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Paying for my developer’s illegalities

A Pegeia resident demonstrates how the provisions of the Town Planning Amnesty enable ‘dishonest and devious developers’ responsible for planning infringements to escape the consequences of their actions.

I HAVE been busy trying to sort out the Building Amnesty; an amnesty that requires me to correct and pay for the illegalities of my developer. Apparently, my house isn’t the property for which my developer had obtained planning permission. 

My most well-known Paphos developer was only trying to give me the house I wanted but knew it wouldn’t get a building permit so he submitted plans for a house with a basement area, when in fact the basement had two bedrooms and a bathroom.

An illegal house can’t get Title Deeds, therefore I would have to sell back to the developer at a loss.

To legalise the situation, I now have to pay an ETEK registered architect to submit a statement of intent. I must then pay the architect to submit planning applications to legalise the changes to the plan.

I have paid over €1,000 so far. If the irregularities are serious, I will have to pay substantial fines to the Cypriot authorities for the crimes of my developer. Eventually, I might get a Final Certificate of Approval and a Title Deed. However, the Title Deed will specify all the original illegalities created by dishonest and devious developer.  Doesn’t an amnesty absolve one of all illegalities?  In the meantime, the developers and their compliant lawyers in this massive fraud are free of any penalties.

Chris Solomon,
Peyia,
Paphos

Readers' comments

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  • KC says:

    John, Andy,

    Good advice! Take my case to the European Court, contact my MEP write directly to Viviane Reding.

    Been there, done it but NOT got the Title Deeds

  • andyp says:

    I agree Frank. I would also suggest that it is another breach of European Human Rights Law in that we were sold properties that should never have been sold.

    As has been mentioned on the recent Cyprus developers thread the EU is now investigating following the campaigns of CPAG and others. Whilst the EU now has their eye on the ball I would suggest that this is a great time to contact your MEPs to highlight this particular issue and indeed Viviane Reding direct.

    Just a thought.

  • Frank says:

    As we continue to hear: it is illegal to occupy a property which does not have a Certificate of Final Approval from the municipality. This must mean that the vendor has provided goods which are not fit for purpose, as the prime purpose of a property is occupation and inhabitation.

    If a vendor supplies goods which are unfit for purpose; he/she is in breach of contract law and should be liable for compensation.

  • John Swift says:

    Julie tell the Cypriot authorities that take you’re going to take your case to the European court. Ex-pats in a similar situation should help fund this to set up a precedent.

  • andyp says:

    That is the point KC you should not have to wait 10 years. The situation should never have happened in the first place.

    Relatively speaking Cyprus has a very small building industry and as such the only reasons this law has not been enforced from day 1, thereby compounding the problem, are :-

    The authorities can’t be bothered.
    The authorities are inefficient.
    The authorities are under funded.

    None of which are an excuse as to why the law is not enforced.

    As you say it happens elsewhere so why not here?

  • KC says:

    Andyp, you raise another interesting point.

    It is against the law to occupy a residence before the completion certificate is issued.

    Such a law is fine in a country where the completion certificate is issued within 7 days of paying for the property
    However in Cyprus where it can take 10 years or more for the completion certificate to be issued,

    where does one live in the meantime?

  • julie says:

    We have an ongoing similar experience, the only difference being is that we have paid for the plans etc and our Architect has submitted them along with the Amnesty application BUT the planning office have taken us to Court for no planning permission for a garage which was in situ when we bought the house four years ago.

    We have now appeared in Court twice and the next hearing is at the end of February, it appears that even if we are found not guilty of building (which we are not), we will be found guilty of using a property without permission and will be issued with a fine and demolition order.

    I contacted Nicosia Ministry of Interior who deal with the Amnesty Applications and they advised they cannot intervene with a Court Case so basically the Amnesty seems a farce.

  • andyp says:

    Costas it is at odds with existing laws.

    In my opinion Chris, KC nor anyone else should be in this position had The Cyprus Government acted responsibly and protected buyers using existing laws to stop the sale of homes without a completion certificate.

    Just another example of The ROC suiting itself at the expense of the masses.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Surely the Amnesty Law in its present form is at odds with the Unfair Commercial Practices law and the Commerce Ministry’s Consumer Protection Service (CPS) should be dealing with complaints like this?

  • KC says:

    For the last 3 years Cyprus has been telling the EU that the Amnesty legislation will solve the title deed problem once and for all but as can be seen by Chris Solomon’s case it has made the situation much worse for many people.

    Without my knowledge my house is overbuilt by more than the dreaded 30% which means that if I went down the Amnesty road the best I could hope for is tainted title deeds that would not allow me to sell my house. Planning permission for my house was granted on the basis of false drawings, and my developer has mortgage and tax debts.

    To make matters worse I learned at a public meeting yesterday that in spite of having paid for my house I am looked upon under the law as joint owner of the property along with the developer because I don’t have the title deeds. Hence the developer has an incentive not to give me my title deeds and presumably he is praying for me to depart this world at the earliest possible opportunity.

    It is difficult to believe that Cyprus is part of the European Union.

  • Mike says:

    Any answers the EC demand will be answered in such a way as to placate them and convince them that every measure is being taken to correct any minor irregularity and that EU citizens rights are being protected and held high as an exemplar of what the rest of the world should aspire to.

    Standard equipment in a Cypriot diplomatic pouch is a ladle, to enable the dispensing of very large portions of Bulls**t.

    Our very public display of Christian faith, with Churches being built on almost every street corner is just one aspect in the catalogue of deception. On the alter of each Church should be a Euro not a depiction of Christ as this is obviously what is being worshiped.

    It is obvious that the citizens of this Country are an inconvenience to the self serving politicians and their paymasters the developers, lawyers, agents etc.

    What goes round comes round the saying goes, in this case it has arrived and the scams have been seen for what they are, it remains to be seen if the deception can be further extended into the European corridors of power. I believe it can simply because we have had so much experience in the subject and are now well versed and adept in covering up the truth. Whatever our final destiny as a nation, I cannot but feel we deserve it.

  • Robert Briggs says:

    @ Andrew, I think that the “party” is over for these scumbags.

  • andyp says:

    As one who has never been in favour of this “Amnesty” con and did not even bother to find out if my house complied with planning I can only sympathise Chris. No doubt you will not be alone.

    Having paid all these fees to people who somewhere in the system should have protected you either directly or indirectly during the construction process, some will be issued with flawed titles and may never be able to sell no matter how much you have paid for an “Amnesty”.

    How is that an “Amnesty”? It is not. It is simply yet another scam to protect the guilty.

  • Andrew says:

    If your Paphos developer also has a mortgage you could be “required” to repay that as well.

    Yes the Lawyers, Developers and Banks all happily turn a blind eye to the property market fiasco in Cyprus because they all get wealthy at the (buyers?) expense. It is daylight robbery and extortion.

  • Robert Briggs says:

    As far as I am aware, the EC are demanding answers from the Cyprus Government regarding these abuses and malpractices (re; the Cyprus Property Action Group’s website. So see what happens?

  • George says:

    I think it is so unfair for developers to be constantly demonized. At the end of day they are unemployed, without money and struggling for their very survival. How would you like to own a nice Mercedes you couldn’t afford to fill up?

    Seriously can anyone roughly guesstimate the % of rotten apple developers in Cyprus. Illegalities, Title deed fraud, shoddy building compared to quality promised all count.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    And the crookery goes on, and on, and on, and on…

  • Whirlybird says:

    I live in a private estate of 32 homes in the Famagusta District, a number of us find that we are being “bled”in a similar way as Chris. Our developer agreed to sort out the planning technicalities via the architect of small addons to our properties, I personally saw our architect about keeping things legal 3 years ago, he agreed to make it so after speaking with the developer.

    Now we find that after paying the architect a fee 2 months ago to register a statement of intent he tells us that our properties will have what he calls “warts” on our title deeds as our developer never paid him or the authorities for the small changes to our homes, to make the changes legal he has told us that the costs would be in the region of €500 depending on the size of the “warts” each, thus it seems once again the buyer has to pay for the wrongs of the developer and his cronies.

    As Chris rightly says the amnesty is all on the side of developer,architect and solicitor, with the government helping them.

  • jon frazer says:

    I am pleased to see that the real agenda behind the “amnesty” is being brought into the public domain by Chris Solomon.

    I fully expect that this “amnesty” is being falsely touted round the E.C. as being yet another helpful piece of legislation to assist the buyer who has been scammed to obtain justice.

    European Commission – please take note!

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