APPEALS by the Government Executive to have the five Title Deed bills approved during the last session of parliament have proved unsuccessful and the House Interior Committee has decided to continue their examination at the start of the new parliamentary session after the summer recess.
After the session, the House Interior Committee Chairman and AKEL MP, Yiannos Lamaris said that despite efforts discussions on the bills could not be completed.
“There are some points that must be clarified and examined further. Talks on a small part will continue after summer so that the bill is subject to the Parliament’s approval in October”, Mr. Lamaris said.
At the present time some 130,000 properties do not have Title Deeds. Last July, Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis announced a series of amendments to the law to alleviate the problem. Often referred to as a ’Planning Amnesty’, the five bills influence other aspects of the Title Deed problem and change the following laws:
- The Streets and Buildings Regulations Law, Cap 96
- The Planning Law 90/1972.
- The Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) Law, Cap. 224
- The Sale of Land (Specific Performance) Law, Cap 232
- The Contract Law, Cap. 249
However, the proposed amendments have been the subject of much criticism. They were opposed by the Cyprus Bar Association who rejected them saying that “They will lead us into a labyrinth without solving the problem”.
The Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) also condemned the proposals, calling them “an amnesty for developers who have failed to adhere to planning/building permits issued or even built illegally without these permits”.
CPAG went on to say that they failed to address the main problem of “developers taking mortgages on properties they have also sold to unsuspecting buyers”. Buyers then “wait years to obtain Title Deeds and stand to lose their homes should the developer go bust and if the buyers cannot then pay off ‘their’ portion of the mortgage”.
The Cyprus Technical Chamber, ETEK, has urged the government to demolish illegally constructed buildings and draw up a ‘black list’ of developers who were known to have broken the law as well as those who remortgage property for which no Title Deed has been issued.
Meanwhile pressure on Cyprus from the European Union continues to mount. MEP Daniel Hannan is trying to uncover the facts behind the Cyprus developers’ mortgages scandal and has also called on the EC to send a fact-finding mission to Cyprus to investigate the Title Deed problems, while MEP Syed Kamall has raised a question about Aristo Developers.