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No end to the hell in Paradise Hills

Life in Cyprus continues to be hell for buyers of properties on the Paradise Hills estate near Paphos who fear their homes may be demolished or auctioned to repay the bank that financed the developers who have gone bust.

BUYERS of properties on an unfinished ghost estate in Marathounda village in Paphos are desperate to gain ownership of their homes, which they now fear are under threat of being auctioned or demolished.

A rescue plan for the misnamed Paradise Hills estate – whose developers, MDB properties, have gone bust – was recently rejected by the Bank of Cyprus (BoC) the holders of the company’s loans, leaving owners in indignant limbo. Last year their plight was filmed for a popular UK TV show Holiday Homes from Hell (watch below).

Although 33 of the 46 units have been sold, only three are now permanently occupied. Lance and Tracey Hames, John Rowles and Alistair Nethercott are the sole residents of an eerily quiet estate on which many buildings are showing marked signs of decay.

Villa owner Lance Hames said some of the non-resident owners who live in the UK are planning a meeting in Kettering UK on October 17 to discuss employing an international property lawyer to try and sort out the mess.

“I believe the idea is to employ an international property lawyer to try to find a solution to the awful situation we find ourselves in,” he said.

Bank of Cyprus rejected rescue package

Owners at Paradise Hills waited for almost two years for the MDB’s administrator – One World – to come up with a rescue plan which included property owners coughing up on average an extra €10,000 each to finish the site, but they were recently informed that the bank has decided not to go ahead with the deal.

Hames said BoC told the administrator that it would not help complete the site due to the alleged illegal activities by one of MDB’s directors.

In addition to moves to engage a specialist lawyer, three of the owners including Hames, have used the recent town planning amnesty on some building irregularities to apply for individual completion certificates for their properties.

“I’m hoping to then apply for my Title Deeds and intend to sell the property at half price,” said Hames.

“I love the island but I’ve had a belly full of this situation. It’s put a huge strain on my marriage and everything I have is invested in my house. I just want to get out and will be on the first plane back to the UK.”

He is also hoping that the completion certificate will prevent his home from being slapped with a demolition order.

“I really don’t know what else to do.”

Hames said that no information had been forthcoming from any of the parties involved and that they were still being left in the dark.

Bank of Cyprus may auction the site

According to Hames, a couple of the owners were recently told by BoC that the bank may eventually auction the site, for which they hoped to gain a seven figure sum.

“No-one is going to pay that kind of money for a site which is three quarters complete and parts of which are deteriorating badly,” Hames said.

“It’s too much money for all of us to buy and complete ourselves and we really don’t know what to do. I’ve ended up squatting in my own home.”

Hames feels particularly bitter because he carried out thorough research before buying a property in Cyprus.

“There were no mortgages or incumbencies on the land and everything was done as it should be here. Our contract was also lodged with the Land Registry,” he said. “I don’t see why I should have to pay to help clear MDB developer’s debt with the bank.”

Readers' comments

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  • Mike says:

    @Elizabeth

    Sadly there are far too many who are, as you put it, ‘Barking Mad’ and do continually fall for the patter and well rehearsed string along half truths that they would never entertain in their own homelands. The romantic notion of a home in the sun somehow eliminates the capacity for due diligence and careful consideration.

    As a Cypriot I sympathise with these individuals but they have been duped by an antiquated system which has served the Island well for centuries but is not fit for purpose in an investment market. Most Cypriots I would venture to suggest do not want title to their homes as they have title to the land it is built on. Why invite further taxation?

    Title however is imperative for a foreign buyer. So so sad and very little signs, if any, of a meaningful solution to the problem.

  • out of the frying pan into the fire says:

    Costas Afortune is right, but he missed out corrupt, fraudulent lawyers, and should the government ever put matters right, what about all those people who have been robbed in the past? People who have lost their life savings their health to corrupt developers, lawyers and banks.

    No chance any thing will change. There is another mug out there waiting to be conned.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    A “free and floating charge” on all the developer’s assets, that’s how. Please see post under “The Cypriot real estate market will recover when…”.

    Bankers can be devious so and so’s…

  • @Elizabeth – this story got my alarm bells ringing too!

    If Lance Hames is correct in his assertion that “There were no mortgages or incumbencies on the land”, depositing a Contract of Sale at the Land Registry provides buyers with very little protection if the bank wants its money.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I do feel sorry for these unfortunate people.

    As Mr Hames said, he did his research for mortgages before buying and lodged his sales contract with the Land Registry which the powers that be say fully protects you as a buyer.

    What I cannot understand then is how the Bank of Cyprus can now have priority over these buyers’ homes in respect of other debts the developers may have.

    If this can happen then even the many buyers who are not currently encumbered by developer mortgages are also at risk if they don’t yet have title deeds.

    You would have to be barking mad to buy new property from a developer nowadays.

  • Costas Afortune says:

    Yet again “Cyprus the island where dreams are made, but the nightmare never ends”! Please warn all investors from any country, “Do not buy on this island”. Only when all developers etc get together and lobby there own politicians will this mess get sorted out.

    Shame on Cyprus!!!!!

  • Andrew says:

    Yet another example of the disgusting state of affairs that perpetuates in Cyprus. If like any civilized society, the owners would have received their title deeds, then their plight would not be so serious.

    Good luck to all those who have been ensnared by the “system”. Fight it all the way because it is you who have been wronged.One day justice will prevail.

    Add this to the long list of reasons why the Cyprus property market has hit rock bottom.

  • Hector says:

    And the question is being asked what will it take for the property market to recover in Cyprus? This just sums up the reasons why it wont.

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