MEP Alyn Smith has warned Scots not to buy property in Cyprus at all after receiving a flood of complaints from constituents about their dealings in the country.
From the complaints he has received, Smith has drawn the conclusion that Cyprus has a particular problem with dubious property deals and the Cypriot authorities have clearly dragged their feet on resolving the thousands of outstanding cases.
An estimated 40,000 overseas buyers are awaiting formal legal ownership of their properties, despite having paid in full for the property and received the keys. Title Deeds, which are officially referred to as “Certificates of Registration of Immovable Property”, are the most important evidence of property ownership, but with so few people receiving the documents after paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for houses and apartments, confidence from potential buyers is at an all time low.
Last year, Smith raised a question in the European Parliament on the subject of Cypriot legal and property rights.
Smith has also written to Demetris Christofias, the President of Cyprus, asking for his assistance in this matter and had suggested that the President may wish to consider establishing a foreign investor advice service, or an impartial ombudsman to assist in such cases. After 2 letters and 6 months Smith has never heard a word back from the Cypriot President, and now advises Scots considering buying property in Cyprus to look elsewhere.
“Buying property abroad to live, work or retire is one of your key freedoms of EU citizenship, and many folk have a great time and good luck to them. However, it can go wrong, and folk need to be prepared and take proper advice.
“Problems are clearly on the rise, and a lot of folk have clearly signed up to deals that aren’t half as good as they looked. Loads of folk have come to me for help and some stories of exploitation and fraud are pretty hair-raising but the fact is there is little I or anyone else can do. There can be dodgy property deals anywhere, but as with deals at home asking the right questions in advance can save a lot of heartache later so the guide might save some folk some problems.
“I’m afraid I have concluded Cyprus has a particular problem, and I think people should steer clear of the place. I contacted the Cypriot President to try and resolve some of these problems and I did not even get a response, and I’m just not convinced the Cypriot authorities are treating this with any urgency at all.”
Read Euan Duguid article in the Sunday Post – Cyprus property deals leave Scots facing ruin