DAMN TITLE DEEDS! - any answers???

Discussion in 'Cyprus Property' started by susieV3, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member

    Progress, folks!!

    End in sight to title deeds saga?
    By Charles Charalambous
    (archive article - Friday, 8 May, 2009)

    INTERIOR Minister Neoclis Sylikiotios yesterday called on land developers to acknowledge they were part of the problem when it came to the title-deeds debacle, and to shoulder their responsibilities to buyers.

    He said legislation was in process that would bring an end to the problem affecting 100,000 home owners, including 30,000 foreigners, most of whom are British.

    Speaking at the annual general meeting of the Land and Building Developers Association (LBDA), Sylikiotis said the legislation aimed at removing the main reasons why developers effectively block the issuing of title deeds to the rightful owners of new property.

    The main reason in most cases is that currently land owned by developers can be mortgaged again and again, leaving those who bought properties without their title deeds for anything up to 20 years. The average waiting time, even for Cypriot buyers is 12 years.

    “Draft bills have already been submitted to the Legal Service for scrutiny, covering the enactment of urban land-redistribution, the transfer of development rights between properties, and the registration of mortgages,” Sylikiotis said.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  2. Nigel Howarth

    Nigel Howarth Member

    The proof of the pudding ...
  3. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member

    The calm before the storm............

    Cyprus could suffer as EU monitors deeds fiasco
    By Nathan Morley
    (archive article - Sunday, May 17, 2009)

    Homeowners may follow Spain and appeal to Brussels

    DESPITE an assurance by the government that an end to the title deeds shambles is in sight, many desperate home buyers are putting their faith in the EU in an effort to safeguard their properties.

    The move comes after the EU Parliament recently froze hundreds of millions of euros in EU payments to Spain as a result of illegal practices perpetrated against property buyers – the EU ruling was largely as a result of buyers petitioning Brussels.

    MEPs were acting on complaints from Britons and other homeowners who feared their homes might be bulldozed.

    In a move that sent shock waves to Nicosia, the European Parliament flexed its muscles and voted overwhelmingly to freeze hundreds of millions of euros in Spain's EU funding.

    It is now understood that the EU are planning to turn their attention to Cyprus, with Edward Macmillan-Scott the Vice President of the EU Parliament saying publicly that he is “appalled” and “enraged” by what is happening on the island.

    The Sunday Mail can reveal that the European Commission has addressed a request to the government asking for detailed information on the legal provisions and practices regulating and operating in this sector.

    The Commission has also warned it will take the “necessary measures” if it can establish the existence of infringement of EU law.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  4. Nigel Howarth

    Nigel Howarth Member

    Stay tuned for further developments - there should be some more news later today.

  5. Nigel Howarth

    Nigel Howarth Member

    More news about Title Deeds from UK House of Lords

    Yesterday, Lord Jones of Cheltenham tabled a written question to Her Majesty's Government on the thorny issue (or rather non-issue) of Title Deeds.

    To read the full article click here

  6. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member


    Further embarrassment as Cyprus deeds hits Lords agenda
    By Nathan Morley
    (archive article - Wednesday, 20 May, 2009)

    A BRITISH peer heaped further embarrassment on the Cyprus government yesterday in the House of Lords, after tabling a question about title deeds.

    Lord Jones of Cheltenham, a Liberal Democrat peer, has increased pressure on Nicosia for transparency in a fresh attempt to seek clarification about legislation designed to end the title deed fiasco.

    “What progress has been made on the discussions between the British High Commission in Cyprus and the government of Cyprus, regarding the ability of United Kingdom citizens who have bought property in Cyprus to obtain title deeds, and the assurances made by the government of Cyprus to the British High Commissioner that it would introduce a bill to address that issue?”

    Parliamentary rules in the Upper House mean that Jones should receive a full response to his question by the end of this month.

    The Lords question will also force the British High Commissioner Peter Millet to seek an urgent meeting with Sylikiotis to clarify the situation.

    Millet received assurances from the Interior Minister back in December that a bill was being drafted but five months have passed and nothing more has been heard.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  7. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member

    To the barricades (again)!!

    Home owners set to confront the president
    By Nathan Morley
    (archive article - Sunday, 31 May, 2009)

    ‘State-sponsored crime is being covered up’

    DISGRUNTLED property buyers will stage a demonstration in front of President Christofias when he pays a visit to Peyia this week.

    The president, who is scheduled to open a new Municipal Park on Thursday night, will be met by up to two hundred campaigners – most fighting for the issuing of their title deeds.

    The peaceful action, which could cause considerable embarrassment for the government, is the first step to be taken by the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) after members called for direct action.

    CPAG say they have arranged the demo in response to “the failure of the government to respond to calls for them to address the many pitfalls of buying property in Cyprus.”

    A spokesman for CPAG said that the campaigners were "determined and organised", and ready for further peaceful action if their demands continue to go unheeded.

    “This is the President who is currently pontificating on the international stage about property rights, respect for law and order and European values – we think he should practise in the Republic what he preaches otherwise he is just as guilty as the developers and the lawyers who cover up for them,” a CPAG statement read.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  8. Lysos

    Lysos New Member

    Apparently, the President has cancelled his visit; wonder why ?.
  9. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member

    A dress rehearsal............

    ‘Shame on you Mr President’
    By Bejay Brown
    (archive article - Friday, June 5, 2009)

    SOME 300 demonstrators gathered at the new municipal park in Peyia yesterday to express their displeasure at the title deeds situation.

    The demo went ahead as planned despite news that at the last minute President Demetris Christofias, who had been scheduled to inaugurate the park, cancelled his appearance because of a prior engagement.

    “There will be another opportunity to see the President. We have been forced to take this action as he hasn’t responded to any of our communication,” said Dennis O’Hare, coordinator of the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG).

    “I urge him to do something about this situation as we’re not going away,” he added.

    Demonstrators held up banners protesting the title deeds debacle, but also taunting the President for staying away from what could have been an embarrassing standoff.

    One man held up a banner reading: “Mr. President, you’ve got no balls, we’ve got no title deeds.” Police were seen taking down his details.

    A couple of banners declaring “Shame on you, Mr. President” were taken down at the request of the police, as they were regarded as being disrespectful to the head of state. Otherwise the demo, which began at around 7pm passed without incident.

    Trisha Sadey had this message for the President: “Please be an EU country and get this dire situation sorted out.

    “It’s not just expats, it’s all across the board: Cypriots, Swedes, Germans, every nationality that has lived here and put money into this country,” she said.

    Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said she had not been aware before she bought her property about the existence of title deeds. She was concerned about not owning her property, wondering how a bank can lend money on a property that already belongs to someone.

    Motorists passing outside the park honked their horns in support of the demonstrators.

    Campaigners also say government action over IPT tax is inadequate and have written to Christofias to demand a Presidential review into why buyers, who say they have been defrauded by developers, have been refused police assistance.

    CPAG claims that some developers have been falsely claiming they have paid large amounts of Immovable Property Tax (IPT) to the Inland Revenue on behalf of buyers, but in reality only tiny amounts have ended up in government coffers.

    Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2009

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  10. Nigel Howarth

    Nigel Howarth Member

    Another article, including photographs of the demonstration:

    'Cyprus President Avoids Demonstrators'
    By Nigel Howarth
    June 5th 2009

    Last evening’s peaceful protest at the new municipal park in Peyia was planned to coincide with its formal opening by President Christofias. But at the last minute the President postponed his visit due to an ‘important commitment’...

    [Read more]

  11. Nigel Howarth

    Nigel Howarth Member

    Cyprus bombshell rocks their Lordships

    Cyprus bombshell rocks their Lordships

    The Cyprus Government was ‘economical with the truth’ when it assured the UK Government that it intended to introduce a Bill to address the Title Deed issue affecting thousands of Brits who have invested in property on the island.

    [Read More]
  12. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member

    What a letdown!!!!

    Left high and dry: no help on title deeds
    By Nathan Morley
    (archive article - Wednesday, 10 June 2009)

    PROPERTY buyers in Cyprus have reacted with shock after news broke last night that the government will not help to fix the title deeds saga.

    Final confirmation for long-suffering buyers came after months of speculation that much hyped legislation to fix the deeds shambles was non-existent.

    Campaigners are describing the revelation as a "bitter blow” which leaves them with no option other than to seek their deeds through the courts or sit and wait.

    Turning to the courts may turn out to be an expensive endeavour which many pensioners ultimately won’t be able to afford to fight.

    “The only recourse they now have is through the courts. Can you imagine how long it’s going to take the courts to process 100,000 cases? They’ll all be long gone and buried before their cases are even heard. The whole situation is a complete and utter shambles,” said property analyst Nigel Howarth.

    The news will also anger thousands of people stuck in limbo trying to sell their properties, which is ‘near to impossible’ without deeds according to a leading property advisor.

    The devastating news came after British peer Lord Jones of Cheltenham demanded clarification about the much-discussed legislation designed to end the fiasco.

    His question, to a packed House of Lords, sent British High Commissioner Peter Millet scrambling to the Minister of the Interior to seek an answer on the deeds issue.

    The answer, which was published on the Hansard books yesterday, confirmed that up to 100,000 people will be left in the cold by the government.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  13. Nigel Howarth

    Nigel Howarth Member

    Ban Cyprus property companies and close their UK offices

    Following last Tuesdays bombshell that the changes to property laws being planned by the Cyprus government will bring no relief to existing buyers, British peer Lord Jones of Cheltenham has called on the UK Government takes positive steps to protect British citizens by:

    • [*]Closing down the UK offices of Cypriot companies selling property.

      [*]Banning the promotion of Cyprus property at overseas property exhibitions.

      [*]Increasing the warnings to those contemplating buying property in Cyprus of the risk of losing their homes.

    In three written questions tabled in the House of Lords on Thursday, Lord Jones also asked the British government to work with its EU partners to bring pressure of the Cyprus government to prosecute individuals who have retained Title Deeds after completion of property sales.
  14. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member

    Here, here!!

    State must find a solution for title deeds mess
    (archive article - Thursday, June 11, 2009)

    THE ANXIETY and stress levels of tens of thousands of foreign property-owners would have peaked after reading that the government has no plan for tackling the problem of their title deeds.

    Some 100,000 home-buyers have been waiting for title deeds for their properties for years and had pinned their hopes on the government’s pledge to help.

    These hopes were dashed after yesterday’s report that new legislation regarding the issuing of title deeds will only apply to future property purchases and have no bearing on old transactions.

    It means that buyers remain at the mercy of the developer who sold the property to them and the banks that hold their title deeds as collateral for loans. It is a terrible predicament for buyers; despite having paid for a property in full they do not legally own it and cannot sell it or use it as security for a loan.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  15. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member

    At least someone's got their thinking cap on!!

    EVROKO proposes measures to speed-up issuing of title deeds
    By Charles Charalambous
    (archive article - Wednesday, June 17, 2009)

    EVROKO, the European Party, has made a proposal to Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis to “speed up the processes for issuing title deeds for property”, but will “have to think about” how to encourage developers to pay off their mortgages, the party said yesterday.

    Party leader Demetris Syllouris told the Cyprus Mail that the main aim of the proposal is to speed up the process of issuing title deeds by cutting down bureaucracy, and thereby “reverse the bad image that Cyprus has developed abroad due to problems with the transfer of property rights”.

    This would be achieved through three main measures: applying the existing regulations “more favourably”, i.e. less strictly; allowing self-regulation by civil engineers for smaller projects involving, for example, no more than five property units; and a “town-planning amnesty”.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  16. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member


    New British bombshell for developers
    By Nathan Morley
    (archive article - Wednesday, June 17, 2009)

    Call to shut UK offices of Cypriot developers

    THE LATEST bombshell to befall the beleaguered property market came after peer Lord Jones of Cheltenham publicly warned that buying a house in Cyprus was fraught with danger.

    And in a bold move, which was dismissed as unhelpful in some quarters, he called upon the British government to shut down the UK offices of Cypriot companies selling property and to impose a ban on the promotion of Cyprus property at overseas property exhibitions in the UK.

    Jones has also demanded increasing the warnings to those contemplating buying property in Cyprus.

    In three written questions, Lord Jones also asked the British government to work with its EU partners to bring pressure of the Cyprus government to prosecute developers who have held onto title deeds after completion of property sales.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  17. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member

    Action speaks louder than words!!

    Sylikiotis shoots from the hip
    By Charles Charalambous
    (archive article - Tuesday, June 23, 2009)

    Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis spoke bluntly yesterday about what has been done and what needs to be done to sort out the title deeds situation.

    “We do not have a magic wand which we can wave in order to solve the problem just like that, especially when we are dealing with problems of omission and oversight that have been piling up over decades”, he said.

    Addressing an audience of property sector professionals last night, which also included MPs and mayors, Sylikiotis said: “I think that until today, no-one has ever genuinely got to grips with the situation. We all criticise and say how terrible the situation is, but I wonder why nobody has done anything about it.”

    Sylikiotis referred to the particular problem posed by the cumulative actions of land developers, which have resulted in a lot of attention being generated from the European Parliament, foreign ambassadors and the foreign press. He said that he recently gave an interview to The Times on the issue.

    “The seriousness of the current situation is creating dangers for the property market in the future. I am obliged to ask very many of those involved in land development to co-operate above all honestly and swiftly with the state services, so that the tens of thousands of title deeds that have remained unissued for unjustifiably long periods can be issued as soon as possible.”

    “It is no exaggeration to say that over 100,000 title deeds are not yet even in the system – they have not even been applied for. We have to start the certification approval process before the deeds can be issued. I can tell you that the Land Registry has been listing all the release certificates so that it can approach the owners of the big development projects, to see how to get those properties into the system and to start issuing the title deeds.”

    “We all recognise that in many cases there are various excuses and – I would say – pretexts put forward. We have to see things as they are, not try to bypass them. I think we are all familiar with some of the reasons behind the excuses, like taking out a second or even third mortgage in order to recycle capital into other projects, or postponing things to suit.”

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  18. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member

    It was bound to happen............

    Legal stakes raised on title deeds issue
    By Charles Charalambous
    (archive article - Sunday, June 28, 2009)

    THE legal stakes are about to be raised in the title deeds scandal, as a case will be brought before the High Court in London in the coming weeks by property owners in Cyprus who are still without their title deeds. All of them are facing additional – and in their view unjustified – financial demands and/or the risk of losing their property.

    “We are not just aiming to help individual property owners, we are pursuing the case in the High Court in order to open the road to create a healthy property system in Cyprus,” Dr Katherine Alexander-Theodotou, who chairs the Anglo-Hellenic & Cypriot Law Association (AHCLA), told the Sunday Mail.

    The case is being brought against a number of developers and lawyers by 24 named property owners – British, Cypriot and others – who have lost patience and faith in the Cypriot legal system. It also represents a vote of no confidence in Cyprus’ government institutions – starting with the Interior Ministry – which many people believe are failing to take the necessary steps to solve the title deeds mess on a long-term basis. Two UK barristers have assessed the chances of the case succeeding as being higher than 65 per cent, so the funding is ultimately being covered by insurance companies.

    “Once we have taken this action in the UK High Court, we will take it straight away to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to ensure that the UK High Court ruling is recognised and enforced in Cyprus,” said Alexander-Theodotou.

    Currently, the title deeds to more than 100,000 properties have still not been received by their owners, 30,000 of them non-Cypriot. Pressure groups such as the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) and the Cyprus Land and Property Owners’ Association (KSIA) have made it their business to publicise this issue and to lobby the Cypriot and UK governments for change.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  19. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member

    Believe it when you see it!!

    Sylikiotis tackles deeds issue head on
    By Stefanos Evripidou
    (archive article - Thursday, July 30, 2009)

    Minister plans sweeping changes to property law

    THE INTERIOR Minister yesterday announced a series of measures, including a town planning amnesty, to untie the “Gordian knot” keeping 130,000 properties on the island without title deeds.

    Neoclis Sylikiotis said yesterday the ministry had taken action to counter “malevolent” foreign press reports about the title deeds saga. He attributed the reports to ‘ulterior motives’ that either sought to strengthen Cyprus’ competitors in the foreign investment market or compare the Republic’s treatment of buyers with the abuse of Greek Cypriot properties in the north.

    The minister announced a number of legal proposals that seek to tackle the complex problem of “trapped buyers” who are tied to a building that they cannot sell because they don’t have the title deed.

    The new proposals include the introduction of a completely new system for issuing title deeds which will be divided into three categories, as well as penalties and a “name and shame” policy for developers that delay title deed applications.

    This was the first time that a government had acquired a “comprehensive view” of the wider problem, said Sylikiotis, adding that bold steps had to be taken and not piecemeal changes.

    “The water is running now and very soon people will start getting title deeds,” he said.

    There are currently around 130,000 units (houses, flats, hotels) without title deeds, while only 20,000 applications for title deeds have reached the Land Registry. This translates to a lot of uncollected revenue for the state in terms of taxes on transfers and other costs.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  20. Cornholio

    Cornholio New Member


    Legal solution may not provide title deeds for all
    By Charles Charalambous
    (archive article - Friday, 31 July, 2009)

    ALTHOUGH the property industry has welcomed the radical reform of the whole system for approving and registering built property and issuing title deeds, questions remained yesterday as to how many individual title deeds will not be issued because of a developer’s inability to pay off mortgages on the land.

    “A market that is slow and illiquid will not be improved by legislation. It needs a solution to the fact that there are developers who are over-extended and banks that are over-exposed,” a senior banking source told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    “There are good developers, who haven’t bought expensive land over the last two years and have limited their borrowing to what they can service. On the other hand, there are those who have bought land expensively, have borrowed too big a proportion of their funding needs, are less professional and can’t complete their current projects. There is no legislation which can solve that problem”, the source said. “We have been prudent in our lending, but some banks have not”, he added.

    Savvas Georgiades, Aristo Developers’ Finance & Operations Director, said: “Generally, we welcome the proposed legislation as a positive step forward”, adding: “We believe that a simplification of the whole process will help enormously.”

    On the question of outstanding mortgages, Georgiades said: “We have always made proper provision for paying our obligations out of sufficient operating capital. I don’t know which other developers might have over-extended themselves, but certainly there will be a problem for some to pay off their debts, given the slowdown in the market.”

    He said as members of the Land Developers Association, Aristo did not think there was a large problem.

    “We like to think that some 90 per cent of titles are being blocked by bureaucracy rather than a developer’s inability to repay mortgages”, he said. “Unfortunately, there are companies which have not been financially responsible, and have left some buyers exposed.”

    Georgiades said the system in Cyprus “is not fundamentally bad. “It just needs updating. The sudden expansion of the market over the last ten years or so has meant that the system did not keep up, which has resulted in today’s problems,” he said.

    There are currently around 130,000 units (houses, flats, hotels) without title deeds, while only 20,000 applications for title deeds have reached the Land Registry. This represents a lot of uncollected revenue for the state in terms of tax and duty on transfers and other costs.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009

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