HOMEOWNERS at a stricken development in Armou in Paphos were left shocked and confused after a representative of the Paphos district office accompanied by the local village leader placed notices on all of the houses informing them that they were unfit to live in.
The notice states the decree shall remain in force until such time as repair works deemed necessary by the District Officer are carried out.
The Sunday Mail first highlighted the dire plight of the homeowners in March.
The six houses which make up the development in the picturesque village are still moving down the hillside and are likely to collapse completely if rains are heavy this winter. One of the houses has already been deemed unfit for habitation and has been condemned.
A number of the homeowners have begun court proceedings against the developer. All of the houses, which were only built in 2004, have serious structural problems, from slanting floors, to the partial collapse of stairs, walls, swimming pools and patio areas. Outside drains are exposed in one garden and retaining walls have split.
Yesterday, homeowner Geoff Higgs contacted the Cyprus Mail from England, where he is now living.
“We have just received a distressed phone call from our daughter who said that our homes are not fit to live in and may be demolished,” he said.
Geoff and Maggie Higgs were forced to leave their ‘dream home’ a few months ago as they no longer felt safe.
Only two homes are now occupied, one by Simon Phillips, his wife and two children. The Higgs’ daughter, Sian Sparrow, her husband Jason and two children are renting a house next to theirs to keep an eye on her parents’ property.
Jason Sparrow said: “There was a knock at the door just after 2pm and a woman from the district office and the mukhtar said they were putting notices on all of our doors. They told us that we will all have to leave and if it comes to the point of pulling the houses down and we are still here, the police will be asked to come and get us out.”
The Sparrows immediately contacted the British embassy who translated the notices for them as they are written in Greek.
Sparrow added: “We were told the notices say that the homes aren’t fit for human habitation and we must leave until repairs are carried out. It’s very confusing as no timeframe is given for us to leave the property.”
When contacted by the Cyprus Mail, Evagoros Andreou of the Paphos district office planning permit department said he was unable to shed any light on the matter.
“We have given them notices within the law and I’m not advised to give out any further information. The homeowners will be sent letters tomorrow (Wednesday).”
The Cyprus Mail asked if these would be translated into English the native language of all of the homeowners, he said: “The letters are in Greek which is the language of this country.”
The estate was constructed on land locals had long been warned was unsafe. One of the access roads to the development is currently impassable and although a second road was repaired, large cracks have again appeared.
The developer responsible for the estate is JNM, but despite repeated efforts, the Cyprus Mail has been unable to contact them.
A report by the president of Paphos’ architects and civil engineers association, Chrysostomos Italos was completed in June and has been handed over to the legal advisers of the homeowners. Italos places the blame firmly on the developer.
Armou village leader Panicos Hadjitheoris said: “I feel very sorry for these people and I will try to do what I can to help.”