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1st October 2022
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HomeJointly Owned BuildingsNew Jointly-Owned Buildings Law drafted

New Jointly-Owned Buildings Law drafted

Anyone who’s had dealings with the Jointly-Owned Buildings Law will agree that it’s in dire need of revision. I get as many complaints and queries about this particular law (two this morning) as I get about Title Deeds.

It seems that, at long last, the law is about to change. A draft law for the management and operation of jointly-owned buildings has been prepared by the Department of Lands and Surveys and the Commissioner for Legislation.

Draft Jointly-Owned Buildings Law

The draft law aims to solve a host of serious issues with the current law including the lack of management committees, non-payment of communal fees, insurance and partial or total destruction of the building. Its purpose is to provide management committees with the flexibility to carry out its obligations, to ensure that unit owners meet their obligations and that properties are properly maintained.

A management committee or owner who fails to comply with any obligation under the proposed law or regulations is subject to a fine of up to €3,000.00.

New Service to oversee compliance

A separate service will be established responsible for overseeing compliance with the law. The role of the Department of Lands and Surveys will be limited to issues relating to the occupation and registration of jointly-owned buildings.

This new service will be responsible for registering jointly-owned buildings, the registration of management committees with the Service and maintaining a register of the buildings and their management committees.

In addition to jointly-owned buildings that have been registered, the law will apply to all jointly-owned buildings that have been issued with a building permit, division and approval certificate (or a certificate of unauthorised works).

Management Committees

The draft law empowers management committee to claim expenses that are reasonably necessary for maintaining and operating the common areas of the building for which owners have not paid.

The draft bill (in Greek) has been posted on the Department of Lands and Surveys website for public consultation.

(A machine translation of the draft new law into English may be viewed by clicking here.)

 

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Is this worth the time to comment?

    Since year dot 95% of the locals won’t pay towards common expenses, they know too well that they can get away with it, lesson learnt never buy an apartment with a local in the block.

    Nothing will happen with this new law.

    The British know very well about apartment blocks thus the reason of Leasehold.

  2. As an owner of an apartment in a sought after noisy touristic area, I have a myriad of ‘negative’ arguments to report about Management Committees and Owners as bad payers. However, before I mention even one (i.e non-compliance to CY & EU Rules; ..), I would like to share an idea with regard to this new Draft Law : how about we – as foreign owners of real estate in Cyprus – make ourselves heard and send our requests, comments, modifications, addenda, etc. to Nigel who would then consolidate and forward them to the DLS contact person prior to deadline?

    • Good suggestion Anne-Marie. People can get in touch via my Contact Page with their ideas.

      If people can get their suggestions to me by 4th July please. It needs to include:

      1. The article in the law. (Refer to the English translation)
      2. Comment / Suggestion and Justification

  3. It is interesting that at last something appears to be being done with regards to the management of “complexes” and there is a need to protect the management committee from too much pressure with regard to the legal processes – they are VOLUNTEERS after all and can simply walk away if the “going gets rough”..!!!

    Non payment of communal charges is probably the biggest issue and certainly needs some weight swaying towards the committee’s ability to force owners to pay-up and quickly.

    Maintaining properties in good repair costs money and if this is not available then the government must face the reality that properties will look “tired” and unappealing to prospective buyers and tourists visiting this beautiful island.

    • The majority of problem reported to me are non-payers. The burden of paying the debt falls on those who do pay. And although charges against the deed for the debt can be lodged (assuming a deed has been issued and transferred) and legal action against the debtor can take place, there is no quick way of getting the money necessary to maintain the building.

      Non-payers have a domino effect on others in the development – “if he’s not paying, why should I?”. Eventually the management committee resigns and the building falls into disrepair.

      Perhaps a freeze on withdrawals from the debtors bank account, sending in bailiffs to seize assets, placing a charge against the contract (if no deeds been issued) would help?

      (The Land Registry can take on the task of the Management Committee if no-one volunteers or the committee resigns. But they will still face the same problem with non-payers.)

  4. Would like to update my last posting! …. This draft law, obviously based on a very outdated 1993 Immovable Property Tax Law, also does not address the new phenomena of short term commercial letting within Jointly owned properties and Complexes. Under Owners Obligations, it’s now about time that Holiday Home owners and Owner Occupiers have specific laws put into place to protect them from those owners who purchase property on complexes specifically to commercially let. There should now be a sub category under Owners Obligations that specifically covers the responsibilities of those owners who commercially short term let covering liability insurances, contact information, Behaviour of Guests, Suitability of accommodation for Babies and very young children etc ….. The list is endless but would make sure that all Owner’s of Commercially let properties take full responsibility for their guests and that neither Management Company or Complex Committee bear the brunt of poor hosting!

    • I believe the draft law is designed to replace Section 38, which describes the law regarding Buildings Under Joint Ownership, of the The Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) (Amendment) Law.

      If someone buys a property in a residential development, the current law prevents that property being used or let for commercial, work, etc. purposes. Behaviour of guests is also covered.

      If someone makes their permanent home in a tourist area, they face a number of problems. They will find out too late that their neighbours are noisy & constantly changing, or see adjacent properties standing empty and poorly maintained for many months in the year. Often they have no facilities nearby and, having no permanent neighbours, they find it difficult to make permanent friends.

      • Hi Nigel … I have sent my three penneth to …. VPalma & CTO this morning for their consideration and for your information.
        To Whom It May Concern, Consultation Panel – The Law on Management of Shared Buildings and Related Issues Bill 2022

        This draft law, obviously based on a very outdated 1993 Immovable Property Tax Law, also does not address the new phenomena of Short-Term Commercial Letting within Jointly owned properties and Complex.

        Under Owners Obligations, it is now being suggested that Holiday Home owners and Owner/ Occupiers have specific laws put into place, within these shared buildings law, to protect them from those owners who purchase property on complexes specifically to commercially let.
        I would now like to suggest that a new sub category under Rights and Obligations of Owners/Holders that specifically covers the responsibilities of those owners who commercially short term let and that this category covers liability and business insurances, contact information, Behaviour of Guests, Suitability of accommodation for Babies and very young children etc This additional list, written within Law, would make sure that all Owners of Commercially let properties take full responsibility for their short term guests and that neither the Management Company or Complex Committee bear the brunt of poorly hosted property and inappropriate behaviour of their guests.

        I would therefore ask that the submitted Comments and Suggestions below be considered as part of the consultation for the new draft bill and also ask that any additional items under this sub-heading, that the consultation panel think necessary, be discussed and added with regard to the “The Law on Management of shared buildings and related Issues Bill 2022

        NOTE: That in addition to PART IV – RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF OWNERS OR HOLDERS there should be a new Sub Paragraph RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF OWNERS WHO COMMERCIALY SHORT TERM LET – SHARED BUILDINGS

        Contractual Agreements and Permits
        Sometimes leases, contracts, building regulations, and community rules have restrictions on subletting or hosting. Owners who Commercially Let should review any contracts that have been signed and contact whoever is responsible for your building and property (for example, your committee, community council or Management Company) to understand what rules might affect your ability to host or commercially let your property within your specific shared building community.

        Courtesy
        A. Owners of Commercially let properties will be responsible in making sure that their guests understand the best practices for interacting within your specific shared building community and that local rules and General Agreements of Jointly owned properties are communicated with guests.
        B. That Owners who Commercially let within a shared building consent to give their contact details, for emergency use, to their committee or Management Company

        Building Rules & General Agreements
        If your building has common spaces or shared amenities, let guests know the rules and General agreements for those shared common spaces and amenities.

        House rules
        That General Agreements of Shared Buildings Rules are included in Obligations of Guests Information Packages both in the Commercially Let property and in any online section of Listing details for the property concerned.

        Neighbours
        That in advance of Commercially letting property that the Shared Building Committee or Management Company are informed of change of use. All owners of shared property should be made aware of this change of use so they can voice any concerns and considerations.

        Noise
        It remains important that guests of Commercially let property are aware of how noise affects neighbours and owners/hosts are advised to refer to General Agreements and House Rules for the Shared Building. This would include:
        • Any Implementation or Existence of a Quiet hour’s policy.
        • Whether Pets are allowed
        • Indications and concerns by Neighbours that your listing isn’t suitable for children or infants
        • Prohibition of parties and additional unregistered guests and the use of common area by unregistered guests.

        Parking
        Communicate any parking rules for your building and neighbourhood to your guests.

        Insurance
        That Owners of Commercially let property work with their insurance agent or company to determine what kind of obligations, limits, and coverage are required for their specific letting circumstances. Not all insurance plans cover damage or loss to shared building common areas caused by guests, this should be noted and include adequate listed damages and liability cover along with any other insurance requirements.

        Inclusion of any other items for Panel Consultation
        ………………………………………………………………………………………………………
        I hope the above suggestions to the consultation panel prove to be of some value for the new Law on Management of Shared Buildings and Related Issues Bill 2022 and would again stress the importance of adding this new sub-category which tends to now play an integral part in the day to day living experience of those who own holiday homes or are owner/occupiers within shared buildings and would therefore, please ask, that this new phenomena of Commercially Short Term letting within Shared Buildings not be ignored within this new draft bill, but acknowledged.

        I would be grateful for acknowledgement of receipt of this email please.
        With kind regards,
        Mark Hemming

        • Thanks Mark (and for your email.) I hope others will remember to include the Article number etc as my reply to Anne-Marie.

  5. This draft law, obviously based on a very outdated 1993 Immovable Property Tax Law, also does not address the new phenomena of short term commercial letting within Jointly owned properties and on Complexes. Its now about time that Holiday Home owners and Owner Occupiers have specific laws put into place. To protect them from bad hosts, their guests and noise nuisance. Again this draft although badly translated into English, does not go far enough!

    • No, it doesn’t go far enough. The number 1 problem is non-payers and there is no new provision in the draft law to recover the debt quickly. It still relies on suing the debtor and lodging a claim against the property.

      (The current law includes provisions regarding noise, bad smells, etc. and inappropriate use. It’s up to the Management Committees to take appropriate actions. See Article 7 on page 15 of Section 38 of the law.)

  6. It’s good that changes will be brought about but a big issue also is the amount of time and money it takes to get anything done in the courts to claim outstanding common expenses. Currently you have to use a solicitor to do this which adds to the cost and although this can be added to the outstanding expenses of the debtor it would be much quicker if Management Committees could access a form themselves to file a claim through the court-similar to the small claims courts in the UK.

    • The draft law doesn’t change the process of chasing debtors:

      “If any unit owner fails or neglects to pay under this Article or the Internal Regulations, or the Standard Internal Regulations or other decided from the Management Commission corresponding to the amounts payable to him, the Management Committee can:

      (a) make any expenditure reasonably necessary for the purposes of Article 21 (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5); and

      (b) to act in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of Article 15 and to claim by lawsuit the amount owed by the owner and after a relevant decision of the Court, he can register a real burden in the real estate of the negligent owner for the corresponding amount of the due expenses according to the Law on Civil Procedure. (c) impose restrictions on access to or access to or from public areas, for which there was no contribution to repair or maintenance.”

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