When buying property in Cyprus, you will invariably come into contact with the odd ‘crook’ who will try to relieve you of your money.
Approved by parliament at the end of 2004, the new Estate Agents’ Law was designed to protect property buyers from these rogues and conmen. Unfortunately, the law has proved ineffective and there are still many (mainly foreign) people being conned out of their money by unscrupulous property middlemen.
Property middlemen receive a commission or finders fee from the developer or agent when they introduce a client. Some of these middlemen insist on taking you to their homes to meet their family and enjoy some of the famous Cypriot hospitality. Placing your trust in these people is, to say the least, extremely foolish!
It’s a sad fact of life, but many retired Britons in Cyprus act as property middlemen, preying on the fears (and wallets) of their fellow countrymen. Just like the Cypriot middlemen, these also receive a finders fee, commission, or consultancy fee from their ‘friends’ in the property business when they introduce a client.
It makes no difference whether you allowed yourself to be conned by an affable and generous Cypriot or a silver tongued Briton acting illegally, the end result will be exactly the same!
Who can you trust?
Legally practicing Estate Agents are registered with the CREAA (Cyprus Real Estate Agents Association). They are required to carry professional indemnity insurance and operate to a defined code of conduct.
To find out whether or not the estate agent you are dealing with is registered, ask to see their Registration Certificate; this contains their name and registration number.
If you have any doubts as to whether the estate agent you are dealing with is registered, here are a couple of useful addresses.
Cyprus Real Estate Agents Association (CREAA)
17 Hadjiloizi Michaelides Street
P.O. Box 50563
Tel: 25 367467
Board for the Registration of Real Estate Agents
P.O. BOX 21455
Tel: 22 666377
Trustworthy property consultants are members of FIABCI – the International Real Estate Federation. Although legally, they cannot advertise themselves as Estate Agents, they are bound by an international code of ethics. A number of registered Estate Agents are also members of FIABCI.