ALTHOUGH the number of Statements of Intent submitted under the provisions of the Town Planning Amnesty exceeds 11,000, there is still much room for improvement according to the Cyprus Interior Minister, Eleni Mavrou.
Speaking at the House Interior Committee on Thursday, the Minister said that between 125,000 and 130,000 Statements of Intent should have been submitted and that ”Although a large number of statements (11,000+) have been filed, this cannot be considered satisfactory”.
At the meeting, MPs discussed how public awareness of the Amnesty could be raised and Mrs Mavrou said that her ministry will pay greater attention to providing information to foreign buyers who may be unaware of its provisions.
Replying to a question about the imposition of sanctions, the minister said that her ministry placed great importance on the cooperation of the local authorities, which are responsible for planning and building control violations.
Asked whether her Ministry had considered changing the law for new buildings, Mrs Mavrou said that said that the most serious deficiencies were not in the law but rather in its implementation and monitoring.
Since the start of the millennium more than 175,000 properties have been sold – 52,000 to foreign buyers and 123,000 to local buyers. It is believed that many of these cannot be issued with Title Deeds due to planning infringements resulting from developers breaching planning laws.
However, rather than pursuing developers who have broken the law, the government is expecting those who have suffered at the hands of these law-breakers to pay to have planning infringements legitimised and then take legal action against developers to recover their costs.
Furthermore, it appears that the government has made no progress on helping those who have been duped into buying property built on mortgaged land and who face the very real threat of losing their homes if the developer fails or the bank forecloses on his loans.