An amendment to the law regarding the issuing of title deeds for property buyers is being sought by a DISY deputy in an effort to combat the huge delays facing property buyers caused by the recent property boom.
Last October, a law was passed with the aim of speeding up and simplifying the complicated procedure. But one year on, it has proved to be ineffective, with many people complaining that they are not receiving their deeds within the time period promised.
According to Ionas Nicolaou of DISY, the relevant authorities were not even aware of the change.
“Buyers were informed that they could go to the Land Registry and present a certificate of approval for the building work issued by the Interior Ministry’s Town Planning and Housing Department,” he told the Cyprus Mail. “They would then receive their deeds not more than a year later. Incredibly though, officials at the Land Registry were not notified of the changes and sent people away saying they could not register their claims for deeds.”
Nicolaou says he immediately met with then Interior Minister Andreas Christou asking for clarification on the situation and began working on a new bill whereby buyers would be able to have a title deed issued regardless of whether the vendor is willing.
George Coucounis, a lawyer specialising in the field, has said that when somebody has not received their deed, legal action has to be taken against the vendor with the appointment of a third party who would issue title deeds on behalf of the vendor. To be able to take such action, special provisions had to be included in the purchase contract, which should also have been submitted to the District Land Office within a specified time period.
But Nicolaou’s bill involves no legal action, “which is too time-consuming, expensive and complicated.” He is proposing that, “a buyer has the opportunity to apply to the Land Registry for the deed on presentation of Town Planning’s certificate of approval,” adding that, “in the case of a block of flats, the block must be divided into separate flats, with each buyer receiving a separate deed. As the law currently stands, only the developer can apply for the deeds and not the individual buyers.”
Nicolaou will be meeting with the Land Registry Department within the next fortnight to discuss his proposed bill, “and we will proceed if everything goes according to plan,” he said.“It is a huge issue that needs to be addressed, with stories of people waiting 19 years to receive their deeds not uncommon.”
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