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Government planning amnesty bulletin: part 4

We look at the Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) law in our fourth and final article on the Interior Ministry’s bulletin about the recently approved bills designed to alleviate problems in issuing Title Deeds as a result of planning infringements.

IN THE final article in our series of articles about the Cyprus Interior Ministry’s bulletin outlining the key features of the recently approved planning amnesty bills, we look at the provisions of the Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) (Amended) Law 2011.

Download the full text of the Interior Ministry’s Town Planning Amnesty Bulletin containing details of the legislation for the modernisation of procedures for the licensing of development, the legalising of specified irregularities in existing buildings & the issuance of updated Title Deeds for developments.

The immovable property (tenure, registration & valuation) law

  1. An application for an updated title deed is submitted by the registered owner of the property, even if a planning permit or a building permit has expired. Documents submitted with the application are listed in the relevant application form.
  2. If the registered owner of the property neglects to apply for the issue of an updated title, the Director of the Department of Lands and Surveys may decide, depending on the time that has elapsed since the diversification of the ownership, the extent or the scope of the diversification and the number of the persons affected, to issue the title or titles, either following an application by a person with a vested interest with respect to the property, or without any application. In such cases, the Director may impose an administrative fine on the owner who fails to act on his own initiative.
  3. If the Building Authority issues a certificate of approval with notes or a certificate of unauthorised works, the updated title may be issued with notes recording the irregularities or prohibiting the transfer of the property to another person. Inevitably, such notes will affect the value of the property.
  4. A note or a prohibition may be cancelled at a later stage, provided that the irregularities in the building are legalised or removed.

Important note

The contents of this Bulletin do not in any way replace texts of the Town and Country (Amended) Law 2011, the Streets and Buildings Regulation (Amended) Law 2011 and the Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) (Amended) Law 2011. In case of contradiction between the contents of the Bulletin and these Laws, legislation takes precedence over this text.

Readers' comments

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  • andyp says:

    I think it is all just a little too late for Cyprus. No guarantees for buyers and no help for victims. Just an opportunity for Advocates, Developers and Banks to do what they do!

    Having just watched a broadcast of Newsnight there was a Greek economist commenting on their situation and a German one( The country that stumps up the most euros). What did the Greek one want? More money, nothing else. Nothing in return. Typical or what (not being racist just realist)? What did the German bloke say? One more time then probably nothing.

    Cyprus aligns itself with Greece but not vice versa. But there are similarities obviously. Coat tails really. Those that have just want more. I trust the German economist is right.

    Might as well bring the whole lot down and get it over with as we will never see change otherwise.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    My last comment seems to have instigated an interesting and healthy debate.

    Whilst not directly related to the subject matter of the article, nevertheless it may assist those whose experience with the island’s “artful ways” need beefing up in order to better understand how and why the title deeds scandal has come to pass.

    Both Alan and Odd_Job_Bob make valid points. My allusion to the teeth implants was, dare I say it, somewhat tongue in cheek (Ugh!) and I’m sure that deep down the majority of human beings DO know the difference between right and wrong. Having said that, my experiences here do sometimes stretch my own belief systems regarding this premise.

    Another old chestnut that’s regularly rolled out in Cyprus as some sort of apology for unacceptable behaviour is the instant retort that “it’s the same elsewhere”. As we know, this is indeed the case. However, that’s where the comparison ends. Corruption and general wrongdoing viz. MPs (expenses scandal in UK), lawyers, businessmen and others in positions of authority, are rooted out, exposed and sentences commensurate with the gravity of the crimes are meted out. THAT is the the difference and until and unless this Western morality is adopted here, the current regimen will quite happily stumble along, thus rubber stamping the flouting of the law as being as ‘normal’ and acceptable a practice as brushing one’s teeth.

    Finally, different attitudes take centuries to take root and history tells me that in Cyprus these will be adopted but I suspect that we’ll be long gone before any meaningful changes will not only be enshrined in the law but also enforced.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Despite some of his earlier comments (I could say all but that’s not the point here), I completely agree with Gavin Jones last post. I reckon we are all pretty much in agreement with the levels of corruption here.

    However, please read this: http://www.democracymovementsurrey.co.uk/dyk_waste.html

    The bit that strikes me THE MOST is this:

    German magazine Der Speigel (27 Aug 2007): “There are currently 400 investigative procedures pending against EU officials. The Commission claims that corruption is no more widespread in Brussels than anywhere else, but the budget expert for the German CDU in the European Parliament, Inge Grassle, describes this view as “laughable”. The magazine quotes UK MEP Daniel Hannan (we know him! Please see article on this forum “MEP calls for Cyprus fact-finding mission”, dated 12 June 2010) as saying “If the European Commission were a company, all the commissioners would be in prison”.

    The entire European Commission, led by Jaques Santer, had to resign after an EU Committee of Independent Experts reported evidence of administrative failure, financial irregularities and nepotism. It found that millions of pounds worth of funds from the humanitarian aid office had disappeared, while no accounts were available for some £17 billion in structural aid projects. The report gave details of fraudulently altered tender specifications, inflated fees, illegal payments, open fraud, evasion of tax and social security obligations, paid personnel who could not be accounted for, and a pervasive sub-culture of petty graft, favouritism and criminality.

    The Dutch official who reported the fraud to the Commission was promptly suspended from his post and subjected to disciplinary action. This action led to his dismissal”.

    And this differs from Cyprus how?

  • Alan Waring says:

    I don’t share the absolutist view of Gavin that no Cypriot knows the difference between right and wrong and have said so in published articles and letters. Such hyperbole, while stimulating, can undermine a valid argument. However, I do share the view that there are hard-core concentrations of ‘chancers’ in particular sectors such as developers, law firms and banks (see Fighting the Chancer Culture at http://www.dralanwaring-riskconsultants.com/?p=676 and http://www.financialmirror.com). The ‘what can we get away with?’ attitude has even been cited recently as a major problem by senior figures at a joint meeting of the Cyprus Institute of Directors and the Institute of Risk Management.

    The ‘ what can we get away with?’ culture extends into the state administration, where examples are legion – from the wilful refusal to replace the current Title Deeds monster with a simple, sane system that other countries have to Land Registry officials accused of falsifying property values to gain extra Transfer Tax. Gavin has cited yet other examples. While some are faintly amusing e.g. the Deputy AG’s teeth, overall the chancer culture signifies an abject lack of governance, whether in company boardrooms or government ministries.

    Poor governance can arise from sheer incompetence or it can be wilful or a combination of the two. Is it dumb or artful, or dumb and artful?

  • Gavin Jones says:

    I would like to add a postscript to my comments yesterday at 10.09 p.m. which I feel encapsulates the essence of life in Cyprus.

    At almost all levels, there tends to be a total denial and basic understanding of what is right or wrong; boundaries concerning this most basic, behavioural choice simply do not exist. It’s more a question of trying it on in the expectant hope that more than likely one will get away with any kind of wheeze and even if you are caught, the offence will be quashed by a relative/friend in authority or else the punishment will be derisory. THIS is the reality. Classic examples of this are as follows: no action taken against the Deputy AG over the teeth implant scandal; no lawyers are struck off for negligence or fraud; policemen are reinstated despite being convicted of beating two students to a pulp; a lawyer is given a presidential pardon and let out of jail despite numerous traffic violations. The list is endless.

    In the vanguard of this criminality are the actions of the developers, lawyers (yet again) and banks concerning the title deeds scandal.

    And make no mistake, all the above ARE criminal but because of the in-built acceptance of wrongdoing, the island will never pull itself out its moral bankruptcy.

  • dimitri says:

    @Gavin Jones and costas apacket, thanks, I will give them (people employed specifically answer amnesty related queries) a weeks rest and try them again….same questions see if I get the same answers….people need to know

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Hi Gavin,

    I agree fully with both you and Dimitri and my last email was just to bring to the attention of readers of this column that other groups including NGO’s and organisations such as accessinfocyprus.eu are doing sterling work to open up the Cypriot Governmental System to ordinary Citizens.

    The “Right of Access to Information in Cyprus” project is an EU-funded initiative that aims at advancing the right to know in both the northern and southern parts of the island of Cyprus.

    The project responds to a generalized lack of information in Cyprus about the latest European and global developments on the right of access to information. It aims to stimulate civic action to improve government transparency and foster citizen participation.

    It seems like a good start and I recommend that everyone should follow the link below,read the full content of the consultation document and also complete the feedback form thereby lending your voice to helping to change the ‘closed shop’ mentality that currently exists in Cyprus.

    http://www.accessinfocyprus.eu

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Costas Apacket (2.06 p.m.).

    At 3.40 p.m. on 10th. June, dimitri commented on this article that he risked being stoned for his views. Nevertheless, he went ahead. A clear case of publish and be damned.

    I too shall endeavour to confront certain issues head-on and explain why nothing will change – despite the erudite “Findings” and “Recommendations” you’ve laid out below. Perhaps my conclusions will be too ‘rich’ for some but here goes and trust that I too won’t be “stoned”.

    Firstly, Hermes Solomon, who as many of you know, has a weekly column in the Sunday Mail, wrote in one of his articles about how things are done here in Cyprus. One of his expressions when describing these methods was “artful ways”. This to me was a euphemism for downright crookery but to some doubtless had a certain ring of quaintness about it. (Try telling that to the thousands who’ve been duped by developers and lawyers with the standard wining and dining ploy prior to softening them up to the financial coup de grace).

    I think that Hermes is right. The way of doing business in Cyprus is “artful” and has retained as its mainstay the mores of the village. I regret to say that although the government and many Cypriots aspire to be European in outlook, the reverse is nearer the truth and no amount of spin is going to massage the reality – and certainly not in the next 50 years.

    Secondly, and more controversially, I’m afraid that the antics as witnessed here are the result of a closed society which thrives on favours (the ‘rusfeti’ that’s so often bandied about) and built-in corruption. In one sense this is almost inevitable, this stranglehold only being broken if the next generations embrace Western thought concerning transparency and fair play. Many thousands of Cypriots go abroad to study (many to the U.K.), but all to often they slot back into the same old tribal alliance mentality as soon as they return to the fold.

    In conclusion, as I’ve commented here and elsewhere, everyone has gone through all the accepted channels of meetings with Ministers, courts, developers, websites such this in order to let off steam, etc. The current Cypriot regime will not change course any-time soon – and certainly not now with the current meltdown in Greece to which the island is hugely exposed.

    As I see it, the EU is the only medium where some sort of salvation can be obtained and I sincerely hope that it won’t be wanting.

  • dimitri says:

    @AnneDee, when it suits ‘them’ they say they are European and when it doesn’t they say wish they never joined the EU, all I can say do is laugh/cringe at the narrow minded egotistic reality of many in Cyprus, just as I did when I went to the Limassol port wc’s and saw signs everywhere on the walls that said : do not throw papers into the toilet, we are Europeans. Hmmmm I thought life in Cyprus will be interesting.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Further to my previous post please see the draft report and recommendations for information:

    Anyone recognise the truth in these findings at all?

    ONE
    Finding: The right of access to information is guaranteed in constitutional provisions on freedom of expression but the legal framework is seriously flawed, with no law on access to information in the south and a law that falls below Council of Europe standards in the north.

    Recommendation: Bring the legal framework into line with the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents, including by adopting an access to information law in the south and/or reforming all relevant legislation in the north/south.

    TWO
    Finding: Systematic violations of the fundamental right of access to information island-wide with 75% administrative silence in response to requests for information.

    Recommendation: The government should ensure that the public authorities respond to requests by providing comprehensive information within a reasonable time frame. To this effect they should adopt the necessary legal mechanisms and train all officials in the public‟s right to know.

    THREE
    Finding: Three quarters of people in Cyprus believe that they have a right of access to information according to the Opinion Survey conducted under this project. Only around one in three respondents agree that public authorities in Cyprus are open and trustworthy. Over half of respondents stated that, in practice, access to key documents is not possible.

    Recommendation: In addition to ensuring that there are access to information laws which function in practice, the government has an obligation to inform the public of their right of access to information, including through public education campaigns on how to file requests, how to appeal refusals and silence, and where to find proactively published information.

    FOUR
    Finding: Many public bodies do not appear to have information officers nor to have provided full contact information on their websites or in other public materials.

    Recommendation: Ensure that in each public body there is an official responsible for responding to the public‟s requests for information and for the proactive publication of key classes of information. Ensure that full contact information for this person is published.

    FIVE
    Finding: There is no Information Commissioner or similar body responsible for oversight of the right to information and for receiving complaints from members of the public. In the north the Access to Information Assessment Commission foreseen by the law has not been appointed.

    Recommendation: Ensure that the future access to information law in the south establishes an Information Commissioner fully empowered to promote and protect the right of access to information. Appoint the Access to Information Assessment Commission in the north and give it full powers to enforce the law.

    SIX
    Finding: The research found very poor levels of proactive publication on the websites of public authorities. Monitoring of 20 public bodies across the island found that in the south only 36% and in the north only 13% of core classes of information were available. Information is usually available in only one language.

    Recommendation: Ensure full proactive publication of information about the structure, policies, functioning, and budget of each public body is available in multiple languages. The information should be presented in a way that is comprehensible to members of the general public, and should be published both on websites and using other media.

    SEVEN
    Finding: The websites of public bodies particularly lack financial information such as projected budgets and actual expenditure, details of public procurement processes being run by that public authority and updated information on contracts issued. This was confirmed in interviews with civil society organisations.

    Recommendation: A particular effort should be made to ensure the publication of key financial information on the websites of each public authority. This information should be comprehensive and detailed. It is essential for the fight against corruption that public procurement, subsidy, and contracting processes are fully transparent.

    EIGHT
    Finding: There is a lack of information about public consultations which indicates that there is a very low level of involvement of members of the public in public decision making across the island. This was confirmed, in particular, in the interviews conducted with civil society representatives.

    Recommendation: There is a need to open the doors of government to the public, including by establishing frequent public participation mechanisms throughout the policy making process. Information about the opportunities to engage in decision making should be widely publicised including via public body websites, ensuring that all necessary background information is made available.

    I think the above goes to the nub of what most Cypriot Citizens and non Cypriots recognise, and why there is such political apathy in Cyprus.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Hi Dimitri, and many thanks for your valuable input & efforts.

    I think the recent report, into the lack of transparency coupled with a lack of any meaningful assistance provided by any Civil Servants in Cyprus, which was completed by the organisations: Access Info Europe, EU Cyprus Association (KAB) and IKME doesn’t bode well for any of us who need some factual and useful information about anything in Cyprus.

    Most of us who have been trying to find out what stage our planning process is up to or when our Title Deeds will be issued will be quite familiar with the totally useless ‘service’ provided by most Governmental departments in Cyprus.

    Their shocking report can be found at:

    http://www.accessinfocyprus.eu

    See more in today’s Cyprus Mail

  • dimitri says:

    @all, thanks for the comments I try my best, can someone (two or three) perhaps call 22806400 (as I have done so 3 times) and see if the persons on the end of 22806400 speak any English?

    Then blast them with the questions pertaining to the amnesty laws? The lady on the line (called Frosso) is very helpful (left message for her and she called back!).The fella alas is very defensive, perhaps if they do speak English and there is co-ordinated set of questions by various readers of the posts here, we will get answers as per pros and cons of whether a purchaser should opt to take action via the specific performance route, the amnesty route or no action at all….and especially on the point of developer debts..someone must have the authority to say for sure what actually applies? I really feel for all those stuck in this mess, lack of clear guidelines is what the problem is.

  • Another point to bear in mind is that the laws have yet to be translated into English – all we have at the moment is what is contained in the bulletin – and I know for a fact that there are some other notable points to ponder.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Good. In broad terms, we all seem to agree that the Cypriot establishment is riddled with corruption and criminality on a vast scale.

    Echoing Robert, the next step is to flush out the EU and see whether or not this so-called august body has any intention of righting institutionalized robbery by a member of its club.

  • Robert Briggs says:

    Does this so called “legislation” contravene the EU’s “Unfair Commercial Practices Directive”?

    If so, we will see if the EU is fit for purpose, protecting the rights of the Property Buyer in Cyprus & the like.

  • Steve says:

    I saw a mention of unpaid taxes in a posting below. I thought things could not get much worse but apparently they can. According to newly implemented changes in immigration regulations the possession of the yellow residents permit is now a prerequisite for claiming back tax of any form, which includes the immovable property tax that developers levy on their buyers before transfer of title deeds and which used to be reclaimable if no tax was actually due. If I understand correctly, tax can be levied because the builder pays tax on the value of all the properties comprising his portfolio. It seems that those of us without permits will be paying immovable property tax without means to recover any of it.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    My Regional MEP’s have all agreed to countersign sign the letters being sent by Daniel Hannan to Viviane Reding and David Cameron, plus we’ve sent off our personal complaints to VR as well.

    We all need to keep up this pressure because, unfortunately, the Cypriot Government and those with whom they collude, are not about to look after our interests above those of their arrogant and artful buddies.

    I hear you O_J_B,and I tend to agree with some of your suspicions, but I’m continuing to believe that Justice will prevail in the end!!!

  • James JH Lockhart says:

    @Odd Job Bob

    I personally cannot disagree with you, Cut the flow of Money to them, I think We all been doing the best we can using Forums, Word of Mouth MPs/MEPs etc

    I myself are off the opinion that we got to get the Crooked into Mainland European Courts I regard them as common Criminals who should face there just deserts.

    The Cypriot Authorities/Courts use all there delaying tactics Adjournments, strange Judges decisions, AG rulings property fraud a civil matter all in the Hope that the delays, Even the Supreme Court takes years is all planned hoping the Victim dies/gives up.

  • mikey be says:

    @Odd_Job_Bob

    That’s really depressing, but probably the best summary seen to date.

    The new legislation is good because it at least moves things forward, even if not in the right direction we would prefer.

    HOWEVER, whatever legislation is introduced, just how much attention to it do you think would be paid by the courts if it meant that would be detrimental to their paymasters, ie the developers? We’ve already seen how the courts ‘interpret’ existing legislation when it appears to be in favour of the purchaser!

  • Gavin Jones says:

    @Odd_Job_Bob.

    When I read your first paragraph, I could almost detect a universal groan in the ether along the lines of “he’s come out of the woodwork and off he goes again”!

    However, I for one was pleasantly surprised and by the end of your submission breathed a sigh of relief.

    The new legislation is certainly proof that the Cypriot regime is steeped in corruption from top to bottom – not that we needed further confirmation.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Without wishing to flirt with controversy (actually, not true, I kinda like controversy!) I think this legislation is a GOOD thing.

    No, seriously.

    Many people have said, on this very forum and elsewhere for all good and well-meaning reasons, that abandoning hope with regards to obtaining a fair and just settlement is defeatist, cowardly and unnecessarily drastic. People have also said, again with all the good intentions in the world, that by going through the conventional channels (using Cyprus solicitors, demonstrations, writing to MPs, MEPs, UK government, Cyprus government, EU etc) we will eventually prevail in our quest to obtain something (title deeds) that we have already paid for.

    Even more have completely ruled out drastic, non-conventional action (trying to starve the system here of the money it is desperately seeking from Proper Rich Foreigners in terms of bigger Ponzi scams like marinas a-go-go, tallest Hamleys designed (it must be!) nonsense in the world, ugliest statue/building/golf course etc).

    Slowly, over the last coupla months, the postings to this forum are a-changin’. More and more people are realising that we are caught in a well(ish) orchestrated pincer movement by a thoroughly corrupt system and that no just resolution will ever materialise (as it’s not actually being sought…).

    We know that the main reason we can’t get our deeds is that the developer has a big, fat, the amount of which is undisclosed, mortgage against our property. We know he has loads of debts against it as well, some to the government in unpaid taxes, some to his architect/ surveyor (and various other people involved in the construction process) so they won’t finish the development/ planning application etc unless they get more money. A teeny-weeny part of the reason we can’t get our deeds is that the developer has built some stuff illegally (extra space, building on the intended green bit of a development etc). The only one of these that the new legislation attempts to tackle is the last one and, as many have concluded from the legislation, the developer walks scot free and we have to pick up the tab for his misdemeanours. We also have the option of going after him through the courts (using the very same people who created this situation in the first place! Nice…) More importantly though, THERE ARE NO PROPOSALS MADE TO STOP ANY OF THIS HAPPENING AGAIN.

    I know it makes people pig-sick to consider that the money they have paid into a property here is lost and to some (I have an old couple near to me who I am sure that the sheer injustice and total betrayal by the system, as well as the emotional and financial costs of having to abandon the retirement home into which they have put their life savings) will probably kill them.

    Many simply CANNOT STOMACH that this is a deliberate strategy from top to bottom and (understandably) cling onto the hope that a solution to this “mess” will be found in the end.

    It is impossible to take the drastic action I consider necessary to make this government sit up and listen (even though they never will – too much vested interest) if we feel there IS a way out.

    This new legislation should finally leave none in any doubt.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Hi Nigel,

    So the Government authorities are saying to the Developers: ‘Right, you’ve all been very naughty boys, so we’re going to let you off this time, and then we’re going to put…Nothing…in place to prevent all this happening again!’

    Pathetic!

    By the way, when you say: “The Building Authority is empowered to impose administrative fines on owners who fail or are unwilling to apply for a certificate of approval or to legalise the building”, I don’t consider myself an ‘owner’ because there aren’t any Title Deeds in my name, or is this where the new Specific Performance changes will have a sting in the tail?

  • AnnDee says:

    Regarding Nigel’s reply to Dimitri; the committee who formulated the proposals to the House of Reptiles was made up of all the interested bodies. No consumers or their representatives were invited. It wasn’t independent so how could we ever assume that their opinion would be less than biased in favour of saving their own skins.

    How many times must the innocent purchaser have to pay out for the wrongdoings of others. Surely this new amnesty must be against the principles of natural justice and Cyprus should be reported to the EU on that basis. The EU is meant to be civilised, but when a person has paid in full for his property why should he have to pay for the illegalities and debts of the developers as well. I hope everybody caught in this trap says an overwhelming NO and just sit tight.

    This is a government blackmail.

  • @Costas Apacket – The ‘amnesty’ is a one-off exercise enabling some planning irregularities to be ‘legalised’.

    As far as I can see from the bulletin, there are no systems to prevent future misdemeanours. However, under the Streets and Buildings Regulation law “The Building Authority is empowered to impose administrative fines on owners who fail or are unwilling to apply for a certificate of approval or to legalise the building”.

    As you will see in my comment at 1:30 today, buyers can apply under the temporary provisions of Town & Country Planning law to have current infringements legalised. And then they can pursue the developer to recover their costs through the court.

    The problem is that authorised English-language translations of the law are not available, so we are having to rely on the bulletin that the Interior Ministry has produced for the information.

    As you will see below, Dimitri has spoken with the Interior Ministry and it would seem that the bulletin contains a certain degree of political ‘spin’.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    The word ‘amnesty’ suggests that past ills and misdemeanours regards building irregularities are going to be pardoned or excused as a one off exercise, but what systems or processes have been put into place to prevent further irregularities or misdemeanours in future?

    Are we going to have a situation where there is an renewable and ongoing ‘amnesty’ process forever?

    If the Government is not going to go after the Developers themselves with fines and penalties for any misdemeanours and is expecting the Consumer to do the dirty work on their behalf, how effective is this legislation going to be in altering the Developer MO and thereby preventing future issues?

    The systems proposed are, as always, complicated and weighted heavily in favour of Developers and their Lawyer buddies.

    I think more significant will be the forthcoming changes to specific performance legislation, especially where Developer mortgages exist.

    I look forward to this legislation being revealed and your critique, Nigel.

  • James JH Lockhart says:

    @Kufrahdog

    I think the only course off action is to give the legislation to the EU Commissioners and see if they can understand it.

    I think many off us are totally baffled at it including the people in the Interior Ministry, so the judges will also be in the same boat.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Nigel Howarth.

    Whilst everyone who’s been caught up in this minefield of an institutionalized scandal eagerly awaits your ‘critique’, like most others, I’m not waiting with bated breath for a positive evaluation.

    As we’ve witnessed for far too long in this cynically engineered and long running title deeds’ saga, there’s a common denominator: the government (many ministers are lawyers), Parliament (the majority are lawyers), Judiciary (by definition exclusively lawyers), practising lawyers, developers and banks (both the latter employ armies of lawyers in-house and externally). All roads lead to the legal ‘profession’ and it’s from THIS trough of iniquity that this little lot emanates.

    As far as I’m concerned, a pox on all of them.

    Without wishing to pre-empt your deliberations and final summary, I think we already know your conclusions.

    dimitri.

    Thank you once again for your efforts. Invaluable.

    If they do attempt to “stone” you, phone me and I’ll come to your aid. Being half Cypriot, I’ll shout some choice Greek words in their direction to stop them in their tracks.

  • Kufrahdog says:

    Thank you, Nigel, for relaying the Planning Amnesty Bulletin and allowing comments from readers – collectively all very helpful stuff. When writing your critique, would you please consider commenting on the pros and cons of whether a purchaser should opt to take action via the specific performance route, the amnesty route or no action at all.

    Obviously, while much depends upon the circumstances of a case, there must be certain situations where one action route should be favoured over the other. I hope that this is not requesting too much, but I suspect that many readers will be asking themselves the same question. A high level algorithm would not go amiss. My thanks in advance.

    Kufrahdog.

  • @dimitri – Thank you for taking this matter up with the Interior Ministry and for posting the results of your discussions.

    I wonder what perverted form of logic was used to dream up this system? Does the Interior Ministry truly believe that property buyers are going to pay to correct the wrong-doings of their developer?

    A reasoned logic would say that he who is at fault has to pay – that could be the developer or the buyer who has made illegal changes. But to expect the buyer to pay for planning infringements caused by the developer and then take legal action against the developer to recover their costs is sheer lunacy!

    And how are buyers supposed to know that the property they have bought cannot be issued with Title Deeds because of planning infringements? Is the Interior Ministry or the Town Planning Authorities going to write to them and tell them?

    Incidentally, I have already received two emails from different organisations offering to prepare and submit amnesty applications on behalf of buyers – one of these wants more than €3,000 up front. On top of this buyers will have to pay the fine/penalty to ‘legalize’ the planning infringement. How much more is that going to cost? And then of course they will incur legal fees and court expenses in their efforts to recover their costs from the developer.

    No buyer in their right mind is going to pay out all this money in the hope of getting their Title Deeds. What planet do these Interior Ministry people come from?

    What the government should be doing is fining the developers for their planning infringements. Unless they have committed a planning infringements, buyers should take no part in sorting out (or paying for) this mess that has been created by the developers and condoned by the government through years of inaction.

    As for the developers’ mortgages, I am not surprised that the chap you spoke to was not convincing. I share you opinion that the banks will not release debtors until the debt has been paid. (Maybe the Interior Ministry is expecting buyers to pay this debt as well and claim it back from the developer by taking legal action).

    I truly despair!

  • dimitri says:

    @everyone – From my talks with the interior ministry people, it seems that if you have no deed and it is due to irregularities with covered area size etc, then you the purchaser pay the cost for the ‘extra’ covered m2 get clean deeds, and then pursue the developer through court you recoup this cost…..

    With reference to developer mortgages, not clear on this. If you prove you have paid in full interior ministry said you invoke specific performance and get your deeds AND it is logical that the developer debts don’t pass to purchaser…but chap on the line was not very convincing…and cited the fact that he was not a legal person and not able to answer for sure….personally I don’t see how the banks will release debtors (developers) from obligations without recouping the balance of funds they are owed…so no mortgage release and no release of deeds on land a property is built=no deeds to purchaser……

    AND please correct me if I am wrong on the way I see things….

  • jon frazer says:

    Firstly “thank you” to Nigel for publishing the four bulletins of the planning amnesty. I look forward to his critique, which I hope will also contain a précis of the amendments; I’m afraid I can’t understand very much of the above stuff, and particularly what the amendments don’t do, which is being talked about quite a lot.

    Actually, prior to seeing Nigel’s intention to publish a critique, I was considering offering a prize to anyone who could state clearly what this is all about.

    I intended to offer a beautiful chrome plated replica of the “Kind Angel of the World” which I will be marketing shortly, along with T shirts depicting her. All profits will go to my charitable foundation to help pay for my title deeds, if and when they come…

  • @Andrew – You are correct. There is no intention to issue Title Deeds when a purchaser has handed over their money. But some of the changes to the law should enable the Land Registry to speed up the issuance of Title Deeds.

    There are also some provisions that are not mentioned in the Interior Ministry’s bulletin. For example, under certain circumstances the developer will be issued with an additional Title Deed if he has complied with the Planning and Building permits issued for the construction of the development, which he can then use to build additional properties.

    I plan to publish a critique of the new laws once their implications have been fully assessed.

  • Peter says:

    I know I said I wouldn’t comment again, but if you Google “Greek to English” or “English to Greek” you can get an on-line transaction at the press of a button

  • Andrew says:

    So in NUTSHELL they do not intend to issue Title Deeds when a purchaser hands over all his/her, hard earned cash. They have however designed countless opportunities for miscreant lawyers to ply their trade. Oh and no mention at all of the biggest problem.That of outstanding developer mortgages.

    As usual expect a long expensive, drawn out battle if you attempt to buy a home in Cyprus.

  • Johnny Cyprus says:

    I am sure you are right and I am sorry if the my posting seemed ill judged to you.

    I am grateful for the English translations of the four sections that you have provided so far.

  • dimitri says:

    @Nigel and Johnny, may get stoned Cypriots reading this but it would have been to the benefit of all if the island had remained a crown colony….I doubt we would have been in the mess re:deeds today. But let’s look forward and see how things can improve.

  • @Johnny Cyprus – Cyprus isn’t part of the United Kingdom. The official languages of the Island are Greek and Turkish.

    As for democracy, the new specific performance law has been passed by parliament. Did you vote in the elections?

    Also, ‘The Sale of Immovable Property (Specific Performance) Law Cap 232, N81(I)/2011’ comes into effect on 29th July 2011.

  • Johnny Cyprus says:

    An English translation of the 2011 Sale of Immovables (Specific Performance) Law is still awaited.

    We are told that it has been approved and will become effective in August 2011.

    Yet its provisions are unknown.

    Democracy Cyprus style.

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