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President asks ETEK for advice on Title Deeds

Faced with the problem of clearing the current backlog of some 100,000 Title Deeds, some of which go back more than two decades, President Anastasiades has asked ETEK for advice.

PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades has asked the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber (ETEK) for its help in solving the Title Deeds issue by suggesting that architects or developers could give final approval for work completion, rather than having to wait for local authorities.

During a meeting at the presidential palace with ETEK president, Stelios Achniotis, Anastasiades raised the issue of drawn-out procedures relating to Title Deeds. There is a current backlog of 100,000 unissued, some of which go back two decades.

The issue was discussed in the context of attracting investment and curbing unemployment, Anastassiades asked for suggestions from the chamber on how the private sector could be utilised in helping to speed up procedures.

“The president said that because there are delays in getting Title Deeds, he wants the architect or the developer of the project to give final approval,” ETEK’s deputy chairman, Constantinos Constanti said.

When a house or flat or another building has been completed, the current procedure is that the owner take the application for a certificate of final approval to the municipality in which the property is located.

The municipality then goes to the property and compares the finished building with the architectural designs. If, after checking, everything is how it should be, then the certificate is issued and taken to the department of lands and surveys for the Title Deeds to be issued. This procedure takes about three months if the building meets the criteria of the design.

“The delays are caused by the municipalities who pay attention to all details. So if the design shows that something on the original design is not there, or a sliding door was put where there should have been a normal door for example, then the application is denied,” Constanti said.

In this circumstance, a new design showing the actual architectural dimensions of the building must be completed and the new design given to the municipality who then provides the developer with a new building permit.

Anastasiades also focused on aiding unemployed engineers. He gave instructions to the labour ministry to include terms that meet the requirements of engineer graduates in the scheme set-up by the government to find work for them

Achniotis said the chamber submitted a series of suggestions to the president concerning the measures announced by the government to restart the economy.

Achniotis said the handing of applications for a certificate of final approval should not be done at the expense of the environment and local communities.

Advice on title deeds

Readers' comments

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  • kufrahdog says:

    @Robert Briggs – I could not agree more with your post of 9 Jun 13 @1249.

    The difficulty, however, is how do the Cypriots transition their banking, legal, administrative and property practices from where they are today to world class best practice? KD.

    Perhaps the president should set up a commission (along the lines of a Royal Commission) tasked with the formulating the design of a best practice system and transition plan. But could Cypriot parliamentarians and banks be trusted to deliver such a system? KD.

  • kufrahdog says:

    While one could admire the president for taking some sort of action to facilitate the issue of Title Deeds one has to say that the proposed scheme is misguided, because not all architects and developers are honest.

    My developer and his architect acquired planning and building permits for a house that fully met the building coefficients of the planning zone – but the developer sold me a house that exceeded the lawful building density. Short of taking these two gentlemen to court at my own expense there seems to be no administrative procedure for exposing their violations of the law, so that they could be punished by the legal system. If these two gentlemen were to give final approval for my house under the president’s proposed scheme, they would be committing perjury. Two wrongs don’t make a right; a scheme built on lies and deceit would not be good for anyone.

    For the president’s scheme to work the rotten apples must first be removed from the barrel.

  • Rosemarie Delaney says:

    We have “supervising” architects who don’t do their job such as forgetting to apply for a building permit. Construction finished but planning permit lapsed, so new planning permission with new conditions. Building permit applied for, but meanwhile we join the EU and new building criteria in place, which means more money as more technical reports are required. So several thousands of euros later you apply for the cert of final completion only to find other conditions apply. And our President is suggesting these incompetent architects have even greater responsibility in signing off the construction, this is madness.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    The politician, formerly know as naive Nick, has got to be deperate, asking the poachers to become gamekeepers.

    It will all end in tears if this happens.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Robert Briggs.

    Exactly.

  • Robert Briggs says:

    Why can not they use the British legal and technical procedures, to ensure that the individual Title Deeds are available in all cases, at point of sale when the properties are completed to the correct standards?

    So the Properties should not be released for sale and no money taken, until the Title Deeds are fully available, end of story! RB.

  • steve says:

    Do not allow properties to be built until the infrastructure is in place, such as roads,pathways,boundary wall,drainage and utilities like electricity,phones and underground cables. This work makes up around 40 percent of the project so if the builder does not complete then the client has only their own property to worry about.

    In many cases where projects are not finished then the clients have to share this cost which causes all sorts of problems. My house is the first on the site so why should we have to pay for the infrastructure for the rest of the site or I cant afford to contribute etc, etc.

    This would also show some commitment by the developer to keep his end of the bargain.

  • UBoat says:

    Sounds like job’s for the boys to me.

    Work for developers (convenient) to put things back to original plans etc. I doubt at their cost but No doubt at the expense of the current owner.

    Long legal arguments (jobs for the lawyers) to sort out differences.

    Still NO Title deed as some things after 5,10,15 or more years from build would have changed etc. etc. who keeps their house in the same condition as a show home?

    Oh and don’t forget the Architects who are now busy (I doubt it) changing plans.

    Standards lowered where applicable (to get the job done) and little or no regulation.

    This does NOT sound like an answer, but a money/job generating process at the expense of the innocent AGAIN !

    E.g. my developer has washed his hands of our site and dose not do anything to complete. So how is this going to change his and the like minded view?

    A totally ill thought out plan.

    Have a nice day.

  • Ronny V says:

    My Certificate of Final Approval was rejected because our windows were in white coloured aluminium, while according to the building permit (issued 10 years before) they should have been in white painted wood! It was very hard to see the difference but still they told me to (1) replace all windows or (2) apply for a new building permit.

    The other thing is: as soon as people receive their Certificate of Final Approval (or title deed) they can then start to build additional verandas, close existing open verandas, build an additional floor, whatever … nobody cares any more.

    Definitely the whole system needs to be overhauled.

  • @Andrew – I agree. Self-certification is a recipe for disaster.

    Building inspections, authorisation of division permits, assessment of values for IPT purposes etc. should be outsourced to professionals (and the Land Registry should check a random sample – say 1 in 20 – to make sure all was OK).

    Also planning infringements should not prevent the issue of deeds – whoever caused the infringement should be made liable for correcting them.

    And the whole process of issuing deeds needs to be re-engineered to reduce the number of permits and to speed up the process. E.g. progress from one stage to the next should be automatic so that once plans have been approved no further involvement of the developer would be necessary (unless the plans need to be changed).

  • Andrew says:

    Self certification by a developer is a recipe for disaster. Using a qualified architect is OK, only if they are not the developers paid architect and they have proper professional indemnity.

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