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Planning issues the victim has to pay

The amendments to the Trapped Buyers law approved by parliament will hopefully help many more property buyers get their Title Deeds, but planning issues require urgent attention.

Cyprus: Title deeds and planning issues ALTHOUGH amendments to the Trapped Buyers law may help those deceived into buying property built on land that its developer had earlier mortgaged to the bank to get their Title Deeds, planning infringements remain a serious problem.

Planning infringements are shown on Title Deeds as notes of unauthorised works and indicate that the developer has failed to comply the conditions set out in the planning and building permits authorised for the development’s construction.

These planning infringements must be corrected before the ‘notes’ can be removed and a ‘clean’ Title Deed issued.

And herein lies the gross injustice. The developer responsible for causing the planning infringements gets off scot-free – and it’s left to the property buyer to pay for any remedial work and then sue the developer to recover their money!

Furthermore, some notes require remedial work to be carried out before the purchaser, who now owns the property, can use it as collateral for a loan or sell it on the open market.

A double whammy! (four actually):

  • A property with notes cannot be sold and therefore has no market value.
  • The victim is required to pay Property Transfer Fees on its market value as assessed by the Land Registry, despite the fact that the property has no market value.
  • The victim (the purchaser) has to pay for the indiscretions of the cowboy builder (developer) in order to make the property saleable.
  • To recover the cost of the remedial work, the victim has to sue the ‘criminal’.

The simplest solution to this gross injustice is for the planning authority to impose fines on the ‘criminal’ sufficient to pay for the remedial work required to remove the ‘note’ from the deed, plus a further amount to dissuade the ‘crook’ from repeating his misdemeanours.

Planning infringements

Planning infringements come in all shapes and sizes:

  • Failure to complete roads, pavements and green areas, build boundary walls too high, etc. Note that developers make no money for building roads, etc.; costs are included in the price that buyers pays.
  • Failure to install fire doors, signage, etc. as required by the Fire Service.
  • In other cases, developers overbuild; building more properties on the site than permitted by their permits or building them larger to maximise their sales revenue.

The list is endless!

It goes without saying that buying a property in Cyprus without a ‘clean’ Title Deed is a big mistake.

Readers' comments

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  • embapaphos says:

    I will chime in an agree with all that Nigel says and I speak as one of the lucky ones who was able to get deeds (albeit) tainted which is a great improvement to the doom and gloom picture painted by various govt depts I spoke to prior to the law being passed. General consensus was did not have a leg to stand on as law stood before.

    It also cost me an combined additional 7k to rectify DEVELOPERS lack of adhering to building regs. and paying for inflated transfer fees (based on a ridiculous valuation by land reg as perceived by them purchase price, refute it and it could be re-assessed at higher price leaving you more out of pocket I was told!)

    But still was willing to pay as would have cost me more chasing a ghost developer through the slow motion justice system.

  • Pamela Caulfield says:

    Nearly 80 years old, lived here 25 years and still only Title Deeds to the Land. I have been in touch with you before and have given up spending any more thousands. The latest actually added to my problems as I now have notes of unauthorised work !!!

    If I demolish my house, can I sell as a plot as I have the Title for that? Approximate cost for demolition work please?
    Thank you.

    Ed: Do you know what the notes of unauthorised works say? It may be less expensive for you to correct the planning issues. I’m not sure what the cost of demolition would be, but cost of demolishing one of the properties made uninhabitable by the landslide in Pissouri was €11,000. This was a largish family house on two floors.

    (I found your emails from 2014 querying the size of your plot. I expect the reason the value of your house was not included in the 2013 valuations was because it had not been added to the land deed – due to the unauthorised work. Is there any way you can send me a scan or a clear digital photograph of your deed? Since 2014 the Land Registry has improved its website and there’s more information available.)

  • Alan says:

    This article deserves Island-wise coverage. There is no doubt that many people, especially Greek Cypriots, are still purchasing properties without Title Deeds. They, as well as foreign buyers need to know that this government is still firmly in the pockets of the builders and developers and that legislation giving the purchasers a square deal is still not on the statute books.

    Ed: I agree, all the articles here are published on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for wider distribution. And anyone with a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn can get articles to a wider audience by clicking on the relevant button(s) below each article.

  • Lisa says:

    Not only Cyprus I am dealing with a case here in England the justice system here is all very wrong.

    My conveyancing solicitor Winch and Winch illegally put through a residential mortgage on a property that was and still is a holiday let and I can only live in the property for 3 weeks at any one time… In fact the council can enforce me to move out and become homeless… The solicitors insurance company Mills and Reeve are refusing to cooperate with any kind of mediation or help.. My solicitor is a dead end and my life is beyond stress..

    I know how the people in Cyprus are feeling..

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Sounds about par for the course in this septic isle.

    The ‘connected usual suspect’s’ get away with anything they want with no repercussions or responsibilities.

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

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