Action can be taken through the courts to ensure receipt in a reasonable time to get there hands on long-awaited title deeds, home buyers should seek a court order which obliges the seller to take all duly and necessary actions to obtain the requested permits and approvals including the necessary application for the issuance of separate title deeds within a specified time limit.Those buying homes from developers often have to wait years for the issuance of title deeds because of the complicated system in place. A developer will mortgage an entire property and then sell it off in pieces, however the developer himself will not get the title deeds until the entire amount has been paid off, delaying their issuance to buyers.
However, law 96 (I)/97 gives the court the authority to issue an order against the obliged vendor and to put him under the court’s observance, so within a reasonable time limit, such as six months, separate title deeds are issued. This remedy can be used by any immovable property purchaser who has deposited his sale contract with the District Land Office and has been waiting for years for the vendor to issue separate title deeds. Through this procedure, the court is able to order the issue of separate title deeds on the immovable property sold without a title deed, before the claim for the specific performance of the sale contract. The sale contract, upon its deposit with the District Land Office within the two-month legally defined time limit from the date of signing, creates an estate in land over the piece of land on which the immovable property in question has been constructed or forms part of.For the above mentioned law to be implemented in a particular case, the purchaser has to take legal action against the vendor with a claim that mentions the facts and which requests the court to control the vendor’s actions or to appoint any other appropriate person to issue the separate title deeds in the name of the vendor. In this way, if after the issuance of the separate title deeds the vendor does not transfer the purchased immovable property into the purchaser’s name, then the latter could again request the court to order the specific performance of the sale contract, thus to order the Director of the District Land Office to register the purchased immovable property in the name of the purchaser without the participation of the vendor. The specific performance of the sale contract order cannot be issued unless a separate title deed has been issued and as long as the vendor continues to deny or neglect to transfer the purchased immovable property.
The conditions which the relevant law sets for the court to be able to issue the order for the vendor or to appoint another appropriate person for the issuance of the separate title deeds are the following:
- the immovable property sold under the sale contract must not have a separate title deed, thus must be part of the immovable property of the vendor (other from the undivided share)
- the vendor must purposely make the separate registration impossible
- the vendor must neglect to make all necessary actions for the issuance of the separate title deeds or to take all necessary steps for the obtainment of the necessary certificates, permits or approvals for the issuance of the separate title deeds
- the vendor refuses without any excuse to make the necessary actions for the issuance of a separate title deeds or to take the necessary steps for the obtainment of the necessary certificates, permits or approvals necessary for the issuance of the separate title deeds.
If the first and one of the three other conditions apply then the court has the discretion and it can exercise it so as to secure the issuance of separate title deeds. Before it issues the order, the court takes into consideration the behaviour of the vendor until the trial. If the reason for not issuing the separate title deeds is attributed to the liability or negligence of the vendor, the court is also able to intervene with the issuance of an order. If the vendor does not comply with the order within the specified time limit then he will be guilty of court order disobedience, with the due consequences. For such an offence, the court has the authority to punish the vendor by imposing his imprisonment.
By George Coucounis – an Advocate – Lawyer practising in Larnaca. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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