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Title Deeds backlog reducing

Title Deeds waiting for approval

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.

16 COMMENTS

  1. It is recommended to learn the national language of the country of your holiday home such as Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese etc. That way you can read up on the laws and read the contracts you’re signing.

    Cyprus is a gotcha situation. In Cyprus, English is widely spoken, hence superficially Cyprus appears to be a more hospitable environment. As usual, the devil is in the detail and the Cypriot laws and details are written in Greek and seem neither readily available nor commonly accessible.

    There are few learning resources for the Cypriot Greek dialect and its multitude of borrowed foreign words i.e. Cypriot Greek is almost unintelligible to Modern Greek speakers. Should one learn Modern Greek, one will still struggle comprehending the Cypriot dialect.

    There is a better chance of learning modern Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese.. and integrating and learning the system and laws of these countries than there is in Cyprus with its Cypriot Greek dialect. Moreover, with English being spoken widely in Cyprus, this disincentives the need to learn the Cypriot Greek dialect which can act as a barrier to integration.

  2. I have come to the conclusion that our Cyprus villa will never be sold as I am only likely to get a title deed with notes and NEVER intend to spend any money to make it a clean deed. I will not line the pockets of other with hard earned money that others should be responsible for. As I have no requirements for a mortgage or need to sell my villa it will just remain for my family to use after my demise. Thank you Cyprus and A.Chaholis lovely country put so corrupt.

  3. Let’s cut the cream; As an honest developer.

    I’ve said this endless times, building control should inspect a development at least 15 times, charge us developers €300 per visit, on any visit if not built to plans/good standards the inspector should close us down, in its final visit and all good, the district office should issue a satisfactory building certificate / final certificate within 24hrs, as anyone will know this is what usually takes 6 years plus to obtain, with this certificate in hand this allows you to submit at the LR application for titles, no property should change hands unless it has this final approval certificate.

    May sound long winded but much quicker then the system in place now.

    • I agree with you Aggi, building control should inspect developments at critical stages of construction. When our house was built our architect visited every week to check on progress – often with my wife and I in tow.

      But even after final approval certificates have been issued, there can still be problems. When the Land Registry surveyors check they could find that the building/development has encroached on someone else’s land or it’s built too close to the boundary.

      The late president Glafcos Clerides bought a holiday home in Meneou only to discover that one part of the complex had been built on Government owned land and another part on land owed by a foreigner. If a President cannot get Title Deeds, what hope is there for us mere mortals?

      IMO the whole planning, inspection, title deed process needs to be re-engineered to make it more effective, more efficient, less bureaucratic and in the interest of those buying properties rather than the developers.

      I wrote an article 13 years ago ‘You cannot polish horse manure‘. Some (minor) improvements have been made since then, but there is still a long, long way to go.

    • I would be tempted buy off-plan. But I’d need cast-iron, legally enforceable guarantees that would allow me to recover all my money. I’ve lived here for 19 years and have a good idea of developers who can be trusted.

      I had my house built in land that I’d purchased 10 years earlier. Although there were no issues with the deed, my (absent) landowner neighbour claimed that a 5 metre strip of my land, and the land of my other neighbours was his. It took the court 4 years to rule in my favour.

      The contract with my building contractor made him personally responsible if he failed to deliver. (He did an excellent job.)

  4. The Land Registry shouldn’t accept a sale of any kind without a clean title.
    Here you have it, all sorted.

  5. When roads aren’t put in, does this fall to owners to do if developers have gone bust.

    We are looking to purchase and subject appears so complex despite the government actions on the provision of deeds.

    It’s note on title that worrys me how do you confirm that is the case if title not issued?

  6. I note the point about buyers having to take insurance.

    Surely the issues have been stopped from reoccurring.

    Disappointing to see its buyers who have to rectify the issues.

    • I agree Stewart – buyers should not have to pay to rectify planning issues caused by cowboy developers. But that will need changes to the law to avoid the victim having to pay.

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