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Sunday, May 31, 2020
Home Legal Matters Cyprus Title Deed law breakers face stiff penalties

Cyprus Title Deed law breakers face stiff penalties

THE GOVERNMENT’S town-planning amnesty bill package – due to be submitted to the plenum next week – provides for steep fines for delays, omissions or fraudulent information in documentation necessary for eventually obtaining a Title Deed.

Legislators are currently poring over five separate government-sponsored items comprising the ‘amnesty’ package, which they hope to submit to plenum by next Thursday.

An estimated 130,000 Title Deeds are currently pending, with the government expecting to make some €150,000 per year from transfer fees if affected people apply en masse.

Many people, including foreign buyers, have been left without deeds even after paying for their property because developers did not pay the mortgage to the bank.

Thousands more remain without Title Deeds to their property due to irregularities at the time of construction or changes later on.

Under the Interior Ministry’s 2011 town planning bill (amended), where a permit cannot be issued due to an outstanding irregularity, and for which a person other than the applicant is responsible, Town Planning authorities may slap a fine of up to €17,000 on the responsible party.

In the event of continuing non-compliance, a fine of up to €170 per day will be added. This applies to cases where the awarding of a Town Planning Permit is deemed to be justified but the permit cannot be issued because of an irregularity by a person other than the actual applicant.

Moreover, anyone found guilty in court of committing a planning irregularity will be liable to a fine of up to €3,400 and to an additional €340 penalty for each day of non-compliance thereafter.

The bill also states that a person found guilty of hindering a public official from fulfilling their duties, or has in any way intervened or sought to influence the work of such officials, or has knowingly omitted or refused to furnish documentation or has made a false statement, is liable to be imprisoned for up to four months and/or a fine of up to €170.

In addition, anyone carrying out or involved in a property development or related act, or who does not comply with any of the bill’s provisions, is liable to a six-month prison sentence and/or a fine not exceeding €850.

Under the legislation, irregularities carried out by current residents after the purchase – like closing balconies or building garages – can also be legalised, for a fee, as long as they do not affect third parties or encroach on state property.

For such cases, where the allowed building ratio has been exceeded, a Planning Permit can be issued but on condition that a fee is paid to cover the value of the excess real estate.

These ‘regularisation fees’ are not specified in the government bills; they will be fixed through regulations after the law is passed.

The fees will be determined by a three-member committee, appointed by the Interior Minister, in each district. The committee will take a second look at cases approved by either the Town Planning or Land Registry departments, and issue a final decision.

As an incentive, where town planning permits are concerned, 20 per cent of the ‘regularisation fee’ will be shaved off for applications filed within one year of the law coming into force, and 10 per cent for applications submitted within the second year.

For building permits, buyers will have the option of appointing their own surveyor to conduct estimates. It’s hoped this provision will free up backlog for public authorities and speed up the process.

In Cyprus, a property’s Certificate of Final Approval is applied for after all checks for conformity are finalised when the building is completed through independent professional inspectors according to regional Town Planning Office permissions – the Town Planning Department and Building Department.

The Certificate of Final Approval must be completed, as it verifies that the property meets its building/planning permits issued from local authorities and it has had the construction carried out correctly and that the buyer has received what they have paid for. Obtaining the certificate is crucial as it leads to the next step in the process, without which one cannot apply for a Title Deed.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with the Dishonest Lawyer comment when I bought the developer took me to Lawyer to do the contract, I only later found out it was the developers Layer as well. Illegal in this country

  2. They do not want buyers to have Title Deeds. Why else would they make the system (even in its revised form) so complex and so fraught with hidden traps.

    Any sensible system would ensure that a buyer obtains title upon completion of the sale. No title deed no sale. Simple!

    Then again lawyers wouldn’t make nearly so much money would they. How many people have had to resort to more than one lawyer in the hope of sorting out the mess that their original lawyer exposed them to.

    Home buyers must seem like geese laying golden eggs.

  3. I agree with Gavin Jones, this, if one is to believe it, only covers part of the problem.

    What about dishonest Lawyers?

    I think that Gavin, Conor and myself all have the same person (lawyer) in common.

    I will believe the law when it happens, but don’t worry there will be loophole and a way out for them.

    One Law for us and one for them.

  4. In was intrugued to read in the article that ‘… a person found guilty…is liable to be imprisoned for up to four months…’.

    Hm. If the recent SUSPENDED sentences handed out to those policemen who just about kicked two students into oblivion are anything to go by, rest assured that even if a wrongdoer in this instance IS convicted, the worst that’ll befall him will yet again be a…SUSPENDED sentence.

  5. I read the Title Deeds article with great interest. Our deeds are finally ready after having bought the property 9 years ago (as a resale). However they cannot be released to us as the developer owes a lot of taxes to the Government. Our developer is the Church!!!!!!

    Will the Church therefore be prosecuted and fined under the new legislation?

  6. andyP
    Your point is far too logical, obvious and by far the best possible to be implemented. It would however disable the mechanism of being able to sell on any old rubbish that anyone cares to erect in the name of construction.

    If only they would. The amnesty they are proposing could apply to previously built properties built illegally once the developers have been forced to correct them, at their cost, in accordance with the original drawings for which permission to build was given.

  7. Why do they have to make things so complicated?

    Unless Certificate of final Approval is granted the property in question cannot be sold.

    OK does not help previous victims of system but ensures no more, in this particular aspect.

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