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Communal charge dodgers could end up in jail

Owners of properties in communal developments could soon find themselves in jail if they fail to pay their rightful share towards the insurance, maintenance and upkeep of the common areas.

prison barsOWNERS of apartments in Cyprus and units in other types of building complexes who refuse to pay their fair share towards the insurance, maintenance and repair of the common areas could soon find themselves facing a 12 month jail sentence or a fine of €1,700.

The proposals are contained in a bill tabled in parliament by MP Christos Mesis.

In a report accompanying the bill, Mr Mesis explained that the changes to the law are necessary to address health and safety issues arising in public areas of developments due to their lack of maintenance.

In some cases Management Committees established to manage the day-to-day operation of residential complexes are unable to meet their responsibilities due to owners refusing to pay; this is a particular problem with properties in holiday complexes where many of the owners are living overseas.

If the bill becomes law, Management Committees will be able to take any steps necessary to recover amounts due from anyone failing or neglecting to pay their fair share in accordance with the provisions the law – non-payers could end up in jail.

Readers' comments

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  • Peter Davis says:

    @ Sue

    Regarding your comment on dealing with none payers.

    I know I’m talking about the UK but when we went to the Bank/Building Society and explained these people were in breach of their leasehold which stated in the contract of sale that they had to pay to the Resident’s Sewage Company (a limited company set up for that purpose) the Bank/Building Society paid the amount owed and took it off the mortgage payments.

    I don’t know if Cyprus financial organisations will be so accommodating. But the threat to end the leasehold and block off access to the system so the properties would be worthless did the trick for us.

    Of course the leasehold could also be cancelled and the bank take the property back and no compensation is payable to the original buyer.

    I know in the UK one leasehold was terminated in that fashion due to the owner having dirty windows when the leasehold said he would keep the property clean and presentable.

  • @UBoat – please see my earlier reply on November 3, 2012 at 8:49 am to Campbell Findlay’s comment.

  • UBoat says:

    I was under the impression that this was Law anyway…. As I have a property on a development of now 26 and at one point some years ago we talked then of private development and gated access and if people did not pay up take them to court….

    I was thinking therefore this was law unless you had a development adopted by the local authority … so what is the new law (if it is) about??

    more revenue for the local authorities I guess then !!!

    Yamas
    UBoat

  • @Sue – You can seek a court order that will enable you to place a charge (known as a ‘memo’) against the properties of the money these non-payers owe.

    And you can include any legal costs, court fees and other reasonable expenses in your application to the court.

  • @Steve (at 4:52 pm) – According to the ‘Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) Law’ (Cap. 224), an owner is defined as “the person entitled to be registered as the owner of any immovable property whether he is so registered or not”.

    What this means is that people without the Title Deeds to the property they have purchased can establish and operate Management Committees.

  • Steve says:

    With 120,000 outstanding title deeds, many complexes and apartment blocks do not have a legally constituted management committee, because it cannot be registered until the title deeds appear. Because of this, not only are individuals getting away with not paying communal costs, but it is very difficult to obtain legitimate insurance cover for the common property, which actually includes the outer walls and foundations of the apartment blocks, also water, electrical and sewage systems.

    Another day in Cyprus…..

  • petrocelli says:

    At last a good idea from an M.P.!

    Let’s hope it gets through parliament and quickly so that owners who dodge their liabilities can be dealt with.

  • Sue says:

    I am on the committee in a complex of 22 units. We have several owners who have not paid for years. I am uncertain how we could prosecute them as I feel it could cost our community a lot of money in court fees. The offending owners know that this law is going to be enforced and have offered to pay as from now. However, is that fair on those owners who have been paying since the complex was completed many years ago?

  • steve says:

    Our builder screwed us all collectively for about £1.3 million pounds then did a runner to the UK. He just refused to appear in court so they dropped the case. What chance have they got of sending anybody to jail for not paying a communal charge. Spend the time more wisely and chase up title deeds. The revenue will be far greater.

  • @Campbell Findlay – that’s correct – a Management Committee can take non-payers to court. The court will usually issue a judgement enabling the committee to lodge a ‘memo’ against the title for the debt (plus legal and court expenses).

    This change will make non-payment a criminal offence so as well as a ‘memo’ the debtor could end up in jail.

  • Campbell Findlay says:

    Regarding the last paragraph of the above article.I was under the distinct impression that, as the law stands today A Registered Management Committee could take a non payer to Court and have the full support of the Court in recovering outstanding debts.

    I hesitate to agree with the comment that the majority of offenders are from overseas!

  • Peter Davis says:

    And rightly so.

    Having lived in a rural estate in England. A minority of the members refused to pay for the upkeep of the sewage system. We use to contact the bank or building society, the mortgage holder who paid the bill and added the cost to the mortgage as many (37 out of 41 units) were leasehold. But we couldn’t do that with freehold and that was a problem.

    For those who were freehold we had to go to the small claims court. Not a nice thing to do to your neighbour.

    As a result we all to pay more to cover the people who were happy to flush but didn’t want the cost.

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