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Town Planning Amnesty deadline approaching

October 7th is last date on which ‘Statements of Intent’ may be submitted under the provisions of the Town Planning Amnesty. After this date, applicants have three years to apply to the relevant Town Planning or Building Authority for a Certificate of Final Approval.

THE TOWN Planning Amnesty is a one-off opportunity enabling minor planning irregularities of buildings in Cyprus to be legalised. Those wishing to take advantage of the amnesty must apply, or reserve the right to apply, by 7th October at the very latest.

After 7th October, applicants who have reserved the right to apply by submitting a ‘Statement of Intent’ have three years to apply to the relevant Town Planning or Building Authority for a Certificate of Final Approval. This Certificate is required before the all important Title Deed for the property can be issued.

We have published more than twenty articles about the Amnesty, including the Planning Amnesty Bulletin from the Interior Ministry explaining the temporary and permanent provisions of the amended laws, lists of architects and engineers prepared to assist in making applications, penalty payments payable where the planning infringement involves overbuilding, a Town Planning Amnesty statement of intent DIY guide for those wishing to submit applications and Town Planning Amnesty explained – a presentation given by Yiannis Koutsolambros.

Although there are estimated to be around 100,000 buildings with minor planning irregularities, only some 1,800 amnesty applications have been made to date.

But now time is of the essence and those wishing to submit a ‘Statement of Intent’ need to do so without further delay.

Are there planning infringements?

FROM the emails we receive, many people do not know whether their building suffers from planning infringements or not.

In these cases, they can apply to their District Office for certified copies of their Planning/Building permits and approved drawings. They will need the number of the Planning/Building permit, a copy of their contract and proof of their identity (an ID card or passport).

The certified copies will cost €27 but they will get the actual documents relating to their property. It should then be easy for most people to see if their property was built in accordance with the permit. In Paphos, the District Office has promised to issue the documents on the same day.

Those who are unable to obtain the number of their Planning/Building permit should speak with the planning officer responsible for their area who should be able to advise and provide them with a certified copy of the documents.

Those who have difficulty in interpreting the plans should seek the assistance of an architect or engineer who will also help with submissions if needed.

(We understand that the Interior Minister wishes to extend the amnesty deadline. And as Parliament convenes every Thursday, we expect that an announcement to this effect will be made either later this week or next).

Readers' comments

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  • @Paula – you cannot apply on-line, but you can get the forms from http://www.news.cyprus-property-buyers.com/2011/08/02/town-planning-amnesty-statement-of-intent-diy-guide/id=008381 – but I expect that these will change sue to the simplification of the process and the extension. See http://www.news.cyprus-property-buyers.com/2011/10/01/town-planning-amnesty-plan-to-extend-and-simplify/id=008976

  • paula schuller says:

    Can I apply for this amnesty on the line? Where could I download the application forms from?

    Many thanks,

    Paula Schuller

  • Yiannis Koutsolambros says:

    Whirlybird, your case looks like you need no amnesty. If your alterations can be covered by existing legislation, there is no deadline or penalty or tainted titles etc (This should apply at least for the staircase, nothing prohibits its construction if it is as described). Just a fresh permit, preferably before your application for certificate of approval and title.

  • @Whirlybird – I have published the provisions of the amnesty – and they are quite clear. Overbuilding, providing it is within the limits defined will be written-off on payment of a fine (details of which I have also published).

    Other planning infringements, outside the scope of the amnesty, may be regularised by plantings, landscaping, etc. However more serious infringements will result in Title Deeds being issued with a ‘mark’ against them and in very serious cases, the transfer/sale of the property will be prevented.

    If the developer has made unauthorised changes to the common areas of the estate – then it is he who should be submitting an amnesty application.

    But as you have an agreement with the developer for your car port and the spiral staircase stating that he will obtain the necessary permissions and permits, it should be relatively easy for you to sue the developer and reclaim your costs and any legal expenses.

    (I am also surprised that your architect is in a position to second guess the decision of the Committee that will rule on your applications).

  • Whirlybird says:

    My wife and I and also a few other neighbours on our estate have been “signed up” by our architect to make sure everything goes according to plan in respect of submitting our Statement of Intent to the Land Registry office.

    However one thing makes my wife and I think deeply about this so called amnesty!! Not long after we moved in to our home I built a car port to the side of our drive with the blessing of our developer and the architect who both said that all legalities would be taken care of, also later quite a number of us on the estate got the Developer to erect a spiral stairway onto and cut an opening into our roof so that we all could have a roof garden. Again this was to be taken care of by them both, legally through the architect.

    Today after handing over our fee to the architect he tells us that the Developer has not contacted him regarding these small matters, so we will probably be given the number two title deeds which states that we have 3 years to fix and pay for the problem which has been caused by the two of them in the first place. After this has been done we can apply for a new clean title deed at a cost. Tell me who benefits by this AMNESTY??

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Opaque procedures, smoke & mirrors, lack of information, no help from Developers or Authorities.

    Nothing is clear or easy to resolve, easy access to information is non existent and no one wants to help.

    When will they stop inventing different ways of taking more money off already cash strapped property owners?

    Usual wheeler dealing in Cyprus where the Customer always comes last, unless they have the usual brown packet.

  • @Sandy – Firstly, until the Title Deed to the property is registered in your name, you are not its owner – this is why Title Deeds are of great importance.

    If your developer isn’t playing ball, you can visit the District Office and get the information from them – or engage the services of one of the architects/civil engineers listed to get the information for you.

    Defects are not picked up until the building is inspected by the Planning Authority – and this inspection will identify planning irregularities. But this inspection is not automatic, the developer has to request it. You say surveyors were on-site in June – were these from the Planning Authority?

    If you find that there are serious defects with the property i.e. over and above those defined in the amnesty, then the amnesty will not help you in any way and there is no point in applying.

    You need to find out what the status is and providing that any irregularities fall within the parameters of the amnesty, submit a statement of intent.

    You do not need the developer’s involvement or consent.

  • Sandy McKellar says:

    I own on Vanessa development in Peyia (Paschali). We are unable to obtain permission from the developer to see the “approved/submitted” Plans.

    I for one am deeply suspicious as to why an amnesty has been offered where apart from speeding up the title deed fiasco offers us as owners little in return. Is my understanding correct in assuming that developers will be able to obtain a permit if we “do not” submit the letter of intent and what come back do we have where there could/might be serious defects etc, Surely if proper procedures are followed by planning authorities, defects would/should be picked up. I observed surveyors on site in June. How do we obtain info re their findings.

    Regards

  • Elizabeth says:

    Do other people remember the Minister of the Interior’s predictions for these laws? And, should we forget, only required because the Government did not or would not enforce the existing laws aimed at protecting buyers.

    http://www.news.cyprus-property-buyers.com/2009/11/25/title-deed-reforms-worth-millions-next-year/id=002843

    Now he even wants to change his own deadline!

  • Costas Apacket says:

    ‘We understand that the Interior Minister wishes to extend the amnesty deadline. And as Parliament convenes every Thursday, we expect that an announcement to this effect will be made either later this week or next’

    I rest my case!

  • andyp says:

    Whilst I am not taking part in this exercise I hope as many as possible benefit from this with the minimum of bother and expense.

    @Nigel. I think you have done a great job in providing all the information necessary to help others in this task not to mention all the others. Well done that man.

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.

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