NON-CYPRIOTS have purchased more that 51,500 properties since the start of the millennium, but fewer than 11,500 Title Deeds have been transferred, despite government efforts to speed up their issue.
When we last reported on the impact of these delays in October 2008 (see Title Deeds delays affect 30,000 non-Cypriots), there were 29,949 Title Deeds outstanding for properties that had been bought by overseas buyers.
To address the delays in issuing deeds, Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis set up special team made up of senior officials from each of the relevant departments of his ministry in 2009. This team was charged with overseeing teams of officials in each of the Island’s districts that were monitoring progress on the Title Deeds question.
But despite the efforts of Mr Sylikiotis and those of his team, that figure of 29,949 had risen to 40,170 by the end of November 2011. Moreover, it appears that the problem is getting worse as the gap between the number of properties sold to non-Cypriots and the number of Title Deeds transferred to them continues to widen.
THERE are almost certainly more than 40,170 properties purchased by non-Cypriots that have yet to have their Title Deeds transferred:
The information published by the Department of Land and Surveys does not include statistics for properties purchased before the year 2000. I personally know a number of people who bought property in the 1990s, the Title Deeds for which have yet to be issued.
Property transfers are not restricted to sales. For example if one partner in a property dies, their share of the property will be transferred to their heirs or beneficiaries – and an elderly couple may transfer a property to their children in efforts to reduce their inheritance tax liability. Also, properties can change hands without there being a written contract of sale.