually dangerous as long as all of the correct procedures are followed.

“We are all very shocked that this has happened and distressed and concerned for our customers,” commented customer service administrator at Top properties, Anthoulla Christou. Tremetoushiotis Developers Ltd was responsible for the construction of the development, and they operate under the umbrella of Top Properties.

Christou confirmed two of the properties are inhabited, but the owners are currently abroad.

“We have contacted them to inform them of the situation; of course they are unable to live in the properties until all of the studies have been completed and the problems rectified.”

However she said Tremetoushiotis Developers were not to blame for the construction sliding downwards but said it was due to “movement in the mountain”.

“It’s not just our development that has been affected, properties above and around have also experienced problems,” she said. In addition, a large crack has appeared in the tarmac on the road surface below.

According to one resident, who lives close to the troubled development, Tala Council’s engineer will investigate the matter further. In addition, he said that subsidence is visible in at least two of the properties and cracks have appeared in the road below the development, which is a busy hub for traffic to and from Kamares village.

Italos said that similar cliff side development in Pissouri village resulted in three houses collapsing.

Concerned residents and motorists are questioning what steps can be taken to ensue the area is made safe.

Italos underlined the importance of finding out what has caused the buildings to slip, as the soil under this development is not clay.

He said, “The property should be protected from rainwater and underground water close by and also around the land. Water should be diverted away from the footings.”

He said that with further investigation, and with the cooperation of the developer along with the authorities, the problem would soon be solved.

Christou added, “The matter is now in the hands of the authorities and we will wait to see what the outcome is. If the situation can be rectified, we will of course do so.”

Photos of the stricken homes

(Click to enlarge)

 

Readers' comments

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  • I drove past this development earlier today. The bottom road (which isn’t shown in the photographs) has also buckled and cracked.

    I suggest that anyone visiting Kamares takes the top road.

  • hector says:

    It appears that this development has lain idle and unfinished for ‘a number of years’ with only 4 out of 14 units having been sold. What was wrong with the development that put buyers off? Does anyone really believe that the developers will even try and rectify the damage? Where would the money come from? I wonder how much has been loaned to the developers by the banks on these units? Are those loans being repaid?

  • Terry says:

    Hi Nigel,

    Yes, I agree. Top quality fittings and finishes are widely available throughout the island. There are also some very talented interior designers that can deliver top quality bespoke home finishings – especially in Limassol. Regrettably, few of these talented people are commissioned by developers who for the most part badly install a load of cheap shiny tat from China.

    I’m not entirely sure that I support the argument of delivering poor quality fittings in order to meet a budget but take your point of price and quality. There is a happy medium here somewhere but I’ve yet to see it – except perhaps for one Limassol based developer.

  • @Terry – it is possible to get top quality fixtures and fittings here. I bought virtually all the f&f for my place from a handful of suppliers in Limassol and they cost considerably less than in the UK.

    But you rarely see quality fittings in houses built by the developers as they are built to a fixed price.

    (The same applies in the UK by the way. The first house I bought in the UK was ‘off-plan’ and most of the f&f were of very poor quality).

  • Terry says:

    Poor buggers! I have no time for Cypriot professionals involved in property (Bankers, Lawyers and Developers) but generally speaking the hillside properties are well constructed. I’m not talking about fittings and finishes which are generally poor across the island from properties costings £m’s downwards.

    Whatever the cause, I predict that the only thing Cypriot professionals – outlined above – will do is to spend tens of thousands of the owners hard earned over a period of years with no satisfactory outcome for the owners.

  • Clive Fletcher says:

    Worth checking your building insurance terms and conditions. Most, if not all, insurance policies taken out with Lloyds, exclude slippage and earthquake from the policy. Even if the slippage was caused by another property slipping into yours which is OK.

  • andyp says:

    I feel sorry for the poor souls who bought as know doubt they will be in for a long fight to get compensated.

    There are those words again- We are not to blame.

    Do they feature in The National Anthem?

  • Unbelievable says:

    @Demitri – I agree with you about Cyprus having many good, solid buildings.

    Most of the Cypriot Lawyers and Barristers are UK trained and as you say, Civil Engineers, Doctors, Airline Pilots etc.

    We all know that many Cypriot Lawyers, once they move back to Cyprus forget about morals and greed takes over.
    This is possibly the same for some Civil Engineers when the opportunity of a fast buck comes by.

    I believe many people want to live and enjoy the sun in Cyprus, with the benefit of owning their own home for future family generations to enjoy.

    Cyprus is a lovely little island with many good places to explore. As a UK Cypriot myself, I really am sad that many Cypriots on the island are tarnishing the once good name of Cyprus. Cyprus is now seen as a Trojan Horse – never to be trusted for many years to come.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Sorry, meant to say that if the answer is b), then the property value of the 1st is nothing. Apologies.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Dimitri, you state “why not buy?”

    Let’s assume there is a fine, solid home of a certain age with all the necessary paperwork and it’s notional value is x. There is a brand new property in the same street even with no title deeds, possibly a developer’s mortgage on it etc and is worth NOTHING as no-one is going to buy.

    There are VERY MANY of these all around and they cannot be sold (as only a mad person would buy something he wouldn’t own and on which there could be serious liabilities). In order for the owner of the 2nd property to make any money, before it gets repossessed, he rents it out. As there are so many of these properties, he rents it for a pittance (please see latest RICS surveys, which I believe are all overstated anyway).

    Let’s say an expat familily come to live in Cyprus for a number of years as they have a job over here etc. What should they do for their accommodation (on the basis that people buy property for two reasons: for somewhere to live and for investment return): a) purchase the first property for a few hundred thousand euro (knowing that at some stage, a mass of cheaper than chips repossessions will flood the sales market) or b) rent the second newer one for a pittance?

    If the answer is a), then the intrinsic value of the 1st property is pretty much nothing. Anyone buying it would have great difficulty unloading it again and they money they would have sunk into it would be dead money.

    Yes, it is all bad. It’s actually very, very bad…

  • Gavin Jones says:

    @Dimitri

    I applaud your rearguard brand of patriotism and the fact that there will indeed be homes which DO have their title deeds. However, in the majority of even THESE cases, there have invariably been many years of heartache and necessity to jump through a myriad of hoops in order to reach the Promised Land of Title Deed nirvana.

    The solution to all this is very clear and simple.

    A system has to be adopted (dare I say as per the U.K.?) whereby after ALL the thorough searches, the paperwork is completed and on the same day the purchaser of a property obtains the title deeds immediately or they’re lodged with the lender.

    But no. In Cyprus, jiggery-pokery and inefficiency rules. Why? Because nobody listens, learns or is humble enough to take advice and draw on the experience from other tried and tested formulae. Coupled with this is the underhand conspiracy to use as collateral the land upon which buyers have bought their homes. This, Dimitri, is the nub of the issue. Most, apart it seems from the ruling Cypriot elite comprising the judiciary, financial institutions and construction ‘industry’, would call this criminal and institutionalized theft.

    Successive Cypriot governments have condoned this evil state of affairs and they’re now being exposed for what they are, together with their ‘allies’ in the above mentioned organisations. THIS is why the property market is stone dead in Cyprus and not just because of the global economic situation. Unless these unacceptable practices are dispensed with, the market here will continue to be DEAD – regardless of the state of the economy. Period.

    Ultimately, the whole rotten edifice needs to be dismantled – with the current crop in the ruling classes the first port of call.

    Finally, allow me to put the title deed scandal in context.

    With approximately 130,000 homes currently without title deeds, this represents well over half the population of Cyprus who don’t LEGALLY own their properties. (We can safely assume that on average a family of 4 people live in one property). If you translate that to the U.K. with a population of 60 million, I’m sure I don’t have to spell out the numbers to you. If this situation happened there, or indeed in any other Western country, there would be riots in the streets and members of the government would be lynched. I rest my case.

  • Geo says:

    A analogy for the whole of the Cyprus property market!!

  • dimitri says:

    @Robert, good question, funny thing is alot of these civil engineers are graduates of UK universities (I personally know some from Cambridge and Manchester uni), but I doubt they are the culprits, it must be the ‘old heads’ as they say in Greek ……and skimping on the correct materials nobody will notice approach…..

    @Andrew, whilst I cannot condone either the banks or govt. or developers or land registry complicity in the housing market fiasco, you must confess there are some fine solid homes on the island and with all the relevant legal paperwork to accompany them and at a good price why not buy?, lets not tarnish all homes on the island….come on it’s not all bad ;)

  • Andrew says:

    What more can we expect when building permits and final completion certificates don’t get issued until many years after a buyer has purchased their home.

    This is just another example of why not to buy a property in Cyprus.

    When will the people in power ever learn?

  • Robert Briggs says:

    Glorious Greek civil engineering at its finest! How did these people manage to sire such men as Archimedes & Pythagoras?

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