There has been discussion recently about the Certificate of Final Approval (CFA) for someone to occupy a building or unit in Cyprus and whether such a thing is necessary.
It is quite an important topic with a lot riding on it. For example, one cannot occupy a house they bought without it, even if they have the title deeds and not having one can even allow for a demolition court order to go through.
Those who have experienced the procedure of securing such a certificate will have acquired a few white hairs in the process, both due to how long it takes and providing the authorities with all the minor details in information that they require.
Hotels are exempt from having to have the certificate, so why is it necessary when it comes to other buildings or units?
We would recommend the CFA is replaced with a certificate of “security and health”, to be issued by the supervising architect, who must coordinate with the fire authority, as well as the hygiene department.
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to help owners or tenants of building units in Cyprus and this is why we propose the security/health certificate be valid for a period of six years from completion of a unit.
Depending on the CFA means that around 50-60 per cent of new building units may remain unoccupied due to lacking one, causing a financial hit.
If it were possible for the CFA to be secured as soon as a project is completed and withing a few days of the application this would be ideal. However, this is not the reality.
In one project we were developing, we had an issue with a neighbour a fence a neighbour had erected. It encroached on the area of our project by 4cm. It was minor and both parties agreed to accept the intrusion as it was, but it took a long time and the intervention of the local municipality to bypass it.
Another issue is whether a building can be legally insured without one and therefore an insurance company may refuse to pay up for any damage. Though I am sure they are more than happy to receive your payments until something happens, do not be surprised if in the end that you are not covered.
Having said that we recommend the CFA is replaced with a security and health certificate for a period of up to six years after completion, it is still imperative that applicants abide by the provisions of the building permit regarding the construction of infrastructure, avoidance of nuisance to neighbours, non-violation of seashore protection zones and so on.
Around 30 years ago a talented lecturer at the London South Bank University told us that “if a law is not working, legal ways are required to bypass it”. This is what we are attempting.
Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Valuers, Estate Agents & Property Consultants