Frustration at Title Deed wait

A MAN waiting 13 years for his title deeds has claimed the developer is “fobbing him off” by promising an end in sight to the saga.

Civil engineer Graham John Cooper-Selley told the Mail that despite assurances from the Ayios Pavlos Church to finish all the work required to complete the Kitrikes Village development in Armou as per the planning permit, it still has not been issued with a completion certificate, partly due to alleged problems with the construction of a footpath on the site.

The 68-year-old added that the Church, who is the developer, has been promising an end to their suffering for years.

The applicant for a planning permit was Bishop Chrysostomos, who was granted permission in 1999. A building permit was granted in 2002 well after the properties were completed which was also illegal.

“The Contract of Sale stated that title deeds would be issued not later than four years from the date of signing it in June 1995,” explained Cooper-Selley. “There were many problems regarding this project and it soon became apparent that the developer had no intention of honouring his contract to complete the project as per the relevant permits and then apply for the very important Certificate of Final Approval,” he said.

“We have found out recently, that in May last year, a letter was sent by the District Officer to the developer stating that he did not have to complete the works as per the original planning and building permits.”

Last February, the Paphos Bishopric acknowledged the problem and promised that the situation would be resolved, with people receiving their deeds by the end of the year.

And this January, the Ayios Pavlos Church insisted that all the necessary work had been completed and that it was simply a formality for the issue to move forward.

“I am fully confident that the district officer will issue a completion certificate. Once that is done, we can submit the application for the residents to receive their title deeds,” said a spokesman at the time.

Last week, Cooper-Selley couldn’t hide his frustration, wondering how he was still stuck in the same situation.

“The district and planning officers have not been to the site, to the best of my knowledge. If they had, they would have already raised their objections,” he said.

“When I spoke with the Paphos planning officer, he said that the District Officer does not have the authority to alter the original planning permit as has been done here.”

Cooper-Selley accused the Church contractors of not appearing to know what they’re doing. “The Church tells us not to worry and claim that they will obtain the Certificate of Final Completion but I don’t believe they’ll be allowed to get away with what they’ve done to the footpath and they are just fobbing us off again.”

Aditionally, he says the village Mukhtar examined the site and “immediately told me it was unacceptable to him as this footpath is part of the village road and must be entirely negotiable by foot.”

This week, Charalambos Panayiotou at the Paphos Bishopric challenged Cooper-Selley’s claims.

“For the past few months we have worked on three separate occasions on the footpaths and pavements and have followed the instructions of the District Officer,” he explained. “In fact, we have never received an official complaint about the quality of work on the site.”

He said that everything had now been approved and a final inspection was due to take place after the Easter holidays.

He admitted that there have been problems along the way but could not give a timeframe as to when a Certificate of Final Completion would be issued.

“Everybody got an absolutely fantastic deal all those years ago and have been happily living there ever since, enjoying a great quality of life. We checked with them from the beginning if they were happy and offered, more than once, to refund their money if they were not.”

Upon hearing of the case Denis O’Hare, one of the co-founders of the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) said that issuing a Final Completion Certificate, which comes under Article 10 of the Streets and Buildings Law CAP. 96, is one of the most important legislations for the safety of property purchasers.

“This law is however routinely and conveniently ignored by developers, estate agents and even buyers’ own lawyers,” he said in a statement.

He added that the CPAG has been contacted by many buyers who have suffered due to this law not being enforced.

“Without this Final Completion Certificate the title deeds application process cannot even be started, leaving buyers in the risky title deed trap, for many years in some cases,” he said.

“The CPAG has been very supportive and on their advice I wrote to the Interior Minister outlining the problem once again,” said Cooper-Selley. “It has now been 40 days and despite Article 29 of the Constitution requiring a response within 30 days, I have not heard anything back from them.

“If there is no response, I will have no other course of action than to petition the European Parliament for my EU Fundamental Rights to good administration.”

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