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Property industry problems to be discussed on Monday

Problems plaguing the Island’s property industry will be discussed by the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association’s Annual General Meeting, which is being held at the Nicosia Hilton hotel on Monday.

ALL ISSUES concerning the real estate industry will be addressed at the Annual General Meeting of the Cyprus Land & Building Developers Association, which will take place on Monday 23 April 2012 at 12.30pm, at the Hilton Hotel in Nicosia.

Through a review of the previous period, the problems facing the industry will be presented and analyzed before Eleni Mavrou, Minister of Interior, who will attend the Meeting and provide an address.

Problems faced by the industry include the dramatic decline in sales and the lack of external demand for real estate, the rapid increase of unemployment within the industry, plus the the functional, bureaucratic and structural problems of the sector, and many others.

In his speech Lakis Tofarides, the President of the Association, is also expected to submit a series of specific proposals that many act as a catalyst for the property market recovery, as well as increase government revenue and create new jobs.

Readers' comments

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  • andyp says:

    Thanks for the link Nigel.

    I had a read but simply got the impression they too were looking for a bailout from the public purse. Nothing particularly constructive nor any effort to resolve the problem from what I could see.

    The old Status Quo song springs to mind.

  • For those who may be interested, The Cyprus Land & Building Developer’s Association has published a report on its AGM. You can find this at http://www.lbda.com.cy/nea-anakoinoseis/etesiagenikesyneleusesyndesmou .

    Although written in Greek, it is easy to find the gist of the what was discussed using one of the many on-line translation services.

    As well as calling for further tax incentives to help the sector, the bureaucratic delays in issuing permits and transfers (Title Deeds) were also discussed.

    Also, a new board was elected. Pantelis Leptos was elected as the Association’s new president and Michael Zavos as its deputy president.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Janner. Good point. Also, let’s be clear that ‘the culture’ that needs to change is NOT that of the entire Cypriot population. The majority of Cypriots are law-abiding and don’t go around defrauding people. The culture in question is that of a minority group (a sub-culture) as represented by those particular developers, lawyers, agents, bankers and public officials who have decided to behave in a sociopathic/psychopathic manner towards property buyers.

    Pavlos Loizou whom I do not know and other Cypriot professionals I do know are not among the latter thank goodness!

    Somehow these ‘good guys’ need to find a way to isolate and tame the poisonous sub-culture that continues to do so much damage to this country. As foreigners, it is not our job to do that and indeed would be impudent to try. Change of the sub-culture for the better must come from within and, as Nigel said, will take time and certainly a generation.

    Meanwhile, unfortunately foreign buyers will continue to boycott Cyprus until they are absolutely convinced that a permanent change is truly embedded.

  • Janner says:

    Nigel,

    I appreciate your comments and you are the oracle when it comes to all of this. I accept that it takes time to make cultural change. This is a good thing. Fingers crossed. However, Cyprus and others, cannot hide behind this. It is not good enough to say, “OK, we got this wrong, lets start again with the next generation”. They need to start now, they need to come clean, hold their hands up and say that they are serious about putting things right. The crux of all this is money. Purchasers will not accept losing everything, but they may accept losing something if Cyprus are forced to make real change. Cyprus will not accept losing everything but may accept losing something. It can’t be all stick and no carrot! There must be a solution in all this somewhere!

    Janner (layman in all this. I just tell it how I see it)

  • Andrew says:

    Pavlos, thanks for your comments . Maybe you will voice of our concerns with some of your developer colleagues.

    Thank you also for telling the world that there is a difference in meaning between a LAWYER and a DEVELOPERS LAWYER. You see most ordinary people would believe that a lawyer should act honestly and openly towards his or her client. Most people would believe that any LAWYER would declare a conflict of interest if one did exist.

    Therefore it is obvious that no one should buy a property from any developer who uses an in house LAWYER. Most large Developers in Cyprus do use in house LAWYERS I suspect.

    So when a prospective buyer finds a property it is clearly absurd for that buyer to use any LAWYER recommended to him by the Developer.

    Now I wonder Pavlos if you could explain why so many agents and developers lead the British to believe that the legal system is modelled on the British system.

    In Britain many thousands of people buy new build property from well known developers and they use their recommended LAWYERS without any problems whatsoever. The British legal system and British Universities are used by Cypriots To gain qualifications in order to perpetuate a myth.

    There should be no difference in meaning between a LAWYER and a Developers LAWYER .

  • @Denton – the Cypriots are also well aware of the Title Deed problem.

    Last year friends of mine, a retired vicar and his wife, sold their house and bought an apartment. Twelve Cypriots couples viewed the house and one of the first questions they asked was do you have the deeds – fortunately, they did.

    And yes, I did meet with the Chief Correspondent of the Xinhua News Agency a couple of weeks ago.

    It is not only a radical change that is needed regarding the issue of Title Deeds – it’s a change in people’s attitudes and the culture. This is not going to happen overnight; it’s going to take a generation at least for better educated younger people to get into government and senior positions in real estate, the legal profession, banking, civil service, etc.

    I was at an Island-wide Rotary meeting last Saturday – I was one of three Brits there out of a total of some 60 Rotarians (Greek and Turkish). One major project we discussed was cleaning up key locations of rubbish bearing in mind the bad image this will present to senior EU officials visiting the Island while Cyprus is holding the rotating presidency. (The Chamber of Commerce is on board).

    We all agreed that something can be done BUT lasting change will only come with changes in attitudes but that cannot be achieved overnight.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Janner, you may say you’re a layman (woman/person? Whatever…) but you’ve got this down to a tee.

    Even if they wanted to, the government CANNOT do anything about the title deeds scam because of developer debt. I even agree with Pavlos (even though his comments on the UK property market are completely incorrect!)that the EU can’t do anything about it. By EU, I mean Germany. The German public have had enough of throwing money into bottomless pits (Google: “Fate of EU lies with German ballot box”), even if they have to take control of the running of the economy (as they’re doing in Greece and Italy, but which I’m pretty sure Cyprus government would not allow).

    There is also NO comparison between Cyprus and other debt-burdened countries as no refinancing plan could ever work here, due to the multiple un-serviced loans per property, giving a real debt to asset ratio, which is likely to be WAY off the scale.

    The Cyprus’ government’s ONLY hope is a default and a scrapping of all the money that Cyprus’ banks owe.

    This really is a death spiral, as described by Gavin Jones (hi Gavin!) below, equivalent to a chess endgame.

    My only difference with most of the posters here is that I strongly believe that for one of the players, as in the chess endgame, the moves and final outcome are ALL intentional.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    As a respectable Cypriot estate agent (YES, hen’s teeth do exist!!) said to me not so long ago, when a prospective Russian buyer comes into his office his first words now tend to be ‘Nikakoy dokumyent, nye pokupat’ (no deeds, no buy). Those from the Middle East are saying ‘sak al melkiye, la neshtari’ or ‘khan-e aga sanad na darad, na kharid’. From what Nigel tells me, the Xinhua Official Chinese News Agency has also cottoned on quickly to the scandal, so the rumours of thousands of Chinese flocking to buy properties may be a tad premature.

    Pavlos Loizou is right to warn the Land and Building Developers Association that lack of title deeds at point of contract is their number one survival problem, both short and long term. In their own interests of survival, should it not be they who need to press the government for radical change on this issue?

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Janner.

    Yes. Your comment sums it up beautifully.

    The ‘artful ways’ of developers, bank and lawyers have been exposed for what they are and there’s no escaping the damage they’ve collectively caused. Furthermore, the state is ultimately responsible for allowing their underhand activities to flourish.

    The majority of the personalities operating these institutions and companies will lose nothing. Their beloved country will indeed be bankrupted as will the financial system. The main losers will be their victims, the purchasers of real estate.
    But do these ‘personalities’ care? Not a jot.

    andyp.

    Both you I and many others have had experience of the island’s legal fraternity; they are especially ‘artful’. For ‘artful’ read underhand and unwilling to dispense natural justice. The Cyprus Bar Association and its regulatory body, the Disciplinary Board of Advocates, are travesties of justice, unfit for purpose and best avoided. The rest of you have been warned.

    Pete.

    Quite. discussions were indeed over long ago. All that the Cypriot authorities will ever understand is a metaphorical whack over the head. Nothing else will suffice. The enforcement of international law is the only remedy as any law in Cyprus, even if it exists, is hardly ever enforced.

    James JH Lockhart.

    Quite right. Change must come from within. However, the basis of Cypriot society precludes this happening as everyone is locked into one another’s affairs and if one falls so do the rest. One big happy family, in other words.

    Everyone else.

    Your collective comments sum up the general feeling of frustration and anger.

    Unfortunately, the same old deflection tactic of comparing the situation in Cyprus to other countries will always be rolled out. Even taking into account the undeniable fact that crooks exist everywhere, Cyprus is unique in Europe in that the unholy alliance I listed earlier can get away with their negligence and fraud because the legal system allows them to do so.

    Messages and more have been repeatedly given to the Cypriot government and others in authority but they are either unwilling or unable to act. The advice given to go along this route has therefore been repeatedly taken but to no avail.

    To be told in a condescending manner that the title deed fraud is in effect hardly at the forefront of MPs’ and MEPs’ agendas just about sums up the cavalier and disrespectful attitude afforded to the tens of thousands of people who’ve been deceived.

    For someone like myself who has a Cypriot heritage, it’s regrettable to have to spell out the above but the facts speak for themselves and no amount of spin can gloss over the reality.

    To quote Paul Lambert, I too look forward to the time when all the offenders go bust and will do all in my power to hasten their end.

  • Janner says:

    As a layman in all this it appears to be obvious. Cyprus cannot put this right as they do not have the money to do so. They will go bust. Even if the ECJ do rule that their practices are contrary to EU legislation will Cyprus be able to compensate purchasers? It sounds like they do not have two beans to rub together. At best we will be able to walk away losing the thousands already invested. Surely, Cyprus cannot afford to waive the developers debts allowing full title deeds for properties and peace of mind for purchasers. If the EU rule that not informing purchasers of the developer debt already on the land is illegal will that void the contract with the bank? Who’s responsibility is it to inform purchaser’s. Is it the lender, the lawyer, the developer? Just who owns it? Bottom line is, if mortgagees can just walk away then Cyprus goes broke. If developers loans are waived to allow full title deeds to be issued then Cyprus goes broke. Does the EU really want to deal with another broke EU country? Have they the stomach for it? Which ever way it goes Cyprus can never be a modern fully functioning member state of the EU until these fundamental changes are made.

  • andyp says:

    As has been said by the majority we have tried dialogue with government but they are quite simply not interested.

    The only people I feel sorry for are the ordinary site workers who may have lost their jobs. However did their bosses show any concern for buyers losing their savings, health and in some cases marriages and family relationships? I think not.

    Lets hope the jaw, jaw goes well tomorrow and perhaps you could update us Pavlos on how they propose to help the victims as opposed to helping themselves to another Aston Martin from another victim.

    I would be DELIGHTED to be proven wrong but until this industry collapses in Cyprus there will be no change just more scams and lies.

    If I recall correctly the only time The Developers Association has ever expelled a member was for non payment of fees. On a par with The CBA obviously!

    Reap what you sow.

  • James JH Lockhart says:

    @Pavlos

    I think all the posters thank you for exchanging views same as your father wrote to the CBA about the lawyers in Paphos.

    The answer is not in our MEPs but in you and other Cypriots changing your country for the better.

  • Peter G Davis says:

    I notice that Chanel 5 are asking for viewers to contact them this evening on email at.. cowboytraders@chanet5.com having just covered a story of a developer in Spain. If anyone knows of a story they are asking if you can share it. It may be worth giving them a ring?

    The British talk to each other and pass on their experiences. Word of mouth is a tool not understood by all particularly some people in Cyprus.

  • @Pavlos – the only people who can resolve the problems are the government. Approaches made to them in the past have failed miserably.

    The hope is that the EU will bring sufficient pressure on the government to enact legislation to protect buyers and to enforce the laws that are already in place.

  • Pavlos Loizou says:

    No problem then.

    Since the MPs and MEPs will solve everything for you, there is no point in giving thought to my suggestions.

    I see them solving the Cyprus title deed problem at the same time they are tackling the Eurozone debt crisis, the highest level of unemployment of the past 20 years, the inflated UK property market, the spike in oil prices, the potential of a nuclear Iran, etc.

    It’s right there on the top of their agenda.

  • Pete says:

    The time for yet more discussions is long gone. Everyone (except those involved in the property industry) knows buying property in Cyprus can lead to misery, bankruptcy, ill health and a severe downgrade in your quality of life. Any developer, lawyer, banker or government official doubting this is either deluding themselves or hoping to delude the public. Using the terms ‘scam, liars, cheats and thieves etc’ seems wholly appropriate when that is exactly what’s been happening for years and looks like continuing unless or until we get those involved into a proper court where the rule of ‘who you know’ counts for nothing.

    But as long as lawyers are the ones making the laws, you can bet your bottom dollar everything in this country will be geared to making things impossible to move without their interference and meddling. Having another meeting is a waste of time if the will to change the root cause is not addressed.

  • @Pavlos – thanks for the translation and your comments.

    As for taking the message to Government, this has already been done. In 2007 Denis O’Hare, myself and a couple of other people from CPAG met with the Permanent Secretary of the Interior Ministry and two senior civil servants and also with the (then) Finance Minister, Dr Michalis Sarris.

    The Minister asked us to prepare a report for him and his colleagues – and this was delivered to his office, by hand, in January 2008.

    An abridged copy of that report is available from ‘Cyprus Property Pitfalls – a Time for Action‘. It highlights some of the topics touched on in various comments, including:

    - failures in the Town Planning procedures and their enforcement;
    - failures of lack of regulation of Estate Agents and other sellers;
    - failures of a duty of care by Lawyers;
    - failures of lack of regulation of Developers;
    - fraud allowed as a result of any, or all, of the above.

    Sadly, the report seems to have been totally ignored. As a consequence, CPAG approached and MEPs seeking their support. This resulted in the EU sending an Administrative Letter to the Cypriot authorities (see EU seeks answers from Cyprus on Title Deeds).

    The EU received a reply from the Cypriot authorities in mid January, and this is now being analysed. The latest news I have on progress comes from Veronica Manfredi (Head of Unit, Consumer and Marketing Law, DG Justice, European Commission) in which she writes:

    “We should be able to complete our assessment of the Cypriot analysis by beginning of May and take a decision by June as to whether an infringement proceeding against Cyprus need to be started.

    Please note that this will in no way be yet a ‘final judgement’ (only the European Court of Justice -ECJ- can deliver that). However we may indeed, following the different steps of the infringement proceedings (letter of formal notice, reasoned opinion) and should Cyprus fail to take appropriate action, eventually decide to refer them to the ECJ.”

    The EU has accepted complaints received from several individuals concerning the mis-selling of property, which are also being investigated.

    In the UK, the Police are investigating a number of individuals and companies allegedly involved in the mis-selling of property; the Office of Fair Trading is also involved. I believe a UK property was raided at the end of last year and computers and files were taken for forensic analysis and I understand that a lawyer is also under investigation for alleged criminal activity.

    As for the Cyprus Government, I am appalled by their misleading responses to questions raised by MEPs. For example in one letter to MEP Graham Watson, signed on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, the author states that:

    “It is worth repeating that even under current legislation, buyers of immovable property are protected, once they deposit the Contract for sale at the appropriate District Office of the Department of Lands & Surveys according to the Sale of Lands (Specific Performance) Law, Cap.232″. The original letter can be found at Property Rights of UK citizens in Cyprus.

    This statement is simply not true and, as a result, I have little confidence that the Government’s latest response to the EU Administrative Letter referred to above will be as honest, frank and open as it needs to be.

    (Incidentally, I met with Dr Sarris on the morning his appointment as the non-executive of the Cyprus Popular Bank was announced. He remembered our meeting and the report and asked if anything had changed…)

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Pavlos Loizou. You make a good point about getting the whole sordid story across in Greek to the GC population, who thus far are uninformed about it. It is not for the want of trying!!

    I am aware that, for example, some two years ago Politis was given a golden opportunity to publish some articles on the saga but they were very sniffy about it to the point of dismissing the good offices of a high level GC intermediary with what can only be described as contempt.

    I regret that the Greek language media here are very reluctant to publish any matter raised by foreigners which they consider too critical of poor governance or criminality here or that casts aspects of Cyprus in a bad light, however true it is and however much it is in the public interest to be so informed. To that extent, they are quite like the US media which generally refuses to include anything that might make them look unpatriotic or un-American.

  • James JH Lockhart says:

    Mr Loizou

    You wish us to tell the relevant authorities, I am afraid you will find many have including MEPs/MPs asking for help and justice from your President down.

    They by and large have been ignored indeed only a short time ago a lady lawyer was hit with the massive fine of €1,000.

    Will you raise our points at the meeting ?

  • Frank says:

    The headline is misleading. Property industry problems WILL NOT be discussed next Monday. Instead, this self-interest group will suggest tax and law changes which they hope would advantage them. There will be an elephant in the room on Monday. Will they even discuss it?

  • Simon Edwards says:

    Mr Loizou the word of mouth is exponential no more need be done. I fear even if everything was fixed promptly the damage is done. The truth hurts but it is still the truth I’m afraid regarding liars, scams & cheats. Please don’t compare Cyprus to other property markets, we are just interested in this one, and if elsewhere there are scams etc does that make it alright? Other countries have diversified economies to fall back on, Cyprus really needs house sales and tourists to stay afloat. Thanks for your input here on the forum.

  • mike byatt says:

    When I buy something without any loan or third party involvement I own the goods purchased completely. The seller no longer has any claim against goods.

    In Cyprus this does not apply.

    There is a prevailing attitude that purchasers of property are able to be cheated.

    Denial, delay, talks, the world knows thanks to the internet and the action of people who have been abused by the the well documented websites, bankers, developers, lawyers, politicians etc.

    That Cyprus is a bad investment because it is a dishonest corrupt country as it does not recognize, EEC law, consumer rights etc. solution is easy if it wants to restore its property industry, no talking, denial. If Cyprus wants restore its reputation.

    Action

    Issue all title deeds without delay and legally enforce /punish all those involved in corruption,negligence and incompetence

  • Pavlos Loizou says:

    @ Gavin Jones et al.

    The importance of semantics can be seen in the very problems most face.

    - They used a lawyer, but he was the (developer’s) lawyer.
    - The property had a title deed, but not a certificate of final approval.
    - There was no loan on the house, but there was on the land it was built upon.

    Semantics perhaps. But important nevertheless.

  • Pavlos Loizou says:

    Dear All,

    My mere suggestion is that if you intend to inform others of your troubles (ordeal would be better) then it is best to do so without using “harsh” words that may detract from the point you are trying to make.

    As for the frauds, scams, schemes, liars etc, the Cyprus property industry has plenty. However, they are not exclusive to Cyprus or to the property industry.

    My recommendation is that you should take your “message” to the government/people by informing them of what you have gone through/suffered. This can only occur if you have a representative who speaks Greek (ideally) and who can go forward to meet with journalists, politicians, etc and thus publicize what is going on. I inform you that most locals don’t know half the story or the risk they have for their own properties.

    If you fail to do so, then all will happen is that the same people will keep saying the same things to one another (note the names of the people quoted in this and other articles on the portal) until no one listens anymore.

    Nigel, that’s yours to make it happen.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Good afternoon Pavlos Loizou and all parties connected to the Cypriot real estate industry, be they developers, surveyors, estate agents, banks, lawyers and last but not least, government.

    Some may well use emotive words such as “scams”, “liars” and “cheats”. Alighting on this facet is merely an often used tactic to deflect from the core issue.

    As many have pointed out, the problem centres round the non-issuance of title deeds. Period. All the rest is window dressing and the great and the good can have as many meetings as they wish but unless this is addressed, the market will remain in the doldrums.

    If it makes everyone in my opening paragraph feel better to discuss other matters, that’s their prerogative but they’re living in a continuing fool’s paradise. Yes, the world economic downturn is a major component but the Cypriot situation has the added ‘bonus’ of the title deeds factor. If the powers that be continue to ignore this, they do so at their continuing peril.

    And why is this ignored? Because the billions that are owed by developers to the banks cannot be repaid, thus blighting the issuance of title deeds. They’re all locked into a dance of death. It’s all rather simple, isn’t it.

    Let’s finalize by returning to the use of words. Instead of “scams”, “liars” and “cheats”, what pray would be more ‘acceptable’? “Underhand practices” and “those who’ve been economical with the truth”? This is just playing with semantics.

    Word is well and truly out there that ‘buying’ property in Cyprus will more than likely damage your health, wealth and sanity.

    It’s time for honesty in its literal sense and enough with playing with people’s lives – as well as with semantics.
    Cyprus needs to get it’s proverbial act together but I fear that this is unlikely to happen any time soon.

  • KenG says:

    Thank you Pavlos for posting the English interpretation. The first step in any rehabilitation measure is to actually accept that there is a problem. An alcoholic or drug addict will sadly always be just that until they face up to having a problem. CYPRUS, I THINK WE HAVE A PROBLEM! Don’t look for tax excuses or further loopholes to deceive investors. Step up and listen to the thousands of innocent people already caught up in this deception!

  • andyp says:

    I think terms like “scams, liars and cheats” accurately reflect how many innocent people ended up in developer mortgage traps.

    Who in their right mind would have bought a property had they been told by their developer, lawyer, estate agent or banker that their property was already mortgaged?

    Had people not spoken up to highlight these scams and at best, poor, advice from their lawyer and mis-information from their estate agent and developer, I fear MANY more buyers would now be in similar situations.

    The Authorities and the developers will certainly not willingly rectify matters. We all know it.

  • Simon Edwards says:

    Mr Loizou, we all know the answer is staring us straight in the face, how can a property be considered an investment if it cannot be sold, oh well maybe next year.

  • James JH Lockhart says:

    @Mr Loizou,

    You seem to be in denial to what I regard as the core problem in the property market.

    Lawyers, until there is a effective policing of them from the AG downwards with severe punishments for those that transgress.

    Then all ideas like tax breaks, amnesties are just hot air.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Pavlos Loizou. I agree that it is always better to avoid pejorative terms – that is the professional approach. However, the majority of victims are not in the ‘property profession’ (if such a thing exists). Anyone who might be alienated by highly critical language here is likely to be part of the ‘property profession’. Also, if one eschews absolutes it implies a relativistic view. Are you implying that there are only small scams, small cheats and small liars involved in the debacle? Or are you saying there are none at all?

    I don’t advocate overkill or use of excessively strong rhetoric, primarily because it’s silly and rapidly loses its impact. However, where someone is the victim of hidden mortgages, double selling or any of the other iniquities, that warrants the term ‘fraud’ (not ‘cheating’, which is quaint and trivialising). If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck then it is reasonable to call it a duck.

  • paul lambert says:

    Dear Pavlos. It is very constructive to express our views in absolute terms such as scam etc because that is exactly what has been going on for years in Cyprus. Using less harsh terms is only hiding from this very real problem.

    I know that everyone connected with the property industry in Cyprus would love it if we all just kept quiet but while they have my money in their pockets I will do all that I can to make life as uncomfortable for them and the Cypriot government. The agenda of the meeting of the developers association is not even recognizing the real problems that plague the market. They continue to bury their collective heads in the sand which shows just how out of touch (or guilty) they all are.

    The groups I am connected with will be arranging a series of protests in the UK outside property shows where Cyprus is featured and also outside the Cyprus High Commission in London at the time when the totally inept government takes over the presidency of the European Union.

    The EU has been investigating the property market in Cyprus and has attempted to pressure the government into carrying out reforms but to no avail. The only way any real action will be taken is when the property market fails completely and most of the offending parties go bust. I will do my best to hasten this end !

  • jon frazer says:

    @ Mr Pavlos Loizou. Thank you for your input.

    As regards your last paragraph, I wonder if this is really just an inducement to, for example, Russians, who might want to obtain EU citizenship, and use this as a convenient stepping-stone?

  • Nick - Larnaca, Cyprus says:

    They don’t need an AGM to reveal the cause of problems facing the industry. Simply keep a vigil on this site and others like it to find informed sources of knowledge, experience and insight into why the Cyprus property sector has gone into a tailspin.

    Accepting that a problem exists in the first place is part of the remedy. The rest is about recognising the sovereignty of the market and the free will of people to fight back if they have been screwed – or avoid the place like the plague if they have no confidence in the legal and commercial practices that play out before us every day.

  • Pavlos Loizou says:

    Good morning Gavin Jones et al.

    I do not believe that it is constructive to be absolute in our views and express ourselves using terms/descriptions like scams, liers, cheats, etc. The only thing that this achieves is to alienate other readers and to cloud their view of the possibly relevant point one is trying to make.

    In terms of what will be said at the meeting, the views of the Developers’ association are noted in Sunday’s 22/04/2012 Phileleftheros (http://www.philenews.com/AssetService/Image.ashx?t=2&nid=4622078). Please see below the translation of the article using on-line tools.

    Effectively the call is for a tax reform to encourage developers/ vendors/ buyers to begin construction and transaction activity. Unfortunately, it fails to address the title deed problems in any way. In my view – and I thank you (the commentators) and Nigel in particular for this – the key problem is title deeds, closely followed by the lack of a system/process in the granting and collecting of loans from the banks. As I often say to my colleagues – “Cyprus has a lot of laws. Just no one interested in implementing them.”

    The translation:

    Tomorrow all problems plaguing the direction of the property industry will be discussed at the annual general meeting of the developers association. The Assembly will be carried out supply at the Hilton Hotel in Nicosia at 12.30 before Minister of Interior, Mr Helen Mavrou. The Assembly will analyse problems as the dramatic reduction sales and overseas demand for real estate, the rapid increase unemployment in the industry, operating, bureaucratic and structural problems facing the sector.

    The president of the Association Lakis Tofarides, will make a series recommendations that could acting as a catalyst for stopping the downturn in the housing market and assisting in the growth of State proceeds and the creation of new jobs.

    Specifically, Mr. Tofarides will propose tax amnesty for investment from repatriated capital, provided that it will invest for the purchase of real estate, etc. Also an exemption from where the money came from. This will include all acquisitions of land and property in Cyprus for a period of two years.

    He will also recommend giving tax deduction / credit for Income Tax (Cypriot individuals or companies) and / or Capital Gains Tax (Companies or foreigners) of 20% on the investment in residential property, offices and shops.

    The third suggestion is an increase in the rate of depreciation on investments in the construction industry for an period of at least five years as a basic incentive for new capital investments in real property.

    Mr. Tofarides aim is to create incentives for large development projects. It is necessary, in according to the President of the Association, to shift the capital gains tax arising from the sale of real estate, if the seller makes another real estate purchase within six months of the transaction.

    Among the suggestions of Mr.Tofarides is the re-evaluation of the real estate tax system. He considers that the system needs to be remodelled so as to consolidate all taxes and to segregated in acquisition and ownership taxes so that parties know exactly what to pay and the state to collect taxes on a simplified basis and without additional administrative cost.

    In line with the recommendations for recovery of the housing market, the President of the Association considers necessary the introduction of an incentive for to make Cyprus an attractive market for investment by foreigners. He proposes to amend the relevant regulations so that any foreign buyer in Cyprus who acquires property of at least €300,000 be entitled to acquire permanent residency in Cyprus.

  • andyp says:

    I would guess that the meeting is to think up and coordinate a new scam rather than resolve the issue which everyone knows about with the possible exceptions of The Interior Minister and The Developers Association.

  • sylvia says:

    Is this meeting to also include the title deed problems.

  • Jim says:

    If they don’t know the major reasons for the longstanding decline in their industry by now, they will never know.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Will this love-in include references to the matter of title deeds and the thorny issue of the Republic’s response to the EU’s request for information vis-a-vis compliance with unfair practices’ directives?

    Assuming that the meeting will be conducted in Greek, will someone like Pavlos Loizou be in attendance so that ‘interested parties’, such as those who logon to this website, will be made aware of what happened, if anything?

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