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Title Deed problems resolved by new bills?

According to Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis the four bills recently approved by parliament will resolve the Island’s long-standing Title Deed problem.

Title Deed Gordian KnotSPEAKING at a news conference, Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis spoke of the progress made by his ministry over the past three years.

During his speech he made a particular reference to the “town planning amnesty” bills. These are the four bills that were recently approved by parliament to resolve what has come to be known as the “Title Deed-cum-fraud” mess that has blighted Cyprus’ once lucrative property market. (Deputies rejected a fifth bill amending the Island’s contract law).

According to Mr Sylikiotis “The approval by parliament of the four of the five bills will solve the Gordian knot for the thousands of title deeds that have been pending for years now.”

Although we have yet to receive a full assessment of the new laws, we understand that they do not address the most pressing problem; i.e. those who have been mislead into buying property built on land that the developer has previously mortgaged.

The new laws will give some relief for those whose properties suffer from minor planning infringements. But it appears that those with more pressing problems will get little comfort from the Interior Minister’s words.

Readers' comments

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  • andyp says:

    Thanks Steve but I think it is two months and luckily I am in possession of the house.

    How can I therefore register a contract after 2 months then I hear you ask.

    Lets just say my Lawyer made up a new one without my knowledge after the developer registered his mortgage. Dates changed, signatures changed even the currency I bought the house in was changed.

    Nearly two years I have been waiting on a Bar Association hearing notwithstanding that I have a letter from The Attorney General confirming that my case is worthy of investigation.

    Is she still trading? I believe so.

  • andyp says:

    @ Out of…/ Gavin Jones.

    It is certainly State condoned.

    What proof do I have? Well it has been nearly two years since my formal complaint to the Cyprus Bar and all I have to date is a letter from The Attorney General’s Office confirming that my case is worthy of investigation. Has a hearing taken place? No. Has she been suspended? No.

    God knows how many others have now been affected in the last two years by the same Lawyer.

    Obviously I am unable to name her on Nigel’s site but if you want a name feel free to send me a PM through the forum page… Internet trawlers will probably not be surprised at the name that comes back. You could all probably guessed anyway.

    If The Cyp Prop Prob is ever sorted there will still be no improvement in the market as buyers will not be able to trust their own lawyer. Sad but true.

  • Steve says:

    @Andy

    I’m not 100% sure about this, but I recall being advised that the signed contract of sale must be deposited with one month of signing for the regulation regarding Specific Performance to apply to the property. This may mean that the developer could sell it to someone else and if they were to register their agreement on time it would take precedence over yours.

  • dimitri says:

    AndyP, madness, this is all i can say for now…..I really want to wait and see what the laws actually say….and how they will be defended, as I don’t think being lumbered with a developer mortgage can be justified in any case, unless you were aware of the risk/mortgage and took on the house purchase with this in mind.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    @dimitri (11.20 a.m. yesterday).

    I echo andyp’s comment, namely that it’s up to the lawyer to make the searches: that’s why we employ them in the first place and trust their judgement and integrity. It is NOT up to “the purchaser to make all necessary searches”, as you put it. If the lawyer is crooked, then the regulatory authority should step in, strike him off and recompense the client. Please read my following comment which addresses the reality of the situation here in Cyprus.

    @andyp (5.14 p.m. yesterday).

    As I understand it, despite paying for your house in full, you were defrauded of legal ownership AND encumbered with somebody else’s debt as your house was used as collateral without your knowledge and consent.

    I also understand that the instrument of this fraud, the lawyer, is allowed to continue practising by the Attorney General and his acolytes in the Disciplinary Board of Advocates because they have singularly failed to address this criminality.

    With the track record of no lawyer EVER having been struck off in Cyprus, I suspect that any action being taken against your Paphite lawyer is exceedingly slim.

    In a word, what is being practised here is state sponsored corruption on a massive scale and nobody should have anything to do with this island as they’re more than likely to irrevocably damage their wealth and, more importantly, their health and peace of mind. Anybody reading this has been warned.

    As for the Interior Minister’s utterances about cutting the Gordian Knot vis-a-vis title deeds, I’ve nothing further to add to my earlier comment at 10.32 a.m. yesterday.

  • Mike says:

    What I find frightening is that I think the minister of the Interior actually believes what he is saying.

    It would appear to me that the title deed mess is still a mess and just one of the many pitfalls awaiting anyone purchasing a property. Try Water Board, Electricity Board, Land Registry each brings its own set of insurmountable problems – only solvable by payment of lots of money and then not always so.

    Whoever coined the term “throwing good money after bad” certainly had Cyprus in mind.

  • out of the frying pan into the fire says:

    Yep that’s right Bull Dung to con the masses . And if that don’t work, we have more Bull Dung. And if that does not work we have lawyers. You have insulted me I will sue you. Andyp is right, lawyer fraud is wide spread and appears to condoned by the state .

  • James JH Lockhart says:

    Yes Minister !!

  • andyp says:

    Dimitri. You are quite right in that developers do not have to tell you that they have mortgages outstanding but most of us relied on our Lawyers to do so. Just in case anyone is in doubt about that The Cyprus Supreme Court ruled that this is the case in 2009 if I am not mistaken.

    As a final warning to anyone considering buying here in my case there was NO mortgage on the land when I signed my house purchase contract.

    My Lawyer did not register my contract immediately, despite me having written confirmation from her that it had. Spookily my Developer registered his mortgage some months AFTER my contract date and BEFORE my contract was actually registered.

    No one can defend themselves from lies and deceit no matter how many enquiries you make before hand.

  • dimitri says:

    emailed a bundle of euro mps on this matter and am awaiting responses….deceit cannot go on like this, and whilst developers do not have to disclose the fact that they are selling property on previously mortgaged land….and it is up to purchaser to make all necessary searches, still does not make the practice legal especially as it makes toilet paper of the sales contract that you sign agreeing to purchase property x for amount y, only to find that to be the rightful owner and get deeds you need amount y + whatever developer owes to banks or local authorities in terms of immovable property tax etc….makes you wonder what the point of signing a sales agreement is?

  • Gavin Jones says:

    What a sad, deceitful and delusional place Cyprus has become: and it’s getting worse.

    It’s all smoke and mirrors, omissions and downright lies and there seems to be no end in sight to the utterances of the Interior Minister and his cronies in government. And as for his reference to the Gordian Knot, hardly apposite in the context of the achievements of the Macedonian conqueror.

    Add to this the multi-faceted contortions of ‘interested’ parties in the legal ‘profession’, construction ‘industry’ and financial ‘fraternity’ and you have a dizzying cocktail of conspiracy and deception on a massive scale.

    On and on it goes, gloriously without end, and do they honestly believe that such chicanery will wash with the likes of MEPs, let alone mere ignorant mortals like us?

    The state’s ongoing, nefarious attempt at extracting monies from people can be seen in today’s Sunday Mail, and I refer specifically to the editor’s choice letter entitled ‘Fighting a state-sponsored fleecing’. This institutionalized wheeze (criminality?) is yet another in a long line and I wonder what other fantastical schemes they’re likely to cook up next.

    As I and other have said before, how can the EU seriously allow a state such as Cyprus, which openly flouts international laws and condones the defrauding of thousands of people by certain vested interests, have the EU Presidency in 2012?

  • Martyn says:

    Pre-election gobbledegook! And does the average Cypriot really know or care about this issue anyway. I think not.

  • andyp says:

    Dear Mr Sylikiotis. Champion of the people. Well done for sorting all that out.

    Oh. By the way. I still seem unable to sell my house due to an outstanding developer mortgage of 64,000 (cyp) which I new nothing about. Could you explain to me and others how you have been so triumphant in cutting this “Gordian knot” and freeing the masses from The Cyp Prop Prob?

    Perhaps I just missed something.

    Regards

  • Peter G Davis says:

    “Title Deed problems resolved by new bills?”

    As I used to say to my law students,

    “just you saying it’s so, don’t make it so” –

    (Huckleberry Finn in Tom Sawyer)

  • @Andrew – let us not forget that the Cypriot parliamentary elections are being held next month.

  • Andrew says:

    It appears that the Minister is either toeing the party line or is deluded.

    Let us hope that our many MEPs are not convinced, in the same way that we are not.

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