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Town Planning Amnesty explained

Yiannis Koutsolambros of the Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus held a seminar at the Paphos UKCA to explain the provisions of the government’s Town Planning Amnesty.

AS REGULAR readers of Cyprus Property News will be aware, approximately 130,000 properties in Cyprus have yet to be issued with their all important Title Deed.

One of the measures introduced by the government in efforts to resolve the Island’s long-standing Title Deed problem is legislation known as the Town Planning Amnesty. In addition to simplifying and modernising the procedures involved in issuing Title Deeds, the legislation provides a one-time window of opportunity for those whose property has been built illegally or which suffers from planning infringements to apply for their Title Deeds.

At a seminar held at the Paphos United Kingdom Citizens Association (UKCA) Yiannis Koutsolambros of the Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK) explained the provisions of the Town Planning amnesty to a packed audience. Click on the image below to view the full presentation.

As we have reported previously, many companies and individuals are asking outrageous sums of money in return for helping buyers submit amnesty applications.

Readers are strongly advised to ignore these offers of help and contact ETEK in Nicosia (tel: +357 22877644). ETEK is preparing a list of architects and engineers who are capable and willing to assist with amnesty applications. Once you have obtained a list of architects and engineers in your area, phone them to get competitive quotes.

Readers' comments

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  • Yiannis Koutsolambros says:

    I would suggest a few practical measures for your consideration.

    1. Check the status of your building problems, it might be OK, or resolvable with existing regulations.

    2. Check the new zoning regulations issued last month, maybe the coverage or density is fine now. In these cases apply for a fresh permit. No amnesty needed.

    3. If you know the problems well and need amnesty, apply now with a full application. No statement of Intent is needed.

    4. If in doubt or if you need time to consider, make the statement of Intent.

    In all cases, you need decent expert advice from an architect or civil engineer. Start from the architect who did the original design. It should be cheaper as the project does not need to be redrawn. For fees, ask established practices and ask next doors as well.

    You will be fined only in case of excessive density. The “land” you are supposed to “buy” will be at a fraction of the market value, to be announced in the next few days. And if you apply during the first year with the 20% deduction, it should be around 50% of the market value.

    All other regulation breaches will be resolved by other measures like additional planting or elevation improvements etc. Money is not going to the government. It will go to a special fund for improvement of the environment controlled by local authorities.

    Ask around, do not take anyone’s word for your problems. Arm yourself with patience, get your paperwork in order and ask the authorities if nothing else. It is their duty to help you through the problems. It is amazing how small (or big) problems proved to be to some expats when they asked the right authorities: Planning Dept for planning problems, District Offices for building problems, Dept of Lands and Surveys for title deeds.

  • Robert Briggs says:

    Fancy cutting through the Gordian Knot? then don’t consider anything without a Certificate of Final Completion with full, genuine & immediate Title Deeds, End Of Story. As Far as I am concerned all the rest is total garbage! R.B.

  • out of the frying pan into the fire says:

    Paul Lambert is right. They are only after your money. If you have any left that is, after being defrauded by, Developers, Lawyers, Etc Etc .

  • @paul lambert – thanks for your comments. Many people have contacted me about these deals which range in price from €0 to €4,000.

    As I mentioned in the article, the best advice I can give is to skip the middleman and contact ETEK in Nicosia for a list of architects and engineers who are capable and willing to assist with amnesty applications. Having obtained a list, phone them to get competitive quotes.

    I would be extremely wary of lawyers who guarantee the outcome of a case. There are two sides to every argument and it is up to the court to decide the outcome.

  • @Geo – The main culprits are the developers who have contravened the planning laws and the lawyers who failed to advise their clients correctly.

    But many of those who have bought property have also broken the law by adding covered pergolas, garages, swimming pools, patio extensions, etc. without having first obtained the required permissions and permits.

    As for who should pay, the law enables the Planning Authority, Building Authority and the Land Registry to fine the owners of properties who are reluctant or unwilling to comply with their legal obligations to submit applications. However, these fines will not result Title Deeds being issued.

    Those who have bought property and have yet to receive its deed can also apply to have planning infringements legitimised and Title Deeds issued (and they will not be fined if they fail to do so).

    They can then bring a civil action against the ‘culprit’ to recover their costs and their legal expenses.

    I know this solution is not ideal, but it is possibly the only opportunity people will have to secure ownership of the properties they have purchased.

  • Curmudgeon says:

    If a developer has not followed the original engineering drawing(s) that were approved by planning i.e. deviated from those plans, why should the purchaser be responsible for the developers errors? However, there are cases where the buyer has asked for alterations. Any resultant charges/fines are the buyers responsibility. Common sense you would have thought…..

    If you haven’t requested (and paid for?) an alteration that increased the covered area then turf any fine/charge back to the developer after all it’s officially their property until you get the title! I would also suggest, if a fine is pending for a planning breach and the circumstances are not of your doing, blacklist them.

    The hunting season has started, let’s have one for developers….

  • paul lambert says:

    With regards to the town planning Amnesty and the many offers of ‘help’ coming out of the woodwork, for anyone even considering paying any money out, to keep this thought in your mind……..”the vultures are circling over the carcass of what’s left of your finances and they intend to extract every last Pound/Euro from you.”

    The same applies to many UK citizens based in the UK who have got caught up in the many scams that are the Cyprus property market. Do not believe the exaggerated claims of the many ‘legal help groups’ who say they have a cast iron case in your favour. They are only after your money. Many of them were previously selling agents for the developers who now are looking for an alternative income. Don’t let it be your money !!

  • Geo says:

    “….the legislation provides a one-time window of opportunity for those whose property has been built illegally or which suffers from planning infringements to apply for their Title Deeds.”

    “….Once you have obtained a list of architects and engineers in your area, phone them to get competitive quotes.”

    SHOULDN’T THE PEOPLE WHO BUILT THEM ILLEGALLY AND MADE THOSE PLANNING INFRINGEMENTS PAY FOR THIS!!!

    AND MAYBE THE DEVELOPERS, ARCHITECTS, LAWYERS AND LOCAL INSPECTORS WHO DIDN’T DO THEIR JOB!!!!!

    CYPRUS!!!!!!

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