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Three hundred thousand lost sheep

The Auditor General’s report for 2013 states that more than three hundred thousand owners of property in Cyprus cannot be taxed on their property as the Land Registry has no way of knowing who they are.

Three hundred thousand lost sheepFOLLOWING the article we published last year (Land Registry myth exploded) the Auditor General’s report for 2013 reveals that the government is unable to collect taxes from some 305,000 people because Land Registry records do not contain their ID card numbers.

Of those 305,000 approximately 207,000 are owned by Greek Cypriots according to Land Registry figures at July 2014.

The 1980 taxable value of these properties amounts to €1.7 billion representing 10.1% of the total taxable values of all properties, which amounts to €16.5 billion.

Furthermore, as Land Registry taxable values are used to assess local property taxes, municipal taxes, sewerage system charges, etc., both the government and local authorities are being denied significant amounts of money.

In his report Auditor General General Odysseas Michaelides recommends that the relevant government and local authority departments work together and develop a plan to resolve the problem with the help of the property owners themselves.

Title Deeds backlog

Michaelides was pessimistic that the Land Registry could achieve the target agreed between the Troika and the government to reduce the Title Deed backlog to less than 2,000 cases pending for more than a year by 31st December.

He reported that during the first six months of 2014 a mere 7,014 Title Deeds were issued and, by 11th July, a further 23,300 remained in the queue waiting to be issued.

Readers' comments

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  • Josh says:

    Does this suggest that the land registry personnel have 305,000 friends and relatives.
    Good call!

  • @Whirlybird Rtd on 2014/12/17 at 1:57 pm – The Land Registry will certainly have your details. When you purchased the property your passport number will have been recorded on your sale agreement.

    You will find a blow-by-blow account of the Land Registry steps – Creating and issuing Title Deeds.

  • Whirlybird Rtd says:

    Baa Baa Black sheep. I know from my experience with the Land registry and other government offices that they have always asked for my ID/ passport No for their records or to find out who I am! On October 22nd 2014 I went to the Land Registry ( giving my ID) to find out if our site had a request for a completion certificate to be told that it was going through the channels at this moment in time, call back in two weeks. I left it 3 weeks, yes it does have a completion certificate but don’t know if it has any encumbrances as the file is not here at the moment, call back in two weeks. Two weeks later still no file to show. But it was known from my name and address that our site did have a completion certificate. The jury is still out.

  • Stuart says:

    The Land Registry seems to know how many owners (305,000) cannot be identified and, out of these, how many (207,000) are Greek Cypriots, so why were their ID card numbers never recorded when they became the ‘owners’ of land or property? Isn’t this a dereliction of duty on the part of Land Registry employees to have failed to record this vital information and hence deprived the government of a tenth of its potential revenue from property taxation?

    As for the Title Deeds backlog, there was never any doubt that the Land Registry would be unable to comply with the target deadline set by the Troika to reduce the backlog to under 2,000 cases by the end of 2014. Nevertheless, at least 7,000 have been issued out of the 30,000 outstanding, so less than 23,000 left to go! These will be accommodated by the usual rehashing of the MoU as there is no way on earth that Cyprus will be allowed to exit the euro-zone and ruin the United States of Europe dream.

  • Mike says:

    So what we claim to be one of the finest Land Registry systems in the world is proven to be clearly not.

    It does beg the question what ministers responsible and the leaders of the armies of civil and public servants do all day if what they are charged to do remains unfinished or incomplete. The numbers seem astounding. If we estimate a population of a million max. Half will, lets assume, be children leaving 500K adults. If half of those live in jointly owned property that’s 250K properties. It doesn’t stack up. I appreciate its not very scientific but but something just doesn’t seem right even accounting for foreign buyers. 305,000 people, as reported, could potentially equate to 152K properties assuming all were inhabited by couples for the sake of argument. That’s a large portion of total properties. I’m bemused!

  • Steve R says:

    I would like to see them sort out my situation I find myself in. I live on a site of 7 properties that have just been left to rot. The builder did a runner a few years ago leaving the site and the properties unfinished. No road, no retaining walls, no electricity and the list goes on. The properties have no re-sale value at all and the chance of getting a completion certificate is zero.

    The authorities will not work with the remaining residents to try and separate the individual plots so what can we do. We are not waiting for our title deeds because we cannot get a completion certificate. It now emerges that these properties should never have been built on the type of ground in the area. How many more people are in this situation on the island.

  • Peter Davis says:

    I bet they all have electricity and a phone.

    Now if AIK or Cyta were SGO’s the Government would be able to see who pays the bills.

    Or you could just knock on the door and ask to speak to the owner?

    So difficult, best to give up now and just let the rest pay a higher price to cover the shortfall.

  • MartynG says:

    Oh, Hello – it’s seems to be April 1st again! The sloppiness of yet another Public ‘Service’ (ha!) means the Land Registry – no less – doesn’t have a clue who owns 307,000 properties on the island, so not only IPTs but also local authority taxes are not ‘collectable’!. They could try getting some of their well paid employees ‘on their bikes, in their BMWs, tractors whatever and start knocking on doors ASAP. Christmas should be cancelled and no ‘overtime’ paid.

    Oh and < 21,000 Title Deeds pledged by the Land Registry to the Troika would be issued by 31st December, 2014 so far haven't been. Presumably jeopardising the release of further Troika funds. What a shambles!

  • @Frank on 2014/12/16 at 3:22 pm – Why not put liens (memos) on all of the delinquent properties?

    1. To lodge a memo you need a judgement from a court.

    2. To get a judgement from a court you to bring an action against the ‘delinquent’.

    3. That court action must be successful with the judge ruling in favour of the creditor and issuing a court judgement.

    4. The delinquent must be given the opportunity to defend him/her self when the case is heard.

    5. They cannot identify the delinquent because they do not have his/her ID number.

  • Frank says:

    “…the relevant government and local authority departments work together and develop a plan to resolve the problem WITH THE HELP OF THE PROPERTY OWNERS THEMSELVES. (Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides)

    You CANNOT be serious! (John McEnroe)

    Why not put liens (memos) on all of the delinquent properties: all 305,000 of them? Then prosecute the liens.

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