HEAVY rainfall in recent weeks on an unfinished estate in Marathounda in Paphos is adding extra burdens on home buyers who for years have battled other structural and legal issues after the developer went bust.
Tens of thousands of litres of water have been gushing out of a recently installed water run off pipe constructed just behind the estate which is carving a huge gully into the soil. The water is also backing up behind the site’s retaining wall.
This is putting huge pressure on the structure and causing ground erosion and subsidence further down the site, according to residents.
Home buyer Lance Hames said that the water is breaching the retaining wall in parts and is also running under the site. Owners are appealing to the authorities to finally take action and move the pipe before part of the site is further destroyed.
“Most of the soil under the unfinished swimming pool at the bottom of the site has been washed away and it could collapse any day. The surface of the car park area is cracked and now at different levels, premises are being destroyed and this has to stop,” he told the Sunday Mail.
Hames said that the water is eating away the soil so quickly that it could also start to affect the ground under the main road just above the site.
For home buyers at the misnamed Paradise Hills development, which contains 49 units, the excess water is just one more hurdle in their nine-year uphill battle to get the site finished and obtain their title deeds.
An initial run-off pipe behind the site was closed off following complaints from Hames and others that the water was eroding the site. However, about six months later, another pipe was installed next to the site of the first one.
“The mukhtar said that the drainage pipe was nothing to do with the community board, but the water board. But the water board refuted this and said that the community board is responsible for the pipe,” he said.
UK resident Yvonne Ackrill owns an apartment at the bottom of the Paradise Hills site and said that recent heavy rain has caused huge amounts of water to be spewed out of the misplaced drainage pipe which has poured down the site, bombarding her property with enormous amounts of water.
Ackrill had just completed renovating her apartment when the latest disaster occurred. She had got rid of damp, which she initially believed was caused by condensation, re-plastered and painted. She also ripped out the original kitchen due to damp, leaving it to dry out through the summer, before fitting a new kitchen in September 2016.
“I managed to furnish it and finally stay in it 2016 eight years after its purchase,” she said.
However, on the penultimate night of her stay in December, heavy rain and thunderstorms undid all the work on her newly renovated home.
“I returned late at night to find water pouring in from under the new kitchen. It was pouring in quicker than I could sweep it up and I stacked everything as high as I could.”
Ackrill then had to lock up her apartment and spend her last night in Cyprus in a hotel, before returning to the UK; leaving a builder and plumber to sort out the mess.
Two days later, with no rain, the apartment had dried out.
“The pipe above the development is pouring water under the site, and it’s found a way out through my apartment,” she said.
Ackrill said that she felt overwhelmed by the latest blow and is appealing for the pipe to be removed and the course of the water changed so that it doesn’t flow through the development.
“I’ve got enough damage already and more weeks of wet weather are due. I feel like suing the authorities – I am so upset.”
The developer of Paradise Hills, MDB Properties Limited was dissolved and the company went into provisional liquidation in 2009 before the estate was finished. Most of the properties were sold to British buyers and Paradise Hills has featured on ITV’s Holiday Homes from Hell programme.
Home buyers are hoping that the Entrapped Purchaser’s Law passed in September 2015, will help them obtain their title deeds.
The law was passed to sort out the debacle which saw thousands of mainly expat home buyers, who had paid in full for properties in Cyprus during the building boom in the 2000s, left without title deeds either because the property was mortgaged by the developer, or the state could not go ahead with the transfer because of outstanding taxes.
Hames said that the community leader last year had also agreed to finish off the road to the complex, which belongs to the village, but has since disowned any responsibly.
“He won’t speak to us at all now. Lately, he said that we aren’t even part of the village, that we don’t come under his jurisdiction which isn’t true and is very hurtful,” he said.
Calls by the Sunday Mail to the community board of Marathounda, went unanswered, however, Paphos district officer, Mary Lambrou, said that the district office would carry out investigations at the site and perform the necessary checks. Measures would be taken to rectify the water pipe problem she said.