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Title deed event ‘sold out’

A proposed lecture on the thorny subject of title deeds which is due to take place in Paphos early in December has ‘sold out’ with all available seats booked within a week of its announcement.

Title deed event ‘sold out’ as buyers’ concerns mount amidst crisisACCORDING to Nigel Howarth, a Limassol based property advisor, who offers independent information and advice for Cyprus homebuyers and property investors, the lecture will focus on the efforts being made by the authorities to accelerate the issuance of title deeds and complications that have arisen as a result of the island’s economic crisis.

He said that along with disgruntled purchasers, the president of the Cyprus real estate agents’ association, Solomon Kourouklides, would be attending.

The lecture will be given by Andreas Symeou – a former senior officer with the Department of Lands and Surveys and is entitled, ‘The Title Deeds Problem: Efforts for accelerating their issuing and complications because of the economic crisis.’

The lecture will be followed by an open discussion on the issues faced by many in obtaining the deeds pertaining to property they purchased in Cyprus and how these may best be addressed.

Attendees will be asked to complete confidential questionnaires on their particular problems so that proposals to resolve them can be put to the authorities.

The questionnaire will cover a number of points including, what type of property was bought, the year the contract of sale was signed, if it’s a new or re-sale property, is there a title deed for the property and is it a clear title, as well as the reasons for it not being transferred into the purchasers name.

Howarth said that there were many outstanding issues and added that he believes ‘hidden mortgages’ are the key issue that the government must address.

“A number of property development companies have already gone into liquidation as a result of the economic meltdown and collapse of the property market. Liquidators, acting on behalf of the banks, have ‘requested’ those who have purchased property from those developers to pay a ‘contribution’ towards repaying the developer’s debt,” he said.

He added that one of island’s banks was being particularly aggressive and had approached purchasers directly demanding money in exchange for a waiver (release) from any claim that the bank has on the property.

Howarth said he believes this practice is ‘legalised extortion’.

“These people have already paid for their homes in full and the problem is totally due to the banks’ mismanagement; why should these people be expected to pay for the banks’ incompetence in running their businesses?

“While opposition parties play political games in parliament by delaying the implementation of the long-awaited foreclosures law, the banks are trying to grab every penny they can get from these vulnerable people.”

The lecture and discussion will take place on December 4 at the Technopolis 20 Cultural Centre in Paphos.

Readers' comments

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  • Andyp on 2014/11/26 at 12:11 pm – You’re absolutely correct.

    Article 10 of the Streets and Buildings Regulations Law, Cap. 96, provides that no person shall occupy, use or permit any other person to occupy or use any building, unless and until a certificate of approval has been issued in respect thereof by the appropriate authority.

    This law is (almost) universally ignored.

    There was a case back in 2007 when the Interior Ministry took the residents of a development in Armou to court for, “illegally living in their houses without title deeds“.

    The Ministry also started proceedings against the Church, accusing it of failing to obtain a completion certificate and title deeds for the 22 properties it had sold over ten years previously.

    The cases were dropped in 2008.

  • Andyp says:

    @Aggis

    No doubt Nigel will advise if wrong but the existing laws makes it illegal for us to be in occupation of our homes without a completion certificate.

    “Our” lawyers did not advise us of this.
    Developers simply ignore it.
    Government does not enforce it but rather makes money from it through the planning amnesty.

  • @David on 2014/11/24 at 3:35 pm – Long time no see! You may recall that following the meeting three of us saw the Finance Minister Michalis Sarris we prepared a report for him that was delivered at the start of 2008. Michalis was ousted when Catastofias won the election the following month – and we heard nothing more.

    Andreas headed up the legal team at the Department of Lands and Surveys in Nicosia and was the architect of the ‘new’ Specific Performance Law that came into effect in July 2011 (after the government had messed it about).

  • David says:

    @Peter Davis, the event you refer to was organised by Denis O’Hare and myself (the kilted one) one of the speakers then was Andreas Symeou who was at that time in charge at the department of Lands and Surveys Office in Paphos. Then was the time he could have influenced the necessary change but as we know there has been little change.

    I notice a lack of politicians speaking they are the ones who could change things, no doubt they were invited but like in 2007 when the Interior Minister declined to attend.

    You are correct in saying “Not much changes in Cyprus unless it’s to the advantage of the Government, banks or developers” although I would add the lawyers to the list. However how blind they are not to recognise the simple fact that until they (collectively) put their house in order by sorting the mess regarding the issue of title deeds there will little improvement in the Cyprus property market.

  • Peter Davis says:

    In 2007 CPAG organised a similar lecture at the Elysium Hotel (Lecturer Theater) Paphos, where 200 seats were allocated and booked with in the two weeks of being advertised.

    I went along with about 300 other people, many standing at the back, others in the doorway, with an overspill outside trying to listen. Out of all those attending only one pair of hands were raised when asked who had their title deeds.

    Not much changes in Cyprus unless it’s to the advantage of the Government, banks or developers

  • Jill says:

    Well done again Nigel. Let’s just hope that the ‘former officer of Dept. of Lands and Surveys’ actually tells the truth and doesn’t do the usual fudging that we normally come across. It’s time every owner of paid-up homes was given their Title Deeds – no ifs or buts, no nonsense about completion certificates. We all know these developers have no intention of completing developments. Completion or non-completion of a development should have no bearing on the matter. The villas are paid for – thus, by law, all Deeds should be issued.

    I’ve recently heard of one development where owners are actually having to pay for building permits because the developer never had a permit to build the villas they have paid for !!!!!!

  • Aggis Demetriou says:

    I blame fully the government on this, the town planners/ building control should inspect buildings at the time of them being built to planning regulations.
    Once completed a final certificate should be issued on satisfaction.
    Then the property should be offered for sale.
    This will save a lot of problems on issuance of titles.

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