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Cyprus property buyers – now is the time to act!

The Sale of Immovable Property (Specific Performance) Law, N81(I)/2011 ensures that when a buyer’s Contract of Sale is deposited at a Land Registry office in Cyprus they are provided with a degree of legal protection.

Limassol Land Registry Offices

THE ACT of depositing a Contract of Sale at the Land Registry creates an ‘encumbrance’ against the title that gives a buyer a legal claim to his/her property, which can be pursued by a simple procedure though the courts should this become necessary.

Failing to deposit a Contract at the Land Registry can result in serious complications for a buyer. For example: a buyer would have no legal claim to the property and would only be able to make a legal claim against the vendor for the value of the Contract, the vendor could also renege on deal and sell the property in question to someone else.

Designed to provide those buying property with added legal protection, a ‘new’ Sale of Immovable Property (Specific Performance) Law, N81(I)/2011, which replaced the Sale of Land (Specific Performance) Law, was introduced earlier this year’ (see New specific performance law increases safeguards).

We are aware that there are many Contracts of Sale which, for various reasons, have not been deposited at the Land Registries and therefore those buyers are not adequately protected under the law. However, under the provisions of the ‘new’ law those buyers have been given the opportunity to deposit their contracts regardless of how long ago they were signed.

Act now

If you have signed a Contract of Sale that has not been deposited at the Land Registry, now is the time to act!

You have until the 29th January 2012 to deposit your Contract of Sale at the Land Registry and avoid the potential serious consequences that may arise.

If you are unable to deposit your Contract of Sale personally, your lawyer, the vendor (developer) or a registered estate agent can carry out this task on your behalf – and will be able to provide you with a copy of the receipt issued by the Land Registry.

Readers' comments

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  • @Mike 2 – It’s the Greek form that has to be filled in, but you can complete it in English – you can also find them in an article here at New title search procedures in Cyprus

    Providing you have a copy of the contract or its reference number, you should be able to check. Just explain the situation to the Land Registry staff.

  • Mike 2 says:

    @Andrew – thanks for that link re a land survey, could be very useful. Does the form have to be completed in Greek (might be a silly question!) and do you know what is the “Folder number” referred to on the form?

    @Nigel – do you have any advice where both the developer and solicitor involved refuse to return calls or correspond? Can you independently check whether a Contract of Sale has been lodged/registered?

    Thanks

  • Geo says:

    Conor’s case may be unusual but then again a precedent has been set (I know there is an appeal sometime in the next 10 years).

    The law works on precedents (even in Cyprus sometimes).

    You can now “buy” a property, mortgage it but don’t try to move into it, rent it or sell it (without paying the developer an astronomical sum to release the contract) and even then after 5,6,7 years or more waiting for your deeds you still might not own it.

    This is the root of the Cyprus property collapse. When will someone sort it out?

    I think I know the answer to that one.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    A system where all the procedures are very opaque, with no one held to account, just leads to unscrupulous activity by crooks.

    This is just another example of such an area within the Cypriot property ‘system’ which appears designed to allow a process of fraudulently taking money off innocent Customers who don’t appear to have any protection from the crooks.

  • Andrew says:

    @margaret: Try asking your solicitor first, for a “stamped copy” showing your contract registered for specific performance. Also consider doing your own search. This is quite easy.

    http://cyprus-property-action-group.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/land_registry_survey.pdf

  • @margaret – If you are not in a position to check for yourself, your developer will have a receipt from the Land Registry that he could copy and send to you.

  • @Mike – I know the Land Registry will not transfer title until the vendor’s outstanding taxes had been paid.

    If they will not deposit a contract unless the vendor’s taxes have been paid – this is extremely serious!!

  • @Geo & @Robert – Cases like Conor’s are unusual and while it is still being heard in Court we cannot say what the outcome will be.

    And surely it is better to have ‘a degree of protection’ than no protection at all.

  • margaret donnelly says:

    Can you please advise how I can find out if a contract of Sale has been placed at the Land Registry. I have been advised by the developer that it has been but with all the comments I have read I would like proof.

  • Mike says:

    Land Registry will not accept a contract of sale for lodging if there any outstanding taxes such as capital gains tax etc. unpaid relating to the sale of the land or property.

    They will physically take it but it will not be lodged or recorded as being lodged. You will believe it is.

    Unless those sellers taxes are paid (by you) as they have no incentive to then you are in limbo with the prospect of more expense.

    Talk about protect the guilty & punish the innocent!

  • Robert Briggs says:

    What about the “degree of protection” afforded to Mr Conor O’Dwyer in the fight with his builder?

  • James JH Lockhart says:

    Nigel

    Are you wanting to upset Paphos Lawyers suggesting they actually register Contracts of Sale with the Land registry.

    The Two Paphos legal firms involved in my Purchase off property would be horrified to read this, Plus a number off others including major Developers.

    Nigel These people may suffer severe illness if such procedures as lodging contracts with the Land Registry was allowed to happen, They might worry the Attorney General & Police would act or other terrible things.

    Regards

    James

  • Geo says:

    Doesn’t give you any protection. Unless I have missed an appeal decision on the O’Dwyer case.

  • @Andrew – the ‘new’ Specific Performance law can help those who bought property after the law came into force as they can repay the developer’s debt to the bank and then deduct that amount from the money they pay the developer.

    But this assumes that buyers are aware of the existence of the mortgage and that is why it is essential that they take independent legal advise from a lawyer that specialises in property law.

  • Andrew says:

    Can the old or the new specific Performance law safeguard a buyer from a developer who defaults on his mortgage. Or will it remain that, sure you can eventually obtain your Title Deeds, but only after you have paid off your developers many debts.

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