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No Title Deeds unless you pay developer’s debts (update)

UPDATE 7/2/2013 – MEP Sir Graham Watson has asked the Commission if it is aware that Cypriot banks are telling property buyers they will not receive title deeds unless they contribute thousands of Euros to their developer’s outstanding debts.

Sir Graham Watson MEP questions European Commission on Title Deeds CYPRUS’ compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding on the subject of property has been called into question once again; by Sir Graham Watson MEP for South West England and Gibraltar.

In his latest question Sir Graham asks about the quarterly progress reports and property buyers who cannot obtain Title Deeds as the banks are holding them responsible for repaying their developer’s debts.

Question for written answer E-013712-13
to the Commission

Rule 117
Sir Graham Watson (ALDE)

Subject: Cypriot property

In reply to Parliamentary Question E-006305/2013 regarding Cypriot property deeds, the Commission highlighted the importance of Section 5.4 of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) concluded between the Commission, acting on behalf of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), and the Republic of Cyprus, which aims to eliminate the title deed issuance backlog.

Section 5.4 includes the requirement for the Cypriot authorities to ‘publish quarterly progress reviews of the issuance of building and planning permits, certificates, and title deeds, as well as title deed transfers and related mortgage operations throughout the duration of the programme’.

1. Can the Commission state how may progress reports have been published and how many it has received?

2. In addition, can the Commission disclose the number of building and planning permits, certificates and title deeds which have been issued, and the number of title deed transfers which have taken place so far?

3. Is the Commission aware that some Cypriot banks are informing buyers that title deeds will not be transferred unless they pay thousands of euros towards outstanding debts incurred by developers?

4. Is the Commission satisfied that all the requirements under Section 5.4 of the MoU are being met by the Cypriot authorities?

Answer given by Mr Rehn on behalf of the Commission (added)

Since July 2013, the Cypriot authorities (Ministry of Interior) are publishing data and reviews on the issuance of building and planning permits, certificates, and title deeds, title deed transfers and related mortgaged data, in accordance with the ESM MoU requirement under article 5.4.

These data and reviews are published on a quarterly basis and they are available to the public at the Ministry of Interior’s website. In addition, the Commission would like to refer the Honourable Member of the European Parliament to the First and the Second Review of the Economic Adjustment programme for Cyprus.

The Commission is well aware of the unresolved issue of the pending title deeds in Cyprus and it attaches priority to resolving it in the interest of the Cypriot economy, the European taxpayer, and the EU citizens affected by the problem.

As the issue of the title deeds and the encumbrances attached to them is a complex one, the co-operation among a number of Cyprus’ public administration units is also required.

Readers' comments

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  • @AdamP – Unfortunately the game is not weighted in your favour.

    Should you fail to maintain your mortgage repayments and fall into arrears, the bank can take action against you in the court.

    If you fail to defend the action (in Cyprus) in all probability the bank will be awarded judgement in its favour.

    It can then apply to have that judgement enforced by any court in the European Union – and you will not be given an opportunity to defend that application. The court will enforce the judgement and you could lose your home.

    Therefore, if the bank issues you with a writ or termination notice it’s absolutely essential that you defend any action in Cyprus.

  • @L A Waygood – If a developer takes out a mortgage after a contract of sale has been deposited at the Land Registry, the contract will take precedence over that mortgage and the purchaser will not be affected.

    The problem comes when (a) a developer reschedules/extends/fails to repay mortgage(s) that were taken out before the contract of sale was deposited or (b) other claims are lodged against the Title for non-payment of one or more of the developer’s debt.

    In some cases, lawyers ‘in bed’ with developers have not deposited contracts of sale at the Land Registry as they should have done – and their pals, the developers, have then mortgaged the land. When the lawyer ‘remembers’ to deposit the contract, the property is burdened by a mortgage.

    (One commentator has had this happen to him – his deceitful lawyer was fined a measly €1,000 by the Bar Association and is still has her licence to practice law!)

  • @Soteris Matheou – I’m sorry to hear about your situation (but I have to say that I am not surprised).

    There are many people facing the same issue of repaying their developer’s debt to secure their home. It’s disgusting.

    The banks and developers have caused the problem, aided by poor (if not incompetent or corrupt) lawyers with the government, through its inaction, allowing the deceit to continue. These are the people to blame for the problems, but they are getting away with it.

    If you can’t trust a lawyer, who can you trust?

    Even if people were prepared to pay extra to secure their homes, the troika haircut on bank depositors has severely restricted their ability to do so.

  • DaveC says:

    Mr Rehn’s reply is the sort of obfuscation one would expect from a EU official supposedly earning more than Eur 250k pa and with the prospect of a golden pension.

    It is even more worrying that he seems oblivious to the fact that the property developers are openly blackmailing the unfortunate property buyers and he seems willingly complicit.

  • AdamP says:

    This is a crazy situation that nothing is being done about. I bought a property in Tersefanou and its better for me if I just hand the keys back to the bank as I am paying a mortgage (albeit its well in arrears now) for nothing. That would eliminate a big headache for me as I’m sure the mortgage isn’t secured on my UK home.

  • dave says:

    Why us again they have had the cash let them pay seize their safety deposit boxes.
    If they get rid of the deeds it should be a relief to themselves.

  • L A Waygood says:

    “…the issue of the title deeds and the encumbrances attached to them is a complex one…’

    It’s not complex at all. Developers who take out loans on properties they have sold, and banks who accept those properties as collateral, are committing FRAUD. Where is the difficulty in understanding this?

  • Soteris Matheou says:

    In addition, I have escalated this further, and my lawyer has advised me, before settling in court, to contribute to the developers debt also. Instead of protecting our rights, the lawyers are supporting developers, who are threatening bankruptcy (thus relieving themselves of the obligation to issue titles altogether), if we do not pay their debt.

  • UBoat says:

    Hi all sounds familiar doesn’t it….. same old song.

    But well done again to the MP Sir Graham Watson for asking, we have to keep this up if only to show how useless the EU are at sorting problems out unless they are about bent cucumbers…..

    The problem is complicated BUT the solution is not!

    1/ Make the Cypriot Government issue tittle deeds without delay or encumbrance immediately to ALL who have been waiting up to today’s date.

    2/ Make the Banks go after the developers for the money they owe and stop bothering innocent people for it.

    3/ change the law so Title is handed over at the point of completion as in England.

    SIMPLE isn’t it ?




  • Mike says:

    Kyri74 – I agree with your thinking but those who contribute on these pages are interested in property issues not other issues which I guess have other forums where they can be discussed. Two wrongs do not make a right and I do not think anyone is suggesting that all Cypriots are crooked and corrupt, I hope not because I am Cypriot and yes I too have suffered the corrupt system we have and had to pay someone else’s taxes to get my title deeds.

    We protect the crooks and make the hard working people suffer and pay for their misdemeanours and the sooner we stand up and say enough is enough the better off we all will be. We can start by educating ourselves and stop believing the rubbish and lies our politicians and business leaders keep feeding us.

    Yes there are good honest politicians and good honest businessmen but they stay very quiet and do nothing it seems to try and change the system, We need change from top to bottom built on honesty, transparency and accountability in order to serve the good people of this nation. No more lies, no more smoke and mirrors and government departments not afraid to upset anyone and who do their job.

    Collecting taxes would be a good start.

    We pray and live in hope.

  • jjames says:

    Follow the link to the Ministry of the Interior Website!
    It’s a joke! Or am I missing something?!

    Once again the EC passing the buck to “Cyprus public administration units” – who we all know (don’t we Mr Rehn??) will do nothing!!

  • Stuart says:

    Mr Rehn, in his evasive and non-committal response, has the audacity to tell Sir Graham to go and read the Ministry of the Interior’s website, much of which is found to be in Greek anyway.

    The statistics from the Land and Survey Department Report appear to show that between April and December 2013 there were a total of around 10,750 Certificates of Registration (Titles) issued for Development Projects.

    What is clearly missing from the Report is the vast number of Title Deeds still in the backlog and the number by which the backlog has been reduced so far in order to clear it by the end of 2014.

    No surprises there, then.

  • peter says:

    and with that, people will be interested in the future of buying property in Cyprus… not a chance. The only thing property wise the you will be able to sell, is for sale signs .

  • Gavin Jones says:


    Your deflection tactics simply won’t wash and are irrelevant. If you can’t stomach people expressing their genuine and justified disgust at the way that they’ve been scammed, that’s tough.

    The topic in question viz. title deeds, affects tens and thousands of people of all nationalities who’ve been unknowingly saddled with the hidden mortgages of developers with the assistance of unscrupulous banks and lawyers and the connivance of successive Cypriot governments.

    If you wish to whinge about “petrodollar wars” or other pet topics, I respectfully suggest you voice your discontent elsewhere on ‘patriotic’ sites more to your taste. This website and forum deal exclusively with property matters in Cyprus.

  • Robert Briggs says:

    Many Thanks to Sir Graham Watson and his Team, for their sterling efforts on our behalf.
    However please note the non-answer given by Rehn in the last paragraph.
    So what is the EC, actually doing about this wilful withholding of these Title Deeds? EB.

  • Andrew says:

    The Banks/Government get Billions of Euros in bailout and the innocent home buyers and ordinary taxpayers look to lose out big time. The poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Don`t you just love it.

    Keep up the good work Sir Graham and try to get some simple answers for some ordinary worried citizens.

  • @jon frazer – at least you can take some comfort from the fact that scammed buyers are on Ollie’s list of priorities.

  • Pete says:


    You’re right, the country’s woes can be attributed to a few hundred people but the problem here is that we don’t live in the U.S or anywhere else that may or may not be as corrupt as Cyprus so until they sort it out once and for all, the politicians, lawyers, bankers, developers and public servants etc will continue to be slated.

    If they don’t want to be spoken of in terms less than complimentary the answer is very simple.

  • jon frazer says:

    I see that scammed buyers come third in Ollie’s list of priorities!

  • Kyri74 says:

    I am a regular reader of this website which is a good source with regards anything to do with property here in Cyprus. We all know that there has been great misconduct on behalf of banks, politicians etc etc that has brought the country to its knees. This is universally acceptable.

    However, these are a ‘handful’ of people in proportion to the general population and I have had enough of insulting comments about Cyprus on the forums. Why don’t we talk about misconduct from countries like Germany, UK, United States etc. etc.

    I find it unfair that people on the forums generalise just because a handful of people brought the country to a difficult situation. Yes, we all should have title deeds but we don’t and the anger and frustration is understandable. The problem is that these bigger and more powerful countries can get away with their misconduct. And if not obtaining title deeds is a crime then I don’t know what petrol dollar wars are. I hope everyone gets my point as a lot of people grant immunity to some so called corruption free??? countries. Thank you

  • paul nolan says:

    Is it true that in Cyprus restaurants you must pay for the meal in advance and when the meal is not delivered then the customer becomes responsible for the outstanding purchase orders (food and drink only) of the restaurant, maintaining his wife and children until they have finished full time education and the burial costs of his maternal grandmother (if she has died within the last 10 years) ?

  • Janner says:

    And the incentive to pay off my mortgage/loan is….. you’ve guessed it. None!

    Why would any right minded person pay off their loan knowing that there is so much debt secured against the property/land you’ll never own it.


  • Em says:

    The troika must make the cyprus government issue the title deeds at no cost to the buyer.
    If not the practice will continue.
    The cyprus property market is dead in the water.
    No jobs for thousands in the construction industry.
    The people in power know all this, but have vested interests.

  • Kayleigh says:

    This is only scratching the surface. What about the loans the bank isn’t calling in, so they don’t have to label them non-performing. There is way more than just a handful of mortgage loans that should have started repayment years ago, on properties that will never get built, but the bank is just leaving them to build interest instead of terminating the loan agreement so it can avoid labelling the loan as non-performing. Surely the EU commission has some idea of what is going on, or are we looking at a head in sand issue here?

  • Mark Tyler says:

    Ugh! The sheer greed and dirty methods of the Greek Cypriot banks, And the establishment figures which quietly encourage them, are sickening.

    Was not Cyprus made to sign a promise on all of this as “collateral”, a precondition for the EU taxpayer funded bailout funds?

    Why is there nothing but silence from the EU, which admitted this basket-case into its Membership?

  • Deanna says:

    Thank you Sir Graham.

    We await the outcome of your question with interest.

    Merry Christmas.

  • Owen Rainford says:

    To Nigel Howarth

    Good morning & a merry Christmas.

    I am unfortunately a victim of all that could be wrong with buying a property in Cyprus, a very bad Mortgage in Swiss francs that is impossible to repay, properties that are incomplete or if they are they have not been signed off, not to mention the title deeds fiasco I could go on and on but your news reporting has covered these areas many times, what is unbelievable is the way that Cyprus politicians and its banks carry on as if none of this mess is to do with them, and is hell bent on going down the same old road without regard to the misery it inflicts on good honest people, these people trusted the solicitors and banks and have been let down without any recourse for a fair settlement.

    It would be of great interest if all the action groups out there got heads together and discussed on this news publication what they was going through, and what position they was at with the banks etc again it is another case of dodgy dealing and gagging orders, we must be talking about thousands of people now who are fighting for a fair and just settlement.


  • Mike says:

    The answers to all those questions will be so heavily disguised as to probably render them nonsensical and non committed.

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.


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