Anyone who has dealt with the authorities in Cyprus will appreciate the paperwork and bureaucratic processes involved. But did you know that as many as 10 different permits from various local & central Government authorities may be required before a property can be legally built, owned and lived in!
You may also be surprised to learn that some property developers will sell property off-plan and start building before they are legally entitled to do so.
This can cause problems! For example, a couple signed a contract with a developer to buy a third floor apartment off-plan. Several months and stage payments later, the developer told them that they couldn’t have an apartment on the third floor, so they were changing the contract for one on the second floor. Needless to say the couple were very annoyed! They were absolutely furious when they discovered they couldn’t get out of their contract or get their money back! (Needless to say, they didn’t use an independent lawyer).
It subsequently transpired that the developer’s application to build a three storey block of apartments had been rejected by the authorities; permission was granted for a two storey block.
It is illegal to build without the required Town Planning & Building permits and it’s essential that your lawyer checks to see that they’ve been issued for the property you’re thinking of buying.
If permits have not been issued, you need to hold any money, such as deposits & stage payments, in escrow until the developer produces the permits to your lawyer. (Escrow is the holding of money and important documents related to the purchase and/or sales of a property by a neutral third party (the escrow officer) prior to the close of the transaction).
Article 10 of the Streets and Buildings Regulations Law, Cap. 96, states that no-one may occupy a building unless a Certificate of Approval for it has been issued by the appropriate authority!!. If the authorities decided to enforce that particular law, there wouldn’t be enough space in the prisons to hold all the offenders!