Many people buying property in Cyprus, particularly those buying from a property development company, make the fundamental mistake of taking legal advice from a lawyer who has been introduced to them by the property developer.
If you use a law firm or lawyer recommended to you by the vendor, then how can that lawyer give you independent legal advice. Whose side is the lawyer going to be on? Will that lawyer be able to represent your best interests?
Any lawyer recommended by a developer, may well be the developers own lawyer and dependant on the developer for new clients. This lawyer cannot have the interests of buyers at heart.
The only people legally qualified and permitted to give legal advice in Cyprus are lawyers, so don’t take legal advice from anyone else. Don’t pick a conveyancing lawyer at random, but engage one who has been highly recommended by someone you can trust. Before engaging him or her, check that they’re a member of the Cyprus Bar Association or you can give them a call on 22 779156 or download their list of practicing lawyers from their website.
All Cypriot conveyancing solicitors speak English. Many are accustomed to dealing with foreign home buyers and understand the many problems with buying property in Cyprus that must be avoided.
Unlike the UK, lawyers practicing in Cyprus are not required to have Professional Indemnity Insurance. As a consequence, if you suffer a loss as the result of advice given to you buy a lawyer without insurance, your only redress is through the Court; this could be a lengthy and expensive exercise with no guarantee of success. For your own protection and peace of mind, I strongly recommend that you only deal with law firms that have an adequate level of Professional Indemnity Insurance cover.
Note: In the UK, each law firm which is not a corporate body is required to secure professional indemnity insurance to a limit of indemnity of £2,000,000 any one claim. Most corporate bodies, such as Limited Liability Partnerships, are required to obtain such insurance to a limit of indemnity of £3,000,000 any one claim.
You may come under a great deal of pressure to pay a ‘reservation’ fee for a property. This is fine provided the money is held by a lawyer or reputable agent and will be returned to you in the event that there are undisclosed problems with the property.