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Armou family defy house ban order

A British family are the only permanent inhabitants living at the stricken development at Armou in defiance of an order banning them after their homes were declared unfit for habitation in November 2012.

DESPITE AN ORDER banning them from their home which has been condemned as unsafe, a defiant Paphos family of four is still living at a stricken development in Armou. They say they have no alternative and are looking to the state for compensation.

The plight of Simon Phillips and his family and other buyers was first highlighted in the Sunday Mail almost two and a half years ago. The luxury development built in 2004 is slipping down the hillside, having been constructed on land locals had long warned was unsafe.

The Phillips’ family are now the only permanent inhabitants and continue to defy an order banning them from their home, saying they have no alternative but to stay put.

“This is our home and it is bought and paid for. I have been told that I don’t qualify for state aid and even with reduced rents, we wouldn’t be able to afford to live anywhere else,” Phillips said:

“After all, we have a four bedroom house which was supposed to be a home for my family. All of our money has gone into this house.”

Four of the homeowners at the development are British and have described how their dreams of owning a home in Cyprus turned sour more than two years ago. A spate of bad weather on top of a persistent water leak caused substantial earth movement which badly damaged the houses in the development. Many houses looked as if they had been hit by an earthquake.

Phillips and his family are now the only permanent residents and say daily life is a massive strain, especially for the children.

“My 14-year-old daughter is afraid to be on her own in the house and the situation is obviously affecting her badly. We can’t have friends over – neither our kids’ friends nor ours – as it’s not safe and it’s embarrassing the way we have been forced to live.”

Built by JNM developers a decade ago, all of the houses have serious structural problems, from slanting floors, to the partial collapse of stairs, walls, swimming pools and patio areas. Huge gaping holes surround Phillip’s house and outside drains are exposed in one garden and retaining walls have split.

JNM has never responded to any requests for a comment on the Armou homes, despite repeated telephone calls and emails since the Mail first reported on the case two and a half years ago.

Phillips bought his house in June 2008. Just four years later, his garden, pool area and exterior retaining walls were covered by gaping holes and wide cracks.

A report by the chairman of Paphos’ Architects and Civil Engineers Association, Chrysostomos Italos was completed in June 2012. Italos places the blame firmly on the developer.

A number of the homeowners, including Phillips, have issued court proceedings against the developer.

Armou ban order

Readers' comments

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  • JustSomeone says:

    @Richard. Yes Richard. You have been targeted. As if all the Cypriots have title deeds and as if only British bought a home on this development.

  • Richard says:

    “As in most cases the Brits will not stand shoulder to shoulder and fight and a lot of lives will be ruined even further.”

    @Stevie R – spot on!!

    That is one of the biggest problems in my view – and I am going to say it – wussy Brits!

    Regarding this whole disastrous debacle – the lack of social cohesion amongst citizens of the UK I think is the major reason brokers of dubious moral ethics and the lawyers, bankers, developers and government of the Republic Of Cyprus saw us coming. “Sell them to the Brits – if anything goes wrong – we can pick them off one by one – they’ll never speak out for one another”. And so far – they have been proven right! “Great” Britain – 65 m people where the only ones who seem to bind together are pockets of immigrants.

  • @stevie R – It’s essential that the home loan lender inspect progress to ensure each stage of the build has been completed before releasing further sums of money.

    So the bank, as the lender, should have checked.

    But it sounds from what you say that they put the onus on you to check things were progressing satisfactorily before releasing funds. (But I suspect that the bank would have some control over who payments from the account were made to).

    (Incidentally you had a ‘home loan’ not a mortgage, I’m currently writing an article explaining the difference.)

  • stevie R says:

    @Nigel – When the bank lend/loan money to a client in the form of a mortgage should the bank check that the funds are being used for purpose. In my case I borrowed 50 per cent of the build cost for my villa. The funds were put into a loan account and I could draw down on this when a stage payment to the builder became due. No checks or site visits were made by the bank on their behalf. In short I could have used those funds for any purpose I felt fit.

    The lack of due diligence by the banks comes to mind again.

  • @kufrahdog – Assuming that the engineer is content with the completed work, he is required to sign it off so that the next phase in issuing Title Deeds may proceed.

    The Planning Authority check is a statutory requirement instigated by a request from the person in whose name the building permit was issued.

    Providing the Planning Authority finds that the conditions of the planning permit have been adhered to, it will issue a ‘Certificate of Final Approval’.

    Once this Certificate has been issued, the Land Registry can start the process of issuing a Title Deed for the property(ies) concerned.

    (Note that there is no compulsion on the person in whose name the permit was issued to request the Planning Authority check).

  • kufrahdog says:

    @ Nigel re yours at 1007 pm.

    “… and they will employ a structural engineer who signs off the plans once the development is finished.” – is this a legal / regulatory requirement or merely custom and practice?

    “All the Planning Authority does is check that the development, once completed, conforms to the various permits issued for its construction.” again, is this a legal / regulatory requirement or merely custom and practice?

    These are important points and so your clarificationwould be welcomed. KD.

  • Peter Davis says:

    To become a Real Estate Agent you need qualifications at university level. To have a proven track record and at one time fluent in Greek (to keep it in the family as that is where the money was made off “Daft Brits”).

    To become a developer you need a couple of blocks and some bags of cement.

    The first has a lawyer (English trained) to protect their rights.

    The second has the local authority? So where were the protectors in this case? So who will pay the family money to cover their losses.

    My heart goes out to them.

  • @stevie R – I understand that arrest warrants were issued for Mills, but the police “couldn’t find him”. All the police need to do now is issue a European Arrest Warrant (assuming he’s facing a criminal prosecution) – or perhaps an Interpol Red Notice.

    (Someone else who contacted me about Mills said that he fled to the occupied area and made his way back to the UK from there.)

  • @Adrian – As everyone has come to understand the planning and inspection process is different in Cyprus than in the UK (and possibly many other countries).

    In Cyprus it is the developer who has overall responsibility for ensuring the construction is up to standard – and they will employ a structural engineer who signs off the plans once the development is finished.

    All the Planning Authority does is check that the development, once completed, conforms to the various permits issued for its construction.

    As we all know there are major flaws in the system – and it’s the responsibility of the government to remove these flaws through appropriate legislation. (It may be worthwhile suing the government as it is ultimately responsible for causing this situation).

  • stevie R says:

    Further to my last post I would like to add something else which will highlight the situation even further. I am one of the purchasers of a property which was part of the Cowboy Builders Abroad program shown recently. Nigel posted a You Tube link on a recent posting. In this program the developer Adrian Mills openly admitted on national television that he / his solicitor and the bank altered a clients bank draft made out to the company and then made it in favour of himself and also made it payable in cash to his personal account.

    How can this man or the other people involved still be walking the streets. All the evidence is there for these people to be arrested and charged but as usual nothing will be done.

    What chance does anybody stand.

  • Adrian says:

    The municipality planning dept are as incompetent as the builders and developers for granting planning permission on what is a bad site. While the builder is responsible for the standard of construction the local planning officer should see that the construction is up to standard. The Phillips have been let down by everyone connected to this house. The very least that jnm could do is return the money paid or offer a suitable replacement, but that sounds like a just and ethical practice which is totally alien on this island. I think that we should all go and visit JNM and see if we get a response!!

  • stevie R says:

    Why is it that when stories like this get highlighted nothing get done. This company is still trading but offer no explanation or help to these families. It is the same with other horror stories and again they just seem to melt away. If somebody has a NPL then the banks make it a national headline and resort to threatening behaviour.

    So many NPL have been caused by the lack of due diligence on behalf of the banks, solicitors and local planning authorities that allow these houses to be built. Once anything goes wrong then the blame is passed around like a hot potato and if you pass it around long enough the potato goes cold.

    Once the first case is granted against a foreign national and in favour of the bank then all hell will break loose and the flood gates will open. As in most cases the Brits will not stand shoulder to shoulder and fight and a lot of lives will be ruined even further.

  • @Robert Briggs – If you read the article, the company responsible is JNM developers. Their contact details are as follows:

    JNM 4U DEVELOPMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS LTD
    Tombs of the Kings Road,
    Royal Complex, shop 23, 24,
    8046 Kato Paphos
    Cyprus

    Tel: +357 26944085
    Fax: +357 26947030
    Mob: +357 99483429
    Website: http://www.jnm4udevelopers.com
    Email: [email protected]

    One of their advertisements says:

    “At J.N.M. 4U Developing Ltd we pride ourselves on having a feast of land and property that will suit your budget and meet with your individual demands, inspiring you to create the home you’ve always dreamt of exclusive developers of Estate Luxury homes!”

  • Robert Briggs says:

    I would like to know the names and companies, of the Lawyers, Civil Engineers, Architects, Sales Agent/s and the other *entities (*that is putting it politely! RB.) involved in this disgrace. RB.

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