LARNACA police are investigating a developer who allegedly sold a flat twice and has so far failed to return the money to one of the buyers who was left saddled with a €120,000 debt.
But it never would have happened if the Larnaca Land Registry had noticed that two sales documents had been submitted for the same property – which they did not.
Andreas (not his real name) agreed to purchase the Aradippou flat off-plan in 2007 for €131,000.
He mortgaged the flat and made regular payments to the developer as the construction progressed.
But when it was almost finished – and the developer had already pocketed €120,000, Andreas discovered that someone else also owned the flat.
“I found the guy there. He went to see if his flat was finished,” he told the Cyprus Mail.
Andreas, who did everything by the book, had been advised by a lawyer to submit the sales agreement at the Land Registry so that he could be secure.
The other buyer had already submitted his sales document.
“When we submitted it they accepted it,” Andreas said. “They should have told me there was another one already. The damage for me was done by the Land Registry because I had only paid €1,700 as down payment before I submitted the document.”
The Larnaca Land Registry said yesterday it was a mistake.
“A mistake was made and there was a double entry,” director Michalis Filis said. “The employee did not see the submission of the first sales document.”
Filis said when the issue was discovered they brought all sides together “we saw that they could not agree and we sent the case to the police.”
This was in 2009 and Andreas is still waiting for justice to take its course.
At the advice of his lawyer, Andreas in the meantime continued to pay his loan, now at €90,000, despite the bank effectively having no collateral against it.
After the discovery Andreas contacted the developer who claimed it was a mistake and he would sort things out.
Andreas told him he no longer wanted the flat and asked for his money back.
The developer issued a cheque that bounced and then a second one – claiming a mistake had been made – which also bounced.
Andreas also reported him to police for the dud cheques a year ago.
In a letter written to police through his lawyer this June, Andreas asked the police to inform him at what stage the investigation was.
“Police said they expect to bring him before justice by the end of the month,” he said.
It is understood that this is not the only case where the same developer is implicated.
The police action is in complete contrast to the lack of interest they showed in a similar case involving British property buyer Conor O’Dwyer.
In Mr O’Dwyer’s case, which involved a property developer allegedly selling his house in Frenaros twice, the Attorney General told O’Dwyer that his property developer had not committed any crime!
(Mr O’Dwyer is currently pursuing a private prosecution against the developer involved at his own expense and we hope to report on its outcome in the next few months).