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Ball starts rolling on Title Deeds

Following the recently announced passage through parliament of the ‘town planning amnesty bills’, the Cypriot authorities expect to complete an evaluation of properties affected by the end of this month.

A LARGE number of property owners will soon have their much-desired Title Deeds, as authorities launch procedures to implement the recently passed town-planning amnesty laws.

The head of the Land Registry Office, Andreas Christodoulou, yesterday announced that his department was expected to conclude an evaluation on a list of properties by the end of this month, which will allow owners of properties with small discrepancies to acquire their deeds.

“We will move forward with evaluating the value of the properties in each area, so that they can be published in the order that will be issued by the Interior Minister,” said Christodoulou.

“We will submit our evaluations per area by the end of May and based on the law that was recently passed by parliament, the Interior Minister will issue an order, which will determine the amounts that each person will be called to pay, depending on the discrepancy,” he explained.

For the first six months after the order has been issued, applications for town-planning amnesty will be submitted by property owners who are facing problems having their Title Deeds issued.

Specially appointed committees will examine each application and depending on the discrepancy, they will determine the price that will have to be paid by the applicant to have deeds issued.

According to Christodoulou, there are currently over 120,000 properties without deeds – belonging to local as well as foreign buyers – while on average, around 10,500 new applications for Title Deeds are submitted each year.

Editor comment

THIS is excellent news for those who are unable to obtain Title Deeds due to minor planning infringements, but questions remain on the length of time it will take the authorities to issue the deeds.

In 2010, the Land Registries issued and transferred Title Deeds for a total of 13,701 properties. This was an improvement on the 2009 figure of 11,444.

Assuming that the productivity of the Land Registries and other departments involved in the process of producing Title Deeds can be increased so that 20,000 a year can be transferred and the figure of 10,500 new applications each year remains constant, it is going to take around 12 years to clear the backlog.

Moreover, figures have yet to published on how many deeds are held up due to planning infringements and how many are held up due to more serious problems, such as developer mortgages.

Readers' comments

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  • James JH Lockhart says:

    I have come to the conclusion after so many years suffering that the only way to deal with these people ie President down lawyers, CBA, Ministers etc

    Is just to laugh at them and there antics they produce laws they themselves do not understand, they cannot reply to letters emails etc. anybody who points the truth/facts to them will get the dreaded We will take legal action against you.

    So Just Laugh at them !!!

  • @John Swift – The law does not include a definition of “small discrepancies”.

    I guess it will be a bit like breaking the speed limit – the faster you go, the more you pay (or in this case, the greater the discrepancy, the more you pay).

    Similarly, the law does not state at what level the fines have been set.

    But it should be the registered owner of the property who should pay any fines; not those who have bought and are waiting for deeds.

  • Andrew says:

    I agree. Do not pay one cent more. You have paid once for your home.

    When the banks try to start evicting people from their homes, we should all literally stand together and prevent them from doing so.

  • John Swift says:

    ” which will allow owners of properties with small discrepancies to acquire their deeds”

    So what exactly does that mean like how small or what is a small discrepancy.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    It seems like everyone on this thread shares the same view: this is an exercise in extracting more money from us (amounts to be decided by special committees) and will not solve the backlog of deeds to be issued as planning infringements are not the only charges registered against the property.

    Even if we do pay this Building Irregularities Tax (for that it what it is), deeds cannot be transferred until all IPT, VAT and CGT are paid, developers’ mortgages (with their penal interest rates of up to approx 13%, which means the debt DOUBLES after 5 and a bit years), possible connection of services fees, possible access roads etc fees, possible fees to finish off the complex (as the developer has not paid in full the army of workmen who built the complex), the architect who won’t finish the planning application until he’s paid, then at the end, an inflated figure for Transfer Tax (please see “State-sponsored fleecing” article) and I’m sure one or two other nice little earners that we cannot even contemplate yet!

    I am 100% sure, even though I have no proof of this whatsoever, that we will be allowed to appeal ALL the above so we can be in and out of the Cypriot courts for years. I have a strong suspicion that this is the intention…

    I like the comment from Peter that there is a payback agenda against the Brits and from Vlachos that TPTB in this little ole’ island think they are considerably brighter than us and as we’ve been suckered into the situation we’re in, so far they have been.

    However, we know that if a developer has taken out a 60% loan on our property (probably at its highest value) and over 5 years, his debt has doubled (ignoring the fact that the property has gone down in value and not taking into account all the above fees and taxes we have to pay), his mortgage is now 20% MORE than the value of our properties.

    Obviously the Cypriot authorities will not tell us all that we have to pay now as no-one would. If they tell us piecemeal that “once we’ve paid this one, we’ll get our deeds”, we will pay. Then pay again. Then pay again. Then (I think we all get it now).

    As others have said (me included!) DON’T PAY A PENNY MORE. Not in anything. Hit them where it hurts and they may take notice. Pay anything and they’ll believe they can get away with anything.

  • Dee says:

    Invoices for the building infringements should be going to the developer, not the long-suffering buyer!

    What puzzles me is why they think we are going to be over-the-moon about these latest ideas for getting intransigent developers off the hook! Meanwhile, they are going to ‘re-value’ said properties so the buyer can be squeezed for a few more €s on Transfer, and – later via capital gains.

    Wonderful news isn’t it.

  • Vlachos the Impaler says:

    @Peter. Yes, there are an awful lot of choriatiki dum-dums involved in this giant conspiracy – and I am including all those up there in the government. But they all imagine that they are CONSIDERABLY brighter than all the rest of us put together. Well, let the next 2 years pan out. Get all deposits and excess cash out of here pronto!! Sauve qui peut.

  • Kufrahdog says:

    ‘Specially appointed committees will examine …they will determine the price that will have to be paid by the applicant to have the deeds issued.’ By what criteria will the committees make their judgements? Will the applicants have the right of appeal? Why should an applicant, who has already paid the contracted full market price of a property, be forced to pay an additional amount because a committee determines the original price was too low? How likely is it that a committee would determine that the original price was too high? (Not very likely, as such an approach would not be a revenue raising mechanism).

    Does it mean that when applicants come to sell their properties they will be faced with inflated capital gains? All of these measures are oppressive and unfair and call into question the fitness of the Cyprus government to hold the rotating presidency of the EU. I for one will be writing to my MP, MEP, Prime Minister and the appropriate EU Commissioner requesting that these issues should be investigated and, where found corrupt, oppressive and unfair, put right.

  • Peter says:

    @ dimitri

    What I have long suspected is that much of the actions in the deed fiasco is deliberate. The Cypriot Government see itself as a multi-national player, but they have a payback agenda against the British. What they don’t understand is their market is based on the British and when they leave the Island for good they take their wealth with them.

    So who has the last laugh?

    When unemployment grows and they have to return to the land the next generation will leave the Island. Fields around us that have remained fallow for years have already been return to cultivation. As sign of the times, perhaps?

  • Andrew says:

    Specially appointed committees will examine each application and depending on the discrepancy, they will determine the price that will have to be paid by the applicant to have deeds issued”

    DON’T YOU JUST LOVE THEM.

    You wait for years and then they decide how much you have to pay. They should be paying compensation for all the pain, suffering and misery they have caused.

    What about developer mortgages. Oh obviously , we can pay that also.

    Where was all this in the contract that you lodged with land registry?.

  • andyp says:

    Good for you Dimitri.

    Whilst I welcome anything that will help anyone get their title deeds asap I wonder how many of these planning blighted properties are burdened by a developers mortgage and as such will still not get their deeds.

    In my view The Government will not get it’s anticipated swelling of coffers through these proposals nor are many likely to be set free from this fiasco.

  • CAB says:

    What a pro-active government does in a crisis!

    “Spanish government urge Brits to buy property in Spain
    British investors and prospective holiday home buyers seeking a home abroad should look no further than Spain, where there are a host of bargain priced homes for sale, according to the Spanish government.”

    http://www.aplaceinthesun.com/news/feature/tabid/131/EntryId/857/Spanish-government-urge-Brits-to-buy-property-in-Spain.aspx

    how the spanish government are reacting to the housing problems after acknowledging their problems!

  • dimitri says:

    Considering that Cyprus will have to stream line public services or else Europe will start shouting, and I guess this will impact the land registry people, it may well take longer to get deeds.

    Also on a another note regarding the total shelving of concerns of those trapped by developer mortgages, last night on the NTV television station there were prospective political candidates looking for votes and accepting questions from would be voters. I sent a question in English, this threw them off, and they laughed but they read it out, and they never even had the decency to respond. So I have taken this further and emailed Mr. Sizopoulous and am about to do the same with the other guests….

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Nigel Howarth (Editor).

    The simple calculation that it will take at least 12 years to clear the backlog is indeed a daunting prospect and what with the Land Registry’s track record, I suspect that even this is probably far too optimistic.

    Your final paragraph is the key, namely “…and how many are held up due to more serious problems, such as developer mortgages.”

    Urgently needed transparency from the Interior Minister is required on this key issue and, more importantly, what is he and the government he represents going to do about it? Or are the sops in the form of the latest bills the final word on the subject?

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