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Town Planning Amnesty – plan to extend and simplify

The House Interior Committee has unanimously proposed that parliament grants a six-month extension to the period during which ‘Statements of Intent’ may be submitted under the provisions of the Cyprus Town Planning Amnesty.

PRESIDENT of the Committee, Yiannos Lamaris, explained that in view of the fact that only 2,500 ‘Statements of Intent’ had been submitted, the Committee deemed it ‘appropriate’ to extend the deadline.

In addition to the extension, it was also proposed that the submission process be made simpler:

Under the present legislation ‘Statements of Intent’ have to be submitted together with a sworn statement made by an architect/engineer who is registered with the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber (ETEK). The proposed changes, if accepted, will no longer require a sworn statement, but rather an affirmation made by the owner/buyer concerning the status of the property.

The major opposition party, DISY, agreed with the proposals and they will be put before parliament at its plenary meeting next Thursday.

Unless there are some last minute hitches, the proposals will probably be accepted.

Update – 7th October 2011

AS widely anticipated, a six month extension to the Town Planning Amnesty has been approved by parliament.

The principal changes that were agreed yesterday are:

  • The period during which ‘Statements of Intent’ may be submitted under the provisions of the Town Planning Amnesty laws has been extended to 6th April 2012.
  • The requirement that the ‘Statement of Intent’ has to be accompanied by a sworn statement made by an ETEK registered architect/engineer has been removed. In its place, the applicant is required to submit a ‘Statutory Declaration’.

We will publish further information as it becomes available.

 

Readers' comments

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  • @Dimitri – yes they will have to get hold of the planning and/or building permit and certified copies of the plans.

    Some people will be able to read the plans and compare them with what has been built. Those who cannot will need the assistance of an architect or civil engineer.

  • DIMITRI says:

    So I guess buyers in limbo who have have no idea if they have bought a property’s that has overbuild or other ‘features’ etc have to dig up the planning permits and building permits themselves and see if and how the building differs from these and take it from there? Is an ETEK architect still needed at any point in the process or can this be truly DIY project by buyers?

  • KC says:

    Kufrahdog: – If there is to be an extension of the “so called” Amnesty I hope it will not delay the re-zoning of the villages as you seem to suggest. I suspect there is a link because in my village an announcement on re-zoning was expected in July but was suddenly postponed until November.

    Many people are sitting on illegally overbuilt property of more than 30%, through no fault of their own. If they applied for the Amnesty, they would run the risk of receiving tainted title deeds that would prevent them from selling their property in the future.

    If the re-zoning goes ahead on schedule it will remove many buyers from the “seriously overbuilt” category, reduce costs and at least make the Amnesty an option.

    Delaying the re-zoning could prove to be an own goal.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    The Developers abetted by the legal profession and Government officials are twisting and turning this way and that to avoid putting in place a simple and fair property purchasing system in Cyprus.

    A system that puts the Customer first and also protects them from…..the Developers, legal profession and Government officials.

    Now you see the problem!

  • Kufrahdog says:

    One could think of a number of simplifications that should be applied. For example:

    1) Legislators and their ilk should stop deluding themselves that the Town Planning Amnesty is an amnesty – it is anything but an amnesty. An amnesty pardons the guilty, no punishment is awarded, the guilty are deemed innocent and all records of guilt expunged. The people know this, which is why so few have submitted or will submit Statements of Intent.

    2) Under the terms of the Town Planning legislation developers should be legally bound to submit details of what they actually submitted for planning permission and what was authorised and actually built. Where an infringement (an overbuild, for example) was created by the developer the authorities should investigate. Where wrong-doing is found the authorities should bring civil or criminal charges against the developer. There should be no amnesty for wrong-doers and the innocent (buyers)should be protected rather than exploited.

    3) Incorporate in the Town Planning legislation rules that de-link developer mortgages to property buyers.

    By extending the submission process it is likely that the re-zoning of building zones in the villages – which could help those with infringements such as overbuilds – will take place in late 2012 rather than later this year (2011) or early next year.

    No doubt there will be more surprises for us all before this show is over.

  • Cheshire Lad says:

    @cyprodite. Couldn’t agree more! The irritation is that it seems so overt. Patently not enough fee-income coming in to the supporting ‘industries’

  • Cyprodite says:

    Very nice of them to change the goalposts and the rules of the game now that a host of us have paid their ETEK architects to do the submissions for us when we could have done it ourselves! Was it just another little job creation scheme for the failing building industry?

  • @Costas – I agree – the government needs to put more effort into advising people who have bought property as to whether there are any planning infringements.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    So basically we cannot easily find out if we have a planning irregularity or not because of the useless planning and information systems in Cyprus.

    Our Developer and our Architect, who is registered with ETEK, just tell us that everything is OK with our property and the development it sits on, but they have still not been issued with a Certificate of Final Approval. Why not???? We can’t find out as usual.

    How then does the Cypriot Government expect us to take advantage of any kind of amnesty or any other kind of planning initiative without the actual facts to enable us to act upon this?

    This ‘initiative’ just ends up being is a new way for Lawyers and Architects to boost their income which is now much lower due the dwindling property market.

  • @Costas – The problem is that no-one knows how many properties may be affected by planning issues.

    People with a contract of sale but no other details will find it very difficult. The only information they will have is the plot number – but the planning authorities do not use this (they use a case file reference) – and you can’t go to the Land Registry to enquire because they do not hold information on planning & building permits.

    So people will have to rely on the goodwill of the planning authorities to dig through their case files – and considering there are an estimated 100,000 cases, this is not an easy task!

    And there are many more Cypriots affected by the problem than foreigners – we’re all in the same boat together.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    What a surprise!

    Instead of inventing a process to allow purchasers the speed up the issue of their legal Title Deeds via an amnesty just for properties with planning irregularities, the Government should put in place a fast track process for speeding up the issue of Title Deeds for properties without planning irregularities.

    Perhaps to help with this the, usually opaque, district planning departments could actually tell us which of our properties has or has not got any planning irregularities recorded against them so that we can choose the correct path to take.

    Then they might get more than a couple of thousand applicants.

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