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Friday, June 5, 2020
Home Letters Ongoing contempt for property purchasers

Ongoing contempt for property purchasers

ostrich-like behaviourI WOULD like to refer to the editor’s choice letter published in the Sunday Mail of May 1, regarding the Limassol Planning Department’s arbitrary re-evaluation of a buyer’s property.

I, and no doubt thousands of others, are wondering what it’ll take for Cyprus to clean up its act regarding property purchasers being duped by the heinous practices of certain developers, lawyers and banks in relation to the ongoing title deeds’ scandal.

Successive governments have allowed this situation to fester and this ostrich-like behaviour continues, despite the current administration trumpeting the recent passing of bills which in reality do not address the core issue of existing property ‘owners’ being saddled with fraudulent developer mortgages.

There also exists a further hurdle in the form of the Land Registry bumping up the perceived value of properties in order to extract higher property transfer fees for the state coffers. And this in a market whose values are falling. Nice money if you can get it.

It seems the authorities are hell-bent on adding the finishing touches to their nation’s depressed and now tottering economy and helping to confirm the island’s already negative reputation vis-a-vis integrity and natural justice.

RIP Cyprus. Your days are irrevocably numbered.

Gavin Jones
Paphos

21 COMMENTS

  1. Nigel, I agree that they do have a wonderful set of laws here!

    The laws are designed to do exactly what they do: make it possible for a developer to sell a property but still retain ownership (with all the consequences that ensue).

    Where they have come unstuck is with the downturn in sales (hence possible bank repossessions). However, in order to combat this, they invent a raft of new laws to protect the developers!

    The law, in this case, is not an ass (which kicks out when threatened). It’s a wild boar: when threatened, to protect itself, it sits on it’s ass…

  2. No prob Nigel.

    Keep up the good work but not sure where you get so many hours in a day.

  3. @andyp – I think we got our wires crossed. Lawyers and developers should advise you about mortgages, etc according to Law 103(1)/2007.

    The point I was making is that although estate agents are required to advise buyers of such issues, another law prevents the Land Registry from divulging that information.

  4. Sorry Nigel, I think you have missed my point and whilst I agree with you on the vast majority of your postings I do not on this thread.

    I am a retired Chartered Surveyor and know the relevant UK Acts outside in and less so The Cypriot versions, not that they would be enforced anyway.

    I accept that it is not the developers duty under the law to highlight mortgages etc in regard to the properties they are selling and that it is the duty of your own advisers (lawyers/estate agents) to do so but obviously that is a separate issue as we all now know.

    You highlighted three developers that you met who would like to see change. My point was that they probably, only probably, were quite happy to continue on their merry way and say nothing had it not been for a fall in their sales.

    I know TEN people on my development of TEN and have come across hundreds on this site who would like to see change so three hurting developers, in my opinion, who would “like to see change” and do nothing are of no interest to me nor I suspect many others.

    The laws are “an ass” but they should not stand in the way of honesty and integrity. These principles have been simply swept aside due to greed.

    I stand by my comments of May 5th but would be delighted to be proved wrong.

  5. @andyp (at 8:40 pm) – If only it were that simple.

    According to the Real Estate Agent’s Law:

    “A real estate agent, irrespective as to whether he is acting on behalf of the buyer or seller, is obliged to notify land transaction the prospective buyer of the property of all the information relating to the physical condition of the property, the charges thereon, including any other restrictions on the property under any legislative, judicial, administrative or other governmental act or decision”

    So the estate agent has the legal obligation to advise the prospective buyer of “the charges“, which includes mortgages.

    However, information held in the Land Registry is not open to public inspection and “only an interested person or his/her agent or attorney may file an application to be issued a ‘search certificate‘”.

    Interested persons” means the owner of the property, his heirs, devisees and legatees, the owner of any trees, buildings or other objects on the land which belongs to another and vice versa, the person entitled to any right or interest in the immovable property, who satisfies the Director that he is a prospective purchaser or mortgagor, the plaintiff in any action against the owner of such property, the professional valuer who may require certain information for purposes of the valuing certain immovable property in a case relating to compulsory acquisition and includes any person not thus specified to whom the Director may specifically order that any information be furnished”.

    On the one hand you have a law that says the estate agent must advise potential buyers of any charges – and on the other hand you have a law specifically designed to prevent the estate agent obtaining that information.

    Wonderful set of laws they have here!

  6. Nigel. They could tell people their properties were mortgaged before selling them, assuming of course they were, and the ultimate consequences thereof in the event of default.

  7. Nigel, to even mention the corridors of power strengthens their position. I think it might well be time to storm the palace, people need to remember who they work for & represent. I don’t believe they realize quite how fragile their position is.

  8. Before we all start pointing the finger of blame at people for not doing anything about the mess, I have spoken with three property developers who want the system changed.

    The problem they, and probably many others face, is they do not have any influence in the corridors of power.

  9. I have to agree with everyone posting after Chris Dotti. Gavin Jones did say “certain” not all.

    Having said that where are all the good people? We would in all honesty like to hear from them in order that they might flourish.

    Ministers who have cut the “Gordian Knot” rather than just prolonged the protection to developers and caused more expense to victims. The Cyprus Bar who have struck off a lawyer. Developers Associations who have expelled a member( other than for not paying their fees). The Central Bank who without legislation could have stopped developer mortgages on mortgaged/sold properties. No. Do not see any good guys there.

    On reflection I disagree with Gavin Jones in regard to his limitation of blame and agree with Peter 7.54 “All that is required for evil to prosper..”

    “The Good Guys” all knew yet did and do nothing therefore you are responsible.

  10. @Christofer

    A quotation which fits the situation very well

    “All that is required for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing” (Edmund Burke)

    Another one quotation my father was fond of saying. “A man is judged by the company he keeps”

    It is difficult to judge a good developer from a bad developer. What is the difference anyway? From the point of view of the ‘victim’ of which I am one, I accept my house purchase was a mistake, I have written off the amount, all I can do is broadcast as far as possible “Buy in Cyprus and you’re dammed”.

  11. @Jill Warr – I’m afraid that the only way out of this mess is to take legal action against the developer.

    It is possible to apply to a court to have someone take over the role of the developer and complete the project and progress the Title Deeds on your behalf.

    This will involve legal fees and court costs, but unless the developer plays ball, I don’t believe there’s another way out of this situation.

    If you want further information, get in touch with me through the contact page.

  12. We can’t even get our developer to complete our site (nor any of those he has built in our area!!) He has built extra properties on what is on our contracts as a green area. We have lived here for more than 7 years, yet as far as we can ascertain, he hasn’t even applied yet for the Title Deeds. Instead, every time anybody sells (lucky them) the developer fleeces them with IPT + other charges, one being Stamp Duty! He is making thousands and getting away with it!!! Because people are desperate to leave this place, they pay up!! If they don’t he’ll stop the sale going through.

  13. Dear Mr Dotti,

    Do all the properties you are advertising on your website have Completion Certificates? Do any of them have developer mortgages? Which ones are without individual Title Deeds?

    If your company does not disclose these material facts to buyers then you are just as bad as the rest.

    Interested to hear your answers

  14. @Mr Dotti. You are correct that not all Cyprus developers are bad – but Mr Jones did not say all developers. He actually said ‘certain developers, lawyers and banks’. I won’t go over the historical evidence which has been done to death on this and other websites and in other media but sadly the lasting impression is that many, if not most, developers are less than scrupulous and often economical with the truth. The fact that many of the big names have been involved has not helped the market’s PR image.

    Nor did he mention Paphos. However, I don’t accept your assertion that Paphos is somehow uniquely the focus of the Title Deeds/fraud scandal. What about the high profile cases down Protaras/Paralimni way, for example. What about all those thousands of buyers in Larnaca and Limassol Districts still awaiting Title Deeds and hamstrung by developer mortgages on the land? Are you seriously suggesting that most of the 130,000 properties still awaiting deeds are in Paphos District?

  15. Well written Gavin,

    I have said it before and I will say it again that the only way that Cyprus can clean up its act that is to stop the greed of all the people concerned. The elections are in the process now, perhaps the voters can help by voting for the correct candidates?

    All the Epats who are entitled to vote in the forthcoming elections should make their mark on the appropriate form, those who are not registered should do so now for the future.

    Regards.

  16. Well Mr Dotti maybe you can name some good points the authorities are doing with the problem?

    Maybe you can explain why the good companies and people remain silent over the problem?

  17. Dear Mr.Jones,

    I would like to say the following cause when you write something in general you should be aware that not all people or companies fall into the same category you are describing in your comments.

    There are many well known companies that do have problems but instead writing about them you are saying all these bad comments for all the developers. Cyprus is not only Paphos my friend.

    Paphos at the moment has a problem yes but that does not mean that the whole Island has a problem. Please revise your comments.

    Kind regards

    Christofer Dotti

  18. A continuing saga. I wonder if anyone ever sends on these pages to their Cypriot lawyers and MPs?

    Re: Developer mortgages: Does anyone ever pay them? What would happen if everyone refused, and told the European Court if their property is taken away because they would not pay this fraudulent and rotten mortgage?

  19. I couldn’t agree with you more. I could add that any attempt to get justice through the ‘designated departments’ is nigh on impossible. I have heard of people being fobbed off with the same old excuses and lies but I would have been pleased just to get any response at all. Is there a special beach on the island where officials go to bury their heads in the sand – it must be very crowded because there will be a lot of them there ! It makes you wonder if there is a more corrupt country in the EU and how the EU could possibly let Cyprus take the presidency next year.. You can be sure that there will be some massive protests against this, hopefully embarrassing the authorities into action (just a dream, I know !) I will have shortly exhausted all routes available to me in Cyprus to get justice and the EU is my next step. The problem is that I will be going from one corrupt party to another,who’s collective head is also buried firmly in the sand !

    QUESTION; What are the Cypriot words for shame and embarrassment ?

    ANSWER; They don’t have those words in their vocabulary.

  20. There is a story in the today’s Mail about the Cypriot gentleman whose land had been appropriated without his knowledge or consent by the Public Works Department. They appear to be digging it up and making the usual mess. When he protested, he was threatened with the police (not that that should have worried him). His words endorse the spirit of Gavin Jones’ letter: (I quote)

    “Today I realise what a dangerous place I live in, where your basic rights are not respected, and if you are not obedient to those in authority, they will find a hundred ways to punish you”.

  21. Unfortunately, the Greek Psyche is hell bent on learning the hard way. European legal intervention is the only way way to make these people realise that they are their own worst enemies. The sad part is that the legal system and their lawyers will not be the ones to see to it. Get a foreign European lawyer!

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