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Trapped buyers apply for title deeds

Around 4,000 ‘trapped buyers’ who have paid for their property but cannot get their Title Deeds have submitted applications since the ‘hidden mortgage’ law came into force on Thursday 3rd September.

Cyprus Title Deeds protestSOME 4,000 applications have been filed so far by people who paid for their property but did not have a title deed, either because it was mortgaged by the developer, or the state could not go ahead with the transfer because of outstanding taxes, head of the land registry Andreas Socratous said on Friday.

The law aiming to resolve the problem faced by thousands of buyers, foreign and local, was passed on Thursday, September 3, and came into force the next day after its publication in the Government Gazette.

The matter concerns some 78,000 cases of buyers who either do not have a title deed for various reasons or the property has not been transferred to their name.

The law aims to sort out the mess created by the failure to issue title deeds to people who paid for the property, either because the property was mortgaged by the developer, or the state could not go ahead with the transfer because of outstanding taxes.

Since developers’ land and buildings are counted as assets that need to be offset against their debt to banks, this gives lenders a claim on people’s properties that had been mortgaged by developers.

The law grants the head of the land registry department the authority to exempt, eliminate, transfer and cancel mortgages and or other encumbrances, depending on the case and under certain conditions.

The entire process takes around four months, provided local authorities issued the necessary certificates first.

Socratous urged municipalities to expedite their procedures.

“For the entire procedure to be completed, it goes without saying that first the title deed must be issued and to issue the deed the necessary certificates must be provided by municipal authorities and district administrations,” Socratous said.

“Local authorities must expedite the issuance of certificates that concern such cases so that people can benefit quickly,” he added.

To be able to apply, buyers must prove they have either paid the seller in full or only a small amount remained outstanding. Also, the sales contract must have been submitted to the land registry.

Further reading

For a guide to applying for the Title Deeds to the property you purchased, please see Apply for your Title Deeds now.

Readers' comments

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  • roger penwill says:

    Good Evening Nigel,
    I have just read your latest piece on 4,000 people applying for their Title Deeds through the hidden Mortgages Law. Having followed up the process myself I am anxious learn as much as possible about the subject. Can you please explain further the paragraphs regarding ‘the first title’ and the local authorities certificates being issued.
    Many thanks for your help.
    Roger Penwill

    (Editor’s comment: There are various certificates that the local authorities have to issue before a Title Deed can be issued. These include – Title Deed of the property (this will be for the larger plot on which the development has been built where appropriate), building permit, certificate of approval for the building, division permit (where appropriate).

  • Scruffy says:

    4000 applications seems inordinately low to me given there is so many awaiting deeds.

  • Martyn says:

    I applied in 2005 and just got them, good luck to all you’ll need it.

  • Deanna says:

    I applied last week: I’ve never seen so many people in my lawyers waiting room !

  • Martin says:

    Only 4,000, amazing ! The excuses begin from the Land Registry as to why it’s not going to happen:-

    “For the entire procedure to be completed, it goes without saying that first the title deed must be issued and to issue the deed the necessary certificates must be provided by municipal authorities and district administrations”.

    So who is going to make them provide the certificates ? They have already been sat on their hands for years……….

    I suspect this law is just more smoke and mirrors to fool the Troika, I will believe its usefulness when someone who has applied actually gets their Deeds.

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