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The Loch Ness monster in Cyprus

The new proposals for the Cyprus laws governing estate agents designed to bring them in line with the Acquis Communautaire are a monster in the making according to Antonis Loizou FRICS.

EARLIER this month we reported that the Interior Ministry had submitted a new draft law to Parliament which is designed to open the doors to European estate agents wishing to practice in Cyprus.

This draft law resulted from a European Union inquiry into the Cyprus laws governing real estate agents and was designed to bring it into line with the Acquis Communautaire.

In an article in the current issue of the Cyprus Weekly, Antonis Loizou FRICS refers to the new legislation as being a Monster in the Making:

The Loch Ness monster in Cyprus

The estate agents law is again under attack from the European Union and a new proposal prepared by the government has been submitted for approval to the House.

We have written in the Greek press as well as to the government and MPs that this new legislation is a Monster in the Making. It is a Monster because it differentiates between local and foreign estate agents by using different criteria. Our basic objections are as follows:

  • In order for a person to become an estate agent in Cyprus and in addition to having a university degree on a related subject, the applicant must work for 12 months in Cyprus under a registered estate agent and then sit exams on Cyprus legislation. In contrast, foreign estate agents can operate in Cyprus with only a high school requirement and experience in the business for a total of two years of 10 years work experience in their own country.
    We wonder why those with a degree must sit exams and why such a requirement does not exist in any other profession in Cyprus. We also question the reason behind this and more importantly the difference between the local and foreign estate agent (in this sense any foreigner who is a permanent resident in Cyprus is considered as being a local one).
  • The new proposal suggests that each office must be manned by a registered estate agent. As such a firm which has four offices, must have one registered estate agent in each office. This means that the larger offices will close down and all agents to become one man one firm. We say this proposal will return the agents to the pre law conditions, called “agents on a bicycle”.
  • A foreign estate agent can work in Cyprus if he has the appropriate professional qualifications from their own country without any other requirement. If, however, a local has exactly the same qualifications of the same foreign country, this is not enough, he still has to work for 12 months, sit exams, etc.
  • All agents are responsible to disclose any impediments, permits etc that affect a property. But how are they to know since only the registered owner has access to the authority’s records?
  • No estate agent can sell his property or that of his relatives (up to third degree) and no estate agent can sell property of a company etc for which he has an interest (e.g. shares in a company). What a load of rubbish, since this means that an agent cannot sell his own relatives’ property and even if the agent owns 1% of a company’s shares, e.g. the Bank of Cyprus, he is excluded from any work from the bank etc, etc.
  • The council’s inspector can enter an estate agent’s office, without a court warrant and collect any documents, computers, records etc, for examination! A police state without requirement of a court order and with no other profession having such a proviso.
  • Property developers may not advertise or sell their own properties!

For our part it is all out war, not so much against the proposal per se, but war against the stupidity if nothing else.

Are we then wrong in saying that a Cyprus Monsters in the Making? (Nessie would be jealous).

By Antonis Loizou FRICS
Antonis Loizou & Associates Ltd
Property Valuers & Property Consultants

www.aloizou.com.cy
ala-HQ@aloizou.com.cy

Readers' comments

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  • martin law says:

    I believe that Cyprus should get their own Estate Agents reformed first. I bought a property in Cyprus, the developer went bust and I lost a substantial amount of money.

    I believe the Estate Agent was aware that the developer was in financial difficulties when they sold me the property.

    I tried to take recourse through Cyprus Estate Agents Association, whom they were a member of, on several occasions, AND DID NOT EVEN RECEIVE A RESPONSE!!!

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