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Local authorities obstructing Title Deeds

Local authorities are preventing the Land Registry from issuing Title Deeds to trapped buyers by refusing to issue Certificates of Approval for properties suffering from trivial planning infringements.

Title DeedsLOCAL authorities hinder the process of issuing Title Deeds to trapped buyers, the interior minister said on Thursday, despite legislation passed by parliament in 2015.

The law affects 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.

Socratis Hasikos told MPs that “local authorities have not cooperated to the degree they ought to in order to free the owners.”

For example, he said, a municipality refused to issue final approval for a completed apartment building, either because the developer did not construct a pavement or a green area.

“We have a big problem with local authorities,” the minister said. “It is a matter we must tackle because people should not remain trapped over small issues.”

The law aimed 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 gave 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 was meant to take around four months, provided local authorities issued the necessary certificates first.

Readers' comments

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  • embapaphos says:

    Cannot agree more with most comments here, joke that the wrong doings of the vendor are passed to the shoulders of the unsuspecting buyer…suffice to say I have got deeds via the trapped buyer law albeit tainted (cant sell or re-mortgage) had had no written advice on how to proceed in getting these “cleaned” all I was told was sort out the issue that affects all properties on your block, or sue the developer, or even do nothing!

    Ed: You’ll need to speak with the local authority planning department to find out what the problem is. But it’s probably best if your Management Committee chairman investigates as he/she will be representing all of you.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Here we are in 2016, (nearly 2017), and no one in the Cypriot Government or the Cypriot authorities has even mentioned the need to move to a property conveyancing system where title deeds are issued at the point of sale / transfer into the name of the new owner, as is the case in most civilised European countries.

    This is an easily achievable step for Cyprus to take, to bring itself in line with the rest of the EU, and yet it does nothing about it, despite the fact that such a simple step would vastly improve trust and re-invigorate the tainted property market in Cyprus.

    You have to ask yourself why this is, and who’s vested interests the current broken situation serves.

  • Who Gives says:

    The problem with Cyprus is that the whole legal system is a farce that the title deeds fiasco is still a money making business for the corrupt establishment.

    Until Cyprus changes it way now they will never move forward to kick start a tin pot property market that has been struggling for the last 9 years with bad press on the title deeds scams, and corruption.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Steve, Gary & Collette, I think your examples more than confirm what I wrote on November 4th despite the editor’s comments to the contrary.

  • Steve says:

    The Trapped Buyers Law is a farce. I applied with all the paperwork in order around six months ago. Now the land Registry, without communicating with me at all, has apparently given my title deeds to the developer, who has written to me demanding over €1,000 before passing them on to me.

    Cyprus stinks!!!

  • Gary says:

    Colette, likewise. After completing our pavement we are now being asked for money to tarmac a section of road external to our development as it was part of the planning permission. But here’s the rub. The local authority has since concreted the road and the Paphos District Office admit it is now unlikely they will tarmac the road but they would like use (the residents) to give them the money in advance just in case they decide to at ‘some point in the future’. This really is taking it too far. We are seeking legal support on this one.

  • Colette says:

    We are being offered our title deeds with notes. Municipality wants €12,500 from each of us to complete a roadway we don’t and will never actually use at all. However worst of all…the builder is still in business and the municipality has decided to attach the debt to the buyers and not the builder. How legal is that?

  • Costas Apacket says:

    The local authorities never expected that people currently waiting for Title Deeds would be so resolute.

    They expected them to pay up, give up and lose all of their capital so the usual suspects could profit from their loss.

    They are still clinging to their xenophobic attitudes about who should own their own little piece of Cyprus.

    Ed: Many more Cypriots are having problems getting their deeds than foreigners. A chap in Nicosia who I’ve been advising for over a year was issued with the deeds to his neighbours property initially – it’s now been sorted. (He has a problem with his boundary wall).

  • Aggis Demetriou says:

    As I’ve said many times before this mess can easily be prevented all future developments should be examined while being built just like in The UK by the authorities once completed a final approval certificate will follow within 2 days, if the building is not built to standards or planning the project is stopped.

    The problems faced here is not the Land Registries it’s the local authorities issuing final approval certificates, why can’t Hasikos understand this?

  • Who Gives says:

    We still waiting for Planning approval for the 2 years for a property paid in full that due to an out dated process that need to come in line with the rest of Europe.

    What chance have you got if the local authorities are not compiling to the law that was implemented in 2015 to not impact the rightful owners who have paid for a property in full to receive there title deeds.

  • Gary says:

    We’ve just completed a short pavement on our development at a cost of €3,000 as we attempt to obtain our final certificate- developer long gone. The pavement is pointless and will never be walked on. The authorities need to understand the situation residents are left with and offer more flexibility. It is in all our interests to complete developments and gain title.

  • Celia Allan says:

    But he hasn’t said what he proposes to do about the problem.

    Ed: I expect we’ll know soon.

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