Cyprus title deed laws move closer to implementation

  • 14 years ago
  • Uncategorized

A long running issue regarding title deed disputes in Cyprus has affected over 100,000 homeowners on the island.  Now, after months of political wrangling, it seems as if legislation to sort out the ongoing problems is finally imminent.

Long running dispute

It is estimated that around 130,000 properties on the Mediterranean island do not have title deeds.  This is because they are subject to ‘second mortgages’ taken out by developers or that they were built illegally – i.e. without the necessary building permits.

 In 2009, Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis announced a series of changes to the law to alleviate the problem. The Cyprus government attempted to introduce five bills earlier in 2010 but was unsuccessful in accelerating the legislation before the summer recess.  Now, the proposals could be ready by October 2010.

Damaging the property market

Experts believe that the negative headlines generated by the title deeds fiasco have put many foreign investors off buying on the island.  There have also been press stories about people having their dream homes demolished as they did not have the necessary planning permission.

Critics also believe that the new laws will just gloss over the problem.  The proposals include a ‘town planning amnesty’ which critics believe exonerates developers who have ignored planning laws and taken out mortgages on properties they have then sold to unsuspecting buyers. Buyers will still have no title deeds and risk losing their homes if the developer can’t pay the mortgage or goes out of business.
The proposed legislation also plans to
accelerate the issuing of building and town planning permits (which under the present system can take years), to tackle the problem of unlicensed construction across the island and to clearly identify who is responsible for what in real estate transactions.

Nick Marr director at welcomed the proposed legislation.  “Buyers have clearly been put off by negative reporting of this problem and so we welcome the Cyprus government’s attempts to more closely regulate property ownership and construction on the island”.

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