PEYIA Coalition of Independents politician Linda Leblanc is meeting the chairman of the House Legal Affairs Committee next Monday over confusing laws which could scupper property owners’ chances of obtaining their title deeds.
According to Leblanc, Land Registry is refusing to accept deposits of Contract of Sales for a number of properties in what is known as Plot One in Coral Bay partly owing to the fact that none of the 155 leasehold properties are subdivided.
The legal requirement is related to recently-introduced amnesty measures aimed at releasing thousands of title deeds and cleaning up Cyprus’ tarnished property market image.
“The Sale of Land Law helps to protect the rights of property purchasers, as depositing a contract of sale at the Land Registry effectively prevents the vendor from selling the property in question to someone else or changing his mind about the sale,” Leblanc explained.
“A new law entitled ‘The Sale of Immovable Property (Specific Performance)’ was approved by Parliament and came into force on July 29, 2011. Any contracts of sale that were signed and that have not been lodged at the Land Registry may be filed within six months from the July 29, 2011. The deadline to lodge any contracts is January 29 this year.
For example, if a buyer signed a contract of sale in 2005 but failed to file it at the Land Registry, there has now been a six-month window of opportunity to do so.”
But Leblanc says that it is not clear if leasehold property is covered by the law.
“If not, over 155 buyers in Coral Bay, the Harbour Shore Estates (HSE) will be greatly disadvantaged. Some buyers of this leasehold development applied under the Amnesty Law but have now discovered their sales contracts are not registered at the Land Registry even though many of them, through their lawyers, have paid transfer fees and have Land Registry receipts.”
Leblanc said that homeowners are now being told that this is only an “Intent to Register”.
“Because of this, they are also now having problems with their amnesty applications, which apparently require a sales contract registered with the Land Registry. If they cannot now register their sales contracts with Land Registry under this new law, they are left totally without any protection,” she said.
Leblanc, who is one of the residents of the plot, only found out by fluke prior to Christmas that the necessary contract had not been accepted and claims that her situation is not isolated.
Green Party MP George Perdikis has been contacted by Leblanc to canvass the House for an extension on the deadline while the legal issue is clarified.
However, it is unlikely at this stage that this will be granted.
The next step is to meet with House Legal Affairs Committee chairman Ionas Nicolaou, in order to make “the seriousness of the situation clear,” Leblanc said.
“This can be resolved with political will.”
The Cyprus Weekly contacted Harbour Shore Estates about the matter but nobody was available for comment.
Last year the government amended laws on town planning and introduced an amnesty enabling property-owners who, owing to minor building irregularities, have not been granted a certificate of approval for their property and consequently title deeds to legalise their Cypriot property.