The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office is advising Britons visiting Cyprus that “there are risks involved with purchasing property on the island of Cyprus” and that those contemplating buying property should “seek qualified legal advice from a source that is independent from anyone else involved in the transaction, particularly the seller“.
You are advised to proceed with caution and to seek qualified legal advice from a source that is independent from anyone else involved in the transaction, particularly the seller, before purchasing property anywhere in Cyprus.
You should also note that the Cyprus legal system is not the same as that in the UK and that the process of achieving legal redress in Cyprus can be very protracted compared to the UK. A list of English speaking lawyers is available on the High Commission’s website.
There are risks involved with purchasing property on the island of Cyprus. Many British nationals, who have purchased property either in the north or south of Cyprus, face problems caused by; misleading advertising, the failure of developers to complete properties that have been purchased off plan, illegal construction or double selling. Most of these problems can be avoided by taking proper independent legal advice.
In addition, both Cypriot and foreign buyers of around 100,000 properties have not been able to obtain their title deeds. Some people have been trying to obtain them for over 30 years. There are many cases of people without title deeds finding it difficult to sell their property, or whose developer has imposed a sales fee, high property taxes or service charges.
As developers are able to take out mortgages on property for which they hold the title deeds, there is also a risk that a developer could go bankrupt with an outstanding mortgage on the property, rendering it liable to repossession by the mortgage holder.
You should take at least the same steps to protect your interests as you would do at home, and instruct an experienced, reputable lawyer who is totally independent to act on your behalf and ensure that your interests are adequately safeguarded. For further information, please consult our property FAQs.
Attempting to save money on professional fees by cutting corners, or by using the seller’s lawyers, is a false economy that can result in severe problems later.
For the full text of this article, visit the website of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office.