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Saga of the Title Deed rip off in Paphos

The actions of Land Registry staff in Paphos who seem to be ripping off foreigners by demanding excessive amounts of Property Transfer Fees from them are damaging Cyprus’ reputation and killing the overseas property market.

IN ANSWER to the question; do the British see discrimination everywhere in Cyprus?

Last Friday my wife and I went to the Land Registry, finally after ten years we had been informed our Title Deeds were ready. When we bought in 2002 we had put enough aside for this cost, but with the value of sterling falling and the extra payments of IPT to the developer plus 9% interest the cost had exactly doubled.

Not the fault of the Government, but not ours either, but the delay was their fault.

When our turn came, we went in to be informed by ‘boss lady’ that she had valued our home at nearly half again of what we had paid. I asked to see the working out but my requests were ignored, again I asked how was the figure arrived at? Again there was no reply.

Well I said if this is based on today’s valuation the house is worth much less than we paid in 2002 so how have you got that sum?

After ten minutes of haggling it was obvious to me that this woman couldn’t and wouldn’t show me any evidence of this figure plucked from the air.

My wife was now distraught and began sobbing saying we can’t afford the deeds and we will have to sell I don’t want to lose my home but we can’t afford to own it.

People from surrounding offices came out to gawp at my wife, this was obviously what passed for entertainment; you have to wonder what gene pool these people were recruited from.

I asked to see the boss and was given detail of the boss in Nicosia. I phone the secretary for an appointment and we were about to leave when our developer arrived.

He could see the state of my wife and I explained to him what they wanted, the figure was beyond belief, several thousand Euros more than we should have to pay. He explained he would see the boss if I waited. But I said he’s in Nicosia I’m trying to arrange an appointment. No, he said, there are several levels in the building above her.

So I was being ‘Blocked’. Eventually a deal was made through him. I paid several hundred Euros more than I should but nowhere near what they were asking for.

What should have been a happy day for us, to finally get ownership of our house, I can’t wait to forget.

Don’t these people realise they may be getting extra Euros but they are killing the market?

But as the developer said that doesn’t bother them, here they are safe, they have a job for life. Less than a 100 metres from us is a development finished the year after we moved in, some occupied by Greek Cypriots.

They got their Title Deeds towards the end of 2011 and were asked to pay exactly what was shown in their Title Deeds. So you work it out.

Peter G Davis
Paphos

Readers' comments

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  • Mary says:

    I read with interest the letter written by Mr Davis.

    I purchased a resale property in Paphos four years ago and was told at the time that the deeds would be issued within 18 months. Here I am four years on and no deeds they are by the information given by the developer going to be issued by April this year, I have the same worry when it comes to having to pay at Paphos land office. I gave me heart to read this as the developer help with this he/they seem to be a decent company. The company involved in building the complex were I bought my property in is said to be one of the better developers in Cyprus so if I have trouble I may be able to turn to them. However I am now so tired of Cyprus and it corruption at all levels and its lack of ability to the simplest task correctly that I am considering when the deed have been issue to sell up, I had planned to buying another property but I think will be a very bad idea. My money perhaps will be more welcome on another island.

    Cyprus is headed on all levels for a very big fall, they are targeting the Russian markets along with others at present but how long will it be before they realise its one big rip off, not long I’m thinking.

  • Mike says:

    Peter I wish you well and sincerely hope natural justice prevails. Do not give in but the fight will be long and hard.

    I had reason to report a matter to the Ombudswoman (re a land and surveys departmental failure of duty in accordance with the citizens charter) and to be fair she did respond, many moons later, and the response was comprehensive, dozens of pages long some 20 or 30 of them in Greek the rest in English. (I filed my complaint in English). Fortunately I can understand both but the fact of the matter was that it amounted to nothing. Thousands of words but no substance or action to be taken but I have noted that the new charter has been amended to account for my complaint – albeit of no benefit to anyone but at least people will not live with false hope from now on.

  • Peter says:

    @ Mike

    I agree with what you say. I was prepared to report the matter to the police as extortion followed if necessary with a complaint to the Ombudsman, if the police refused to investigate my complaint. It makes no difference if the “unwarranted demand for extra money” is made with a view for gain by the individual or for the Government. And the bosses are aware it is going on and can’t be justified.

    Unfortunately I also had my wife to consider and just over €400 was a price worth paying to get her back home.

    I have a complaint (over the delay) running to the ECHR and to the local Ombudsman. The delay has cost me over €4,000 and I will now be wanting my money back. For me the fight is not over.

  • Mike says:

    As much as I sympathise with the wrong that is apparent, I went through the same process myself but fortunately stood my ground & only paid fees on the sales contract price, a comment from Costas Afortune states “These thugs cannot get away with bullying us into paying exactly what they tell us to, not what is legally owed”. It is worth noting, without being pedantic that no property is legally owned until title is registered. It might be paid for in full, even occupied, but not legally owned.

    Sadly Cyprus are masters of persuasion, hence the sales of property without title transfer, so convincing the EU that everything is rosy should not present too much of a problem.

  • Pete says:

    This is another example of arrogance through ignorance. At a time when the Cypriot building industry is on its knees and the government are trying to find ways of stimulating some re-growth, these ‘public servants’ seem hell bent on driving a few more nails into the coffin of the economy.

    This is nothing more than state sponsored extortion which will return to haunt Cyprus for a very long time. Yet another illustration of self inflicted injury.

  • Robert Beeks says:

    This is not just a problem foreigners face. I purchased a piece of land in Psematismenos in Jan. 2011 for Euro 150,000. When the time came to transfer the title the land was valued at Euro 200,000. How is it possible that the agreed purchase price is not used since that is the real value and why is it that there is no true valuation of the property. Fortunately my Cypriot wife was managing the matter otherwise, being a foreigner, I suppose the land would have been valued at Euro 300,000.

    Rather than help with the slump in the property market the government has made things much worse. I have been waiting six months for the final building permits. The Muhktar of the village informed me that in order to connect water to the plot I need to dig around until I find the municipalities water pipe!

    The goose that laid the golden egg is well and truly dead.

  • Costas Afortune says:

    Just when will our MEPs step in and say enough is enough ? Blatant persecution of the British, with no- one to turn to for help. I’m sorry but enough is enough! These thugs cannot get away with bullying us into paying exactly what they tell us to, not what is legally owed.

    Everyone should be copy in this link and sending it to as many EU politicians as possible and demanding they stand up and earn there money by not accepting this so called legalised robbery. Does Cyprus want to have the benefits of being in the the euro zone? If so its time to start acting like it!

    Wake up Cyprus, the nightmare for the British has got to end. We will not be your easy meal ticket any longer. No wonder Brits in there thousands are turning there backs on this crazy island. Just one more thing to tell would be property investors at forthcoming property fairs in the UK!!!!

  • Pete says:

    I recently received my title deeds waiting since the application was made by the developer in 2003. The cost for transfer was calculated on my contract price. I was told that the cost was based on the average price of similar properties in the area and land registry have a data base going back years of every property sold. The reason behind this is to avoid tax evasion where a lower price has been put on the sales contract.

    When it’s seen that the transfer fee is too high you have the right to appeal and have the assessment recalculated. You do though have to pay the initial valuation. It does sound suspicious that the developer managed to get the cost reduced. Even with the new figure you should have had the option to appeal. My lawyer did in fact indicate that I should expect to pay a higher figure than the contract price, but as said mine was OK.

    When I bought my property the developer did ask if I would agree to put a lower price on the sales contract for tax avoidance which I declined.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Peter.

    I was really appalled to read your account at the infamous Paphos Land Registry. What a disgraceful exhibition of pure nastiness.

    Thousands of us are having to endure ongoing battles with differing time frames and complexities, many having to experience similar levels of rudeness bordering on downright degeneracy.

    I wish you and your wife well.

  • demetri says:

    IN ANSWER to the question; do the British see discrimination everywhere in Cyprus?

    Sad to say that if you are a FOREIGNER you get discriminated against. Prime example of this was when I visited a monastery in Paphos which had some areas of interest that were ‘pay to view areas’, so whilst I was trying to figure out the cost to get in, the ‘door man’ asked if I was Cypriot, had I not said Nai I would have had to pay to get in…..

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