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Title Deeds issuance completed by year end

The Land Registry should complete its revaluation of all properties by June 2014 and the Finance Minister expects it to complete the issuance of Title Deeds as agreed with the troika by the end of the year.

INTERIOR Minister Socrates Hasikos has announced that the exercise to bring property values up-to-date will be completed by June 2014 and by the end of the year the Land Registry will have reduced the backlog of outstanding Title Deeds to 2,000 cases (the target agreed with the troika).

Responding to a journalist’s question on the subject, the Minister said that “the titles of 45,000 properties that are currently pending nationwide will be reduced to just 2,000 by the end of the year. It’s a great effort, but we will get there.”

The Minister expressed his optimism that the Land Registry will complete property revaluations within the stated timeframe and on the subject of the outstanding Title Deeds he said “we hope that we will succeed.” He added that the Land Registry has drafted in staff from other agencies to help clear the backlog of outstanding deeds.

Referring to the task of revaluing properties the Minister admitted that “we have a few problems with some of the municipalities.” He repeated the need for more help from the municipalities which he said had been requested from them both verbally and in writing.

Turning to the Mayor of Limassol, Andreas Christou, Mr Hasikos said that “the Limassol Municipality is among those who are helping with property revaluations.”

Andreas Christou said that the Limassol Municipality had recruited twelve people to help: young graduates, architects and engineers to help at total cost of around €50,000, adding that everyone was interested and anxious for a positive outcome for the excercise.

Editor’s note

The Title Deed backlog of 45,000 refers to those cases where (a) An application has been made to the Land Registry to issue a Title Deed and (b) A Certificate of Final Approval has been issued, thereby enabling the Land Registry to issue the relevant Title Deeds.

It is unclear from the Minister’s announcement whether a Title Deed, once issued, will be free of any encumbrances preventing the transfer of ownership of the property to which it relates.

Readers' comments

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  • @Alex – this is an issue that everyone faces before Title to the property they purchased is registered in their names. It is the registered owner of the property that has to pay this tax – in your case, the property developer.

    Because IPT is calculated on the total value of all the properties registered in the taxpayers name, the developer has to pay at a much higher rate because the total value of those properties is very high. (If he’s paying at the rate of 1.9% the total value of these properties is in excess of €3,000,000).

    Once the Title Deeds to the property you purchased have been issued and you’ve paid the Property Transfer Fees to secure ownership of the property, you can apply to the Inland Revenue for any legitimate overpayments of IPT you may have made. You should be able to recover all of the tax you paid up to and including 2012 – plus a good percentage of what you paid for 2013.

    BUT your developer has to help and provide you with the the necessary information to enter on your claim. More information about this in an article I wrote a couple of months ago – see Refunding developers’ Immovable Property Tax.

  • Alex says:

    We had to pay IPT to the developer of the building, where our flat is, at a rate far higher (1.9%) than what is stated on Title Deed for the flat (as IPT has been paid for the whole complex of 5 buildings).

    What developer told us in writing is that we ‘…can seek a refund of the amounts charged vis-a-vis your own particular scale of taxation, for your unit. Most likely you should get your refund up to the year 2012’. We did not do anything yet, but I am wondering if anyone at IPT is aware of this.

  • @Newnan – You’ll probably be obliged to refund the developer the IPT he has paid on your behalf. I published an article a couple of months ago explaining the situation. See Refunding developers’ Immovable Property Tax.

  • Newnan says:

    If the property is still owned by the Developer after 10 years and no indication of Title Deeds any time soon then why would you pay the outstanding IPT?

  • kufrahdog says:

    The Cypriot authorities are dressing up the issue of 45,000 title deeds – for which applications have been made and Final Completion Certificates issued – by the end of 2014 as a heavy duty exercise comparable with the Labours of Hercules.

    Surely, this 45,000 is the easy part. What one actually wants to know is how the authorities are going to overcome the obstacles that are preventing the issue of the estimated outstanding 85,000 Title Deeds which, by definition, are problematic and, therefore, will take real managerial and technical skills, not to mention EFFORT, to resolve. One hears nothing in the public domain about how the authorities are going to tackle the real infrastructure issues which will enable all property purchasers to acquire their Title Deeds.

    On present showing one has to be fearful that a good many property purchases will never receive their Title Deeds; perhaps the authorities are relying on purchasers to resolve their issues by expensive legal process.

    One is not impressed and that is putting it politely. KD.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Nigel. All that you say may be true, but the ‘unknown backlog’ would have to be of the order of 85,000 if the minister’s claim to clear the ‘known backlog’ (i.e. those where valid and clearable applications have been made) of 45,000 is accurate. The accepted total backlog based on a previous ministerial figure was 130,000.

  • @Steve – there is already a procedure in place to contest property values assigned by the Land Registry.

    Visit your local ‘Citizens’ Service Centre’ and they will be able to provide you with the details and help you complete the forms.

    Property Transfer Fees are assessed by the Land Registry on a property’s value at its date of purchase – revaluations will not affect this.

  • Steve says:

    Lumping together two issues in one speech as the Interior Minister does here (issue of title deeds and revaluation of properties) often results in one being ignored at the expense of the other. To right the balance somewhat, his comments on revaluation of property suggest the Minister has been smoking something interesting. The figures may well be published by the end of 2014, but that is just the beginning; they have been done in such a hurry that there will be plenty of mistakes, from which those profiting will keep quiet and those feeling badly done to will want to appeal. I haven’t seen any details of an appeals process, but if there is one it will take a long time and the question follows, naturally, on what basis will IPT and transfer taxes be charged in the meantime? In addition, the authorities will want to minimise the number of appeals so I would not be surprised to see an “appeal deposit” being charged, non-refundable in the case of a failed appeal.

    One final thought; at the last time of asking, many major developers had not paid last year’s IPT on any of their developments not as yet transferred to the rightful owners. I think that probably means that the majority of title deed transfers will remain on hold. I could suggest that the developers go and borrow from the banks to pay the IPT, but apparenty for some reason their creditworthiness is an issue.

  • @Denton Mackrell – Title Deeds can be issued regardless of developers’ mortgages and other charges lodged against them – BUT title to a property cannot be registered in the name of its rightful owner until these debts have been settled (plus any taxes owed).

    The remainder of unknown backlog, which has yet to be addressed, will include all those properties for which a Certificate of Final Approval has not been issued.

    So it could be that the developer has not applied for the Certificate, or has applied and been rejected, or it’s being considered as part of the ‘Town Planning Amnesty’ (or it’s not covered under the provisions of the Amnesty – or rejected).

    I had a call from someone yesterday who couldn’t get his deeds because his local council or the landowner hasn’t got the money to build a road that was required as one conditions on the building permit.

  • @UBoat – I’ve had an increasing number of enquiries from people who have been advised that the Title Deed for the property they purchased is available – asking how much their Property Transfer Fees are likely to be.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    So, if 45,000 or so will have been issued by year end, that must mean that some 85,000 remain in limbo owing to developer mortgages and other encumbrances. It does rather look as if the government is trying to airbrush this 85,000 out of the picture. And, as Nigel says, ‘issued’ does not mean ‘transferred to rightful owner’. I guess it is up to us all to make sure the world is constantly reminded of these ‘disappeared properties’ as one part of the Cyprus Property Scandal which is still alive and kicking.

  • Stuart says:

    @Costas.
    The reason the goalposts have disappeared is that the stadium has been changed.

  • stevie R says:

    I can not understand how a title deed can be issued if there are encumbrances preventing the transfer. The title deed may as well be issued to the developer who then could hold the purchaser to ransom. This in real terms renders the title deed of no value at all. I suppose it is a step in the right direction.

  • UBoat says:

    Dose any one on here know any one who has had their Title deeds issued as per the reports of late in the name of compliance with Troika ?
    I dont !!!!!

  • Paul says:

    How many more years will this go on for? What’s the point of the exercise anyway as so many properties have developer mortgages on them will little chance they will ever be paid back. No one will ever truly deeds that actually mean anything. The troika know this but must appear to be doing something and they have made a copy little arrangement with the government. It’s politicians looking after politicians!

  • Peter Davis says:

    Beggars the question. “If all that was needed was 12 young students to sort out the mess why wasn’t it done years ago?”

    When I went to the Land Registry at Paphos there were enough workers to run a small country. The numbers ran into several hundred.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    I can see some mirrors through the smoke, but the goalposts have disappeared.

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