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Title Deed chickens come home to roost

The Title Deed fiasco will be at the top of the agenda at a high-level meeting scheduled to be held next week between senior ranking EU officials and ministers from the Cyprus government.

Cyprus Interior Minister - Mrs Eleni Mavrou

Cyprus Interior Minister – Mrs Eleni Mavrou

IT HAS emerged that the EU has placed the Title Deed fiasco at the top of its agenda for high-level discussions between Cyprus government ministers and senior ranking EU officials scheduled for 10th July.

News of this development came at a meeting between Cyprus Interior Minister Eleni Mavrou and Pegeia Council.

During this meeting, Ms Mavrou brought up the Title Deeds issue in connection with the Leptos Harbour Shore Estate development in Coral Bay. Those who bought property on the estate have been waiting for Certificates of Final Completion and Division Permit for more than 40 years. (Obtaining a Certificate of Final Completion is a necessary stage in the process of issuing Title Deeds).

Ms Mavrou raised her voice and started shouting at the Mayor saying that they must issue Certificates of Final Completion immediately as Pegeia was holding hundreds of buyers to hostage during its long-standing battle with Leptos over development of the beach area.

The reason for her strong approach is that a high-level meeting is scheduled to be held on 10th July between senior ranking EU officials and Cyprus government ministers. Ms Mavrou referred to the hundreds of complaints received by the EU about the problem and how the EU had placed the Title Deed fiasco at the top of its agenda for these forthcoming discussions and how Cyprus was being ridiculed.

Pegeia municipal councillor Linda Leblanc who attended the meeting said “We’ve waited a long time for something big to break on this and I think the timing of the EU Presidency couldn’t be better!”

The Cyprus Title Deed fiasco

AT the present time, estimates put the number of properties in Cyprus without Title Deeds at 130,000.

This unacceptable state of affairs means that those who have acquired these properties are being denied one of their fundamental human rights as defined in Article 23 of the Constitution of Cyprus – the right to “own, possess, enjoy or dispose of any movable or immovable property”.

Furthermore, the government coffers would benefit to the tune of more than €1 billion if all those Title Deeds were issued and ownership of those 130,000 properties were transferred to those who acquired them.

Readers' comments

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  • @Denton Mackrell – Nothing yet

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Nigel. Any update on how the Minister’s meeting on 10 July with the Troika actually went?

  • @Peter G Davis – Immovable Property Tax (IPT) is based on the 1980 value of property as assessed by the Land Registry.

    The maximum payable is 0.8% for properties whose value exceeds €800,000.

    If you are paying IPT to your developer at the rate of 8% and he’s adding interest, you are being scammed!

  • Peter G Davis says:

    Apology for the error I said IPT was charged at 4%. It was but this charge was increased to 8% in 2012.

    The additional charges in IPT and 9% tax for the ten years cost me an additional €4,600 paid to the Government. So multiply that by 130,000 and you see the value in delaying the issue of title deeds.

  • Dee says:

    My property was purchased twenty-two years ago. I only want my Title now if it’s issued at the (converted) price that my husband and I paid for it.

    If the Land Registry want to ‘re-value’ before Transfer, then they can keep the Title for a bit longer because I’ll not be ripped-off a second time!

  • MARTYN says:

    “IT HAS emerged that the EU has placed the Title Deed fiasco at the top of its agenda for high-level discussions between Cyprus government ministers and senior ranking EU officials scheduled for 10th July.”

    Hallelujah !

    It always seemed that Cyprus’ EU Presidency would enable powerful searchlights to be turned onto the practices/malpractices in property, construction, legal and administrative areas and enable various tracks of ‘consumer action’ to merge into urgent forms of positive remedial action.

    It has always seemed clear that Cyprus and some Greek banks are going to become even more exposed when the true extent of the problems emerge: therefore more government money, if there is any!, otherwise more bail-out monies, 3rd party loans?, will need to be directed at resolving the problems. As many of us have been saying for years now: What an unholy mess!

    Let us hope therefore the whole gamut of this long-standing deceitful set of processes and professional, financial, administrative inter-dependencies, (developers/banks/lawyers/government departments) is thoroughly investigated and then, importantly, urgent actions taken to identify the fault-lines, flaws, malpractices that have led over many years to this wholly unacceptable situation. And THEN set in motion a timetable of remedial, and where necessary fully compensated actions, and importantly the restoration of basic Human Rights.

    It’s going to be mightily painful, but really it is the ONLY way to redress the problems of the past: set up, manage, regulate, open, efficient systems that will in time, some considerable time we suspect, help Cyprus recover its once favourable position , this time as an honest, open, competitive provider of modern customer/consumer focused construction, property, banking, legal and administrative services – to match its low taxation and undeniable sun, sea and scenic charms.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Well we have the Troika in position focussed on the economy, so let’s hope that our old mate Viviane Reding does her bit regards, the Title Deeds fiasco when she visits Cyprus on Thursday and keeps up the pressure for change.

  • Xyloman says:

    There are two potent weapons in the arsenal of campaigning:

    1. Breaking the 11th Commandment and being found out (in this case) for being totally incompetent

    2. The heaping of high profile, acute embarrassment onto the ‘other’ side for the whole world to see.

    Of course the people in power are getting uptight – their ineptitude is being exposed to a wider audience, and one that will not take ‘no’ for an answer.

  • Peter G Davis says:

    In the meantime the Cyprus Government is earning 4% payments off your developer plus 9% interest.

    And its a bill that you have to pick up before the developer will sign the deeds over to you.

    So no wonder the Cyprus Government are happy to keep you waiting. Its nothing to do with being incompetent.

  • Elizabeth CPAG says:

    The document Complaint about the non-Compliance of Cyprus with EU law gives some of the background to these actions by the EU Commission and which could yet see Cyprus taken to the European Court of Justice as a result.

    Also we estimate that more than 50 buyers’ applications against Cyprus are now already registered at the European Court of Human Rights with many deemed admissible already. The first findings on these are expected in the coming 6 months. CPAG completed most of these applications for the buyers, some of whom then shared them with their neighbours, hence we do not know the exact numbers.

    There is yet more to come on this external pressure which we have been working on for the last couple of years!

  • Pete says:

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the EU also insisted on an ‘open investigation’ into the dodgy dealings of some of the banks and the relationship between themselves and some of the developers.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Gavin. A wonderful mixed metaphor! Rats emerge from holes and nests while wolves lope out of lairs. But the sentiment is nonetheless apt – in Cyprus we suffer from a chimera having the worst characteristics of the wolf and the rat, the wolrat.

    I would imagine that Sylikiotis, who masterminded the government’s inaction programme for all those years and dreamt up the 2011 fudge-and-mudge laws on immovable property, is whooping for joy that he has passed on the poisoned Title Deeds chalice to Ms Mavrou.

    Good to see that the EU is at last taking the matter seriously.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    The rats are being flushed out of their lairs.

    Hopefully Judgement Day approaches…

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