Latest Headlines

Cyprus Property Action Group and the EU

The Cyprus Property Action Group has released a comprehensive update of the progress it is making with the European Union in its efforts to resolve the problems associated with buying property on the island.

FOR more than two years, the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) has been enlisting the support of MEPs and is making significant progress in gaining the assistance of the European Union to investigate the many potential problems faced by those buying property on the island.

Some of the key points from CPAG’s comprehensive update on progress are summarised below. For a full report see UPDATE: July 2012 – EU Commission  – European Court of Human Rights.

EU Commission

Late last year, following a petition by CPAG and 41 MEPs, EU Commission Vice President Viviane Reding confirmed that “…an administrative letter has been sent to the Cypriot authorities enquiring on the one hand, as to the actions carried out at national level to address the reported practices and… On the other hand, about the measures taken to ensure that consumers are adequately informed about the Cypriot law transposing Directive 2005/29/EC on Unfair Commercial Practices (the ‘UCPD’).”

Following a response to that administrative letter, the Commission has instigated a pre-infringement procedure and the EU is presently considering whether to take Cyprus to the European Court of Justice for its failure to comply with EU law.

At the Commission’s request, CPAG has been working with the EC’s Berlin-based consultants tasked with reviewing the implementation of the UCPD. Annex 1 of the Directive contains a ‘black list’ of 31 “Commercial Practices which are in all Circumstances Considered Unfair”.

With the support of MEPs, a recommendation has been made that the act of withholding legal title to property is added to the UCPD’s ‘black list’ when the UCPD is next reviewed.

European Court of Human Rights

CPAG has also been assisting a number of buyers whose complaints to the Cyprus Consumer Protection Service (CCPS) had been rejected. (The CCPS is the responsible agency for enforcing the UCPD). These buyers have now turned to Europe for assistance and their cases have been accepted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and will be heard in the coming months.

In closing, CPAG thanks those who continue to support their efforts especially those MEPs who have signed up to their cause.

Further reading

UPDATE: July 2012 – EU Commission  – European Court of Human Rights

Readers' comments

Comments on this article are no longer being accepted.

  • marktyler says:

    Very Best of Luck to the CPAG. It really should be the duty and pleasure of the EU to rein in the shocking deceptions that Cyprus allows to go unpunished by virtue of a dysfunctional legal system.
    EU, get your house in order!

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @ Nigel. If the CoFA is ‘the only independent inspection that a property in Cyprus has to go through’, what are all the others for then??

    As I recall in my own case, the Planning Dept inspected the property twice over 3-4 years before issuing what was called the CoFA. The inspection was something of a farce, with four blokes and one theodolite taking 10 minutes to do the same thing on each occasion.

    The next inspection was by the District Office and a different bunch did the same as the first two but it took another 2 years. Then they had to re-do it owing to an ‘out-of-time’ requirement overlooked by the architect – another 6 months.

    The next inspection was by the Land Registry, in order to issue the Final Certificate (not the CoFA). Presumably, none of these (Planning, District and LR) trust each other’s inspections. Another 6 months.

    Are you saying that all these other inspections on top of the Planning Dept CoFA are in fact illegal or not prescribed in law or what??

  • Costas Apacket says:

    The whole FCC process is not fit for purpose in a modern EU democracy.

    It is a totally subjective and inefficient process involving too many people throughout, some of whom have, let’s call them, ‘historical views’ about those buyers who happen to come under the banner of ‘foreigners’.

    This means that timescales can be flexed at will by those who want to hold up proceedings, for whatever reason, leading to a process that is akin to Chinese water torture for those buyers who want closure to the nightmare.

    Some would call it ‘taking the P’ but I couldn’t possibly comment on this.

  • andyp says:

    Clive/Peter. I agree with you but think you refer to the Streets and Buildings Regulations which I have commented on for some time, to no avail. Even had a letter published in CM referring to same.

    Quite simply the Cypriot authorities will do NOTHING ABOUT ANYTHING unless they are forced to or hit in their pocket

  • @Clive & @Peter – the “Certificate of Final Approval” is the only independent inspection that a property in Cyprus has to go through. As well as confirming that the property conforms to the approved plans and various permits issued for its construction, there are health and safety issues as well.

    The quickest way to speed up the inspections (in my opinion) is to outsource the complete inspection process to an agency – and to have the properties inspected by qualified engineers.

    If the planners and the Land Registry wanted to check that agency staff were doing their job OK, they could inspect a sample of (say) 5% or 10% of the properties.

    (My Mukhtar also had to check my home – to make ensure I had a pavement).

  • Peter G Davis says:

    @Clive…rightly so.

    It took over 7 years for me to get the FCC on my villa. I have only got one home so where would I live in the meantime?

    It took the Fire Chief six months to approve his part of the FCC and then there was the electricity board, not forgetting the water board and several visits from the District Office who attended three times to measure the outside of the villa again, again and again. Even the local Muktar had to visit to sign it off.

    At least we had full employment with a job for everyone for life.

  • Clive says:

    Not wishing in any way to detract from the excellent work done by CPAG and many others who’s tireless efforts have got the title deeds issues to the attention of the EU and MEPs, but isn’t the very first action that needs to be dealt with that of the Cypriot law that makes it illegal to occupy a property that doesn’t have a Final Clearance Certificate, FCC.

    By applying this law the government of Cyprus could in one foul swoop dispossess buyers without an FCC of the property they are “illegally” occupying without a legal leg to stand on. Remember the Bishop of Paphos tried this some years ago on properties in Coral Bay, only direct government intervention stopped if being enforced.

    Shouldn’t efforts now be directed at trying to get this Cypriot law suspended, amended or withdrawn? For if it were to be enforced the whole carpet would be pulled from under everybody without an FCC.

  • Alan Waring says:

    Denis and Elizabeth do indeed deserve the highest praise and thanks from all of of us. It is all the more astonishing just how far CPAG has got in battling through the EU machinery. Let’s also remember the continuing support and help from a number of MEPs as well as those individual EU officials who do want to do the right thing.

  • andyp says:

    Many would have jumped ship by now having to deal with Cypriot and EU Officials in an effort to help others whose lives have been ruined by their buying experience in Cyprus. Not CPAG.

    D and E deserve a medal and possibly a wee rest when this nightmare is over.

  • Alan Waring says:

    Depressingly, I have to agree with Mike that on the balance of probabilities the Cyprus government is more likely to get a squibb than a howitzer round.

    The following are extracts from my forthcoming book Corporate Risk & Governance (ISBN 978-1-4094-4836-5):

    Referring to GRECO, the anti-corruption unit of the Council of Europe: ‘GRECO is rather like the EU Commission, which has no remit, resources, or mechanism to monitor and audit compliance with EU Directives in member states. National governments are left to comply ‘on their honour’ and many have shown a propensity for evasion, dissimulation and downright lies in their responses to such supra-national bodies. GRECO recommendations are largely ignored, evaded, diluted, or delayed by recalcitrant governments. Even where it may have some scope for imposition of limited penalties, the EU Commission has shown itself to be very reluctant and slow to do so. To that extent, by being unwilling or unable to ‘get their hands dirty’ with compliance and with specific cases of non-compliance, both GRECO and the EU Commission have tarnished their images and reputations and engendered widespread contempt among populations who, not unreasonably, expect such bodies to offer them real protection and not act like paper tigers’.

    ‘EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has proposed 2013 as the ‘European Year of Citizens’ during which ‘the Commission will need to demonstrate a European system of justice that has the capability to link, overlay or check national legal systems in a way that can produce some sort of coherent whole as citizens go about their daily lives’. Unfortunately, such fine rhetoric is likely to sound hollow and meaningless among the thousands of aggrieved victims who remain unprotected, without redress and deeply cynical and mistrustful of the EU and its Commission. They will not be expecting that Commissioner Reding will wave a magic wand in 2013 and deliver even a scintilla of protection and justice for them any time soon’.

  • Mike says:

    As sterling a job such organisations are doing and they must be credited with championing the rights of those not in a position to defend themselves, I cannot but feel that the EU machine will never seriously turn against one of its own. Yes it will issue press releases of carefully chosen words to appease the masses and give the impression something is being done and it may impose a token fine (before giving it back in the form of a grant)but the reality is that since its inception little except a very lucrative source of income and expenses for a privileged minority has been achieved. MEP’s, Cypriot Politicians even Probation Officers all need:

    i) European problems,
    ii) The Cyprob
    iii) Offenders to continue offending as without them or it they are redundant.

    Has duty on car imports from an EU state into Cyprus been abolished, has 38 years of talks and negotiation solved the Cyprob – give it another 700 years and it will still be there in one form or another. How many offences must one commit before a probation officer states “no your honour he will clearly never change and deserves to be incarcerated”. It is never going to happen. We pray it will but can we honestly see the current rotating presidency being told off in earnest? Neither can I – sadly, and so the current misery continues.

    Our sincere thanks and gratitude must go to those genuinely trying their very best to achieve a just and rightful world, all credit to you and thank you.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    The timing of this report could not have come at a better time.

    ‘Well done’ seems too small a phrase for all the excellent hard work that has been going on behind the scenes.

    To Denis and all at CPAG, I salute you all!

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.

  • Text size

Back to top