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Thursday 16th July 2020
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Can the Property Developer Do This?

Question

I recently put a deposit on property in Cyprus; an apartment in Paphos. It’s a resale property that was bought by the present owners off plan.

Unfortunately the developer who built the apartment is being awkward and is reluctant/refusing to sign the release(?) agreement. Can he do this? I understand the property is registered at the Land Registry in the seller’s name.

Answer

Whether the property developer can do this depends on the contract between him and the people you are buying from. Their contract should contain a ‘right to sell’ clause, which will look something like the following:

“If at any time after the signing of the present agreement the Purchasers desires to sell the said Property, they will have an absolute right in doing so as they are deemed to be the beneficial owners of the Property providing that the Purchasers have fulfilled all their obligations as herein provided. The Vendors shall be obliged and cannot in any way object to and /or deny and/or withhold their consent to sign any necessary cancellation contract and new contract of sale with the new purchaser/s, provided that the vendors shall not be liable for any taxes and/or other related expenses as a result of such transaction.”

If the contract contains such a clause, the developer cannot refuse. (If he does, the people from whom you are buying can sue the developer for breach of contract and claim damages against him).

On the point about the property being registered in the seller’s name, I do not believe this to be the case. If it were, the sellers would not have to involve the developer in the sale and this situation would not have arisen. I suspect that their contract has been deposited at the Land Registry for what is known as ‘Specific Performance’; this is not the same as having ownership of the property registered in their name.

I suggest you ask the people who are selling you the property to read through their contract and speak with their (hopefully independent) lawyer to see how best to proceed.

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