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Armou family still living in limbo

A family of four living at a stricken development in Cyprus that is slipping down Armou in Paphos remain in limbo, unsure of their future, after their homes were declared unfit for habitation in November last year.

THE LUXURY development was built by JNM developers. 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.

In November, homes had official notices placed on them stating the decree shall remain in force until such time as repair works deemed necessary by the District Officer are carried out.

A day later, owners were informed that electricity supply to their homes would be cut but it is still connected.

Simon Phillips, his wife Jen and their two children are the only family still living at the development. They say they are unable to move due to financial restrictions and the prospect of homelessness hangs over them.

Phillips said: “We don’t earn enough to take out a mortgage or to rent another property. I would only be able to afford a tiny apartment.”

He said he was also fearful of the possibility of looting if his home were left empty. “I received a phone call from a woman named Sonia…she works at the District Office and placed the notices on all of our doors. She reminded me that we couldn’t stay as there is a ban order in place and that we have to move for our own safety. But I pointed out that although the other five houses have been affected and admittedly our outdoor space has too, including our entrance steps, car port, swimming pool and patio, which have all moved, our house has not.”

“It’s similar to a fault line. We are in a unique position in that our house is behind this line while all of the other homes, and our front garden, are in front of it,” he added.

Phillips said he has appealed to a district official to return with an engineer to confirm his hypothesis but is still waiting to hear back. The Cyprus Mail was told the official was currently away.

“Chucking a family of four out on the street surely can’t be a solution. I want to be compensated with a property of equal value and similar to mine. We paid for it outright and don’t have a mortgage. It cost us €250,000,” said Phillips.

He said that although several people had kindly offered temporary use of their holiday homes or empty properties, that was no way to live. “It’s impractical and impossible. We all need some peace and relief from this terrible situation.”

But he said if the electricity was cut off, as threatened, the family would be forced to move.

A report by the president of Paphos’ Architects and Civil Engineers Association, Chrysostomos Italos was completed in June 2012 and has been handed over to the legal advisers of the homeowners. Italos places the blame firmly on the developer.

Armou family still living in limbo

Readers' comments

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  • Fighting For Justice says:

    @ Richard

    Richard, until people start lobbying their own MPs and pressing the UK Government to take enforcement action through the EU Commission everyone with blithely go on thinking that everything is alright in lala land and there is no problem.

    Too many people think it will all go away and for many I guess it’s the only way to deal with the stress of it all but they need to break out of their cocoon and make some collective noise.

  • Richard says:

    @andyp – I agree with you – but if I may make a small amendment?

    It’s about the UK Government – as a long-standing full-paying ‘full-fat’ member of the E.U and a long-term investor in peace-keeping infrastructure on Cyprus – started putting their foot FIRMLY down with the Cyprus government telling them in no uncertain terms what will happen if citizens of the UK continue to be treated like refugees.

    Whilst we (all) know there are good and bad people all over the globe – including Cyprus, too many people in Cyprus have flouted the law, bent the law and creatively interpreted the E.U law way – way – WAY beyond acceptable limits!

    It’s time the large heavy stick came out of the cupboard. Too much ‘diplomat foo-foo’ – and not nearly enough action!

  • andyp says:

    So Nigel that is then another Cyprus property myth.

    The developer might well be responsible for the structure for 10 years but you first have to find them, get them to court and win all before your house vanishes and you live on the streets. And if you do not? Tough luck?

    Anyone following this story, amongst all the others, and buying a new build in Cyprus must be completely off their trolley.

    It is about time this industry got a dose of reality and started protecting the customer. Sorry I will get back on my medication!

  • Richard says:

    Sick and disgusting disgrace.

    If a Greek-Cypriot family were having to endure this in the UK – would it be being handled in this way?

  • @andyp – it’s more “living the Hell” than living the dream.

    The developer seems to have gone into hiding – it’s his responsibility to sort out this mess! But it’s going to involve legal action by the families I expect to bring him to justice.

    I wrote an article some years ago about the problems of building on unsafe land – Down the slippery slope

    On a more positive note, a lady in Austria sent me an email offering the family accommodation; I’ve forwarded it to the Cyprus Mail.

  • andyp says:

    If I recall correctly this family have been “living the dream” for over two years.

    No help from the developer, insurance companies, developer associations nor government bodies.

    Is this the reality when it all goes wrong? Buyers have no protection whatsoever.

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