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Grim outlook for Paradise Hills buyers

The outlook looks bleak for buyers on the unfinished Paradise Hills estate at Marathounda in Paphos as the development company, MDB properties, is in provisional liquidation despite their appeals to the Bank of Cyprus.

BUYERS of properties at an unfinished development in Paphos are appealing to the authorities to step in and find a way to reach a solution which will allow them to retain and complete their homes after the developer went bust and is believed to have fled to the UK.

However, the future looks bleak, as the company – MDB properties – is now in provisional liquidation.

Buyers at the mis-named Paradise Hills estate in Marathounda are desperate to save their homes. They told the Sunday Mail that they hoped the Bank of Cyprus (BoC) the holders of the company’s loans, would communicate with them and lift the lien, which they say has been placed on the development by the bank at the land registry.

However, BoC spokesman Costas Archimandrites said that there was nothing the bank could do, as legally, all communication in such cases, must be made through the company’s administrators or liquidators.

The Cyprus Mail first covered the owners’ plight four years ago and it was subsequently filmed for a UK TV show – ITV’s Holiday Homes from Hell. [See below].

One of the site’s few residents, Lance Hames, said that since then buyers have remained in a state of limbo.

Lance and Tracey Hames sank all of their money into their ‘dream home’ and paid the equivalent of around €240,000 for their villa. MDB Properties Limited was dissolved in 2009. The couple paid their last instalment just a few months before MDB went into administration.

Hames said the levels of stress which buyers have been forced to face along with shattered dreams and an effective loss of huge amounts of cash has had a profound and negative impact on everyone.

“This is a ridiculous situation and we just want a solution; we need the bank to negotiate. Everything I have is invested here and the problems are always at the back of our minds. Two or three families have already broken up because of the strain. It’s putting a tremendous financial hardship on everyone.”

Owners at Paradise Hills waited for almost two years for MDB’s then administrator – One World – to come up with a rescue plan which included property owners coughing up on average an extra €10,000 each to finish the site, but they were subsequently informed that the bank has decided not to go ahead with the deal. One World informed the Cyprus Mail that it has since withdrawn itself.

A spokesman for the bankruptcies and liquidations section at the Registrar of Companies confirmed that they were the provisional liquidator for MDB developers.

He said: “An official liquidator will have to be appointed, this will probably be a private company and will take some time as it’s a complicated case.”

He noted that a meeting of creditors and shareholders must be held first, which could take as long as the beginning of 2015 to occur. “It will be down to the bank to decide how much they need for the loans and all the owners can do is wait,” he said.

Hames said leaving buyers in limbo was illogical and that the best solution for everyone would be for the bank to release the charges and let them get on with finishing the site.

“There are two non performing toxic loans and the developer has gone bust, the current impasse doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Although 33 of the 46 or so units have been sold, only three are now permanently occupied, according to 77-year-old resident John Rowles. The ex-British Army serviceman, who once served in Cyprus, is the only resident in his block of flats and the lower part of the development.

“Some people have had enough and walked away. The prospect of getting our title deeds seems even further away.

Even though I love Cyprus and I love living here as it’s bright and I have wonderful views of the countryside, the development needs an enormous amount of work to put things right,” he said.

“I’m from a generation that was brought up to make the most of a bad situation and that’s what I’m trying to do. I have a roof over my head, but we have been well and truly shafted.”

Rowles paid the equivalent of around €90,000 for his apartment in 2006.

“I can’t see how this can be resolved. This wasn’t the way I imagined myself living when I retired,” he added.

The ghostlike estate is deteriorating badly in many parts, with staircases collapsing and dozens of properties lying empty.

Last October, the BoC petitioned a bankruptcy order which was issued against company director Martin Dean Bissenden, which was made at Canterbury Crown Court in Kent. This followed a statutory demand made by the bank on Biessenden for £2.4m in October 2012.

Hames said he is angered by the situation and believes both the BoC and government legislation is preventing him and others from selling his own property – through no fault of his own – and says they have all been badly let down.

“We are stranded and trapped in a nightmare which was once a dream. The bank should never have given these loans out. The surety of only eight properties isn’t enough to cover it. The rest were already been bought and paid for.”

Hames says that although he tries to maintain the estate as best he can, it’s an uphill struggle. The entrance road was recently concreted, at a cost of €2,000. This was paid for by a number of the owners. Overgrown weeds were also cleared at their expense.

The disgruntled buyer said that he understands that an alternative outcome could see the bank attempt to auction the project off to a developer as they own the land, but as the buyers own most of the properties, the developer would have to reimburse them with the entire amount they paid for their homes.

“All the properties would be able to claim and it would be very expensive, no one in their right mind is going to do that,” he said.

Life is Hell in Paradise Hills

Readers' comments

Comments on this article are no longer being accepted.

  • Glad to be out says:

    So sorry to be reading this and I honestly feel for these people. We lived there for two years and had all sorts of problems – ripped off left, right and centre!!

    DO NOT BUY IN CYPRUS! The developers basically have the courts in their back pockets so there is no law and you could easily lose everything – it’s so corrupt from greed. Real shame.

  • Martin B says:

    Nobody has commented on the penultimate paragraph starting “The disgruntled buyer…..”.

    It goes on to say “the developer would have reimburse them with the entire amount they paid for their homes” – in this country, dream on!

    Does whoever said that really think the Liquidator would be able to sell the project if that was the case ? Probably wouldn’t even be able to give it away!

  • pils says:

    Reply to Idrish

    Our local solicitor dealt with our family asset protection trust, he sorted out our requirements and particulars, relevant to meet our family needs and safe guard our family, against future debts, home etc. within the criteria of the trust.

    Find a reputable solicitor who deals with asset protection family trust. Useful information is sourced and available on the website.

    Make sure you have a protection trust in place before action is taken by Cyprus banks in the future.

    If action is already taken by the Cyprus bank to recover NPL relating to mortgage in default then action now will possibly be too late.

  • idrish says:

    Hi Guys
    Question for Phil,
    We are pretty much in the same boat as you. Do you have a contact for Asset Protection you have obtained to protect your assets in the UK?
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks

  • MartynG says:

    Paradise Lost.
    Utopian Nightmare.

    The (mainly) Cyprus bankers, developers, lawyers, ‘estate agents’ , collectively, have created these messes, whilst various governments have simply ‘looked on’: sadly there are many, many more corrupt cases still to be ‘uncovered’. The once-good (but clearly over-blown) reputation of Cyprus as an Aphroditean Paradise island is slowly being demolished, the continuing adverse publicity will increase, those worst affected will, sadly, continue to suffer – even those of us wise enough or lucky enough to buy resales with Title will see our property values continue to fall as the RoC reputation continues to spiral downwards, fast becoming recognised as just another hellhole in the sun.

  • Mike says:

    Let this be a lesson, as if another is needed, to any prospective buyers – this is not uncommon and will continue in one form or another, as it has for centuries, in spite of any regulation or guidance to stop it. It will not. Its a national sport.

  • Costas a fortune says:

    There is also another couple of sites owned by Alpha Panareti and supposedly funded by Alpha Bank in Paphos that are subject to court cases and where the sites are half built or not even started! Brits are trying to claim money back from Cypriot Lawyers that certainly didn’t act in their clients best interests (The Cyprus Bar does nothing) the Alpha bank has broken many banking rules and paid money to developers before work was at the correct levels, and dodgy developers who actually appeared on a BBC documentary which was called A five Hundred Million property fraud . This island has had it’s blood sucked by leeches and is starting to suffer because of it. A word of warning DO NOT BUY ON THIS CORRUPT ISLAND.

  • James gibbs says:

    Simply do not buy in Cyprus. They are the most untrustworthy people you can imagine.

  • Peter says:

    The only safe way to buy property in Cyprus, is by resale with title deeds, any other way, you will get ripped off. I bought resale without title deeds, but was lucky to sell just before the developer went bankrupt. The other people in properties beside mine were not so lucky.

  • pils says:

    Always someone worse off that yourself.

    Reading many comments and peoples concerns, I possibly consider my own financial predicament healthier than others, however still in default and losing lots of money.

    Have decided to invest money into a UK protection scheme in UK against my home and assets (Asset protection trust) before the banks in Cyprus pursue me for my hard earned money.

    Banks, developers, lawyers and government officials are in each others pockets and have reaped the benefit from foreigners and hard earning Cypriots.

    No longer do I view Cyprus as a paradise but infested full of Parasites and Tarantulas in authority and doggy business.

  • Peter Davis says:

    @ George.

    It’s not just the developers. The politicians and civil servants enjoy a standard of living and job security that the rest of us really can’t afford to carry on subsidising.

  • George says:

    And the developers live like kings on Cyprus. Who in their right mind will invest in Cyprus ?

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