Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said that the Title Deeds backlog had reduced during his speech at the 15th Land Development Conference in Nicosia on Tuesday.
This news will be welcomed by thousands who have been waiting many years, in some cases decades, to get the deeds to properties they purchased.
- In 2014, there were 120,000 Title Deeds unissued; today that backlog has been reduced to 19,190.
- Of these, 8,000 will be issued within 2022 without problems and a further 6,500 will be issued by the end of 2022 with notes.
- Of the remaining 5,000, the minister said that the whole issue is complex, and authorities must find a way to resolve it.
Nouris also said a new licensing policy from October 2020 will allow electronic applications, speeding up the process while making the procedure efficient and more transparent.
Title Deeds with notes
Planning infringements are shown on Title Deeds as notes of unauthorised works and indicate that the developer has failed to comply with the conditions set out in the planning and building permits authorised for the development’s construction.
In a few cases, purchasers make unauthorised changes to the property they purchased. This will also result in the Title Deeds to their property being issued with notes and potentially, other properties in the development will also be issued with a Title Deeds with notes even though they’ve been built correctly.
Properties with notes cannot be sold or mortgaged until any planning infringements have been corrected. Once corrected, properties will be issued with ‘clean’ Title Deeds enabling them to be sold or mortgaged.
Just last week I was advised that Title Deeds could not be issued for a development for a number of reasons, including: unpaid land division fees, no application or payment for a sewerage licence, roof perimeter walls are too low, landscaping incomplete.
In these cases, 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 necessary and then sue the developer to recover their money!
A double whammy! (four actually):
- As property with a Title Deed that has notes cannot be sold, it has no value on the open market.
- Despite the fact that properties have no market value, home-owners are required to pay Property Transfer Fees based on the Land Registry’s assessment of its market value at its date of purchase.
- The victim (the purchaser) has to pay for the indiscretions of the cowboy builder (developer) in order to obtain a ‘clean’ Title Deed to make the property saleable.
- To recover the cost of any remedial work, the home-owner victim has to sue the developer.
The simplest solution to this gross injustice is for the planning authority to impose fines on cowboy builder sufficient to pay for the remedial work required to remove any ‘notes’ from Title Deeds, and revoke the developer’s licence to build.
Home buyers who insist on buying properties off-plan are strongly advised to insure against any potential losses in the event that clean Title Deeds cannot be issued and their developer’s insolvency.