Is it legal as a British expat to own property in the North and South?

Discussion in 'Cyprus Property' started by Poppy81, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Poppy81

    Poppy81 New Member

    Simple question, Can a British expat who owns property in the south of cyprus also own legally a property in the North?
  2. Veronica

    Veronica Administrator

    Hmmmm!!!!! Thats a good question. Not one I've come across before but to be honest I cant see why it would not be legal.:dontknow:
    Hopefully someone will be along who knows the answer for sure, but I can't see anything against it.
  3. Lysos

    Lysos New Member

    I can't see why not. After all, you could own a property in the south and in mainland Turkey. The only real issue would be the original ownership of the land in the North, which is nothing to do with any other properties you might own, anywhere in the world.
  4. gortap

    gortap New Member

    It is illegal to buy a property in so called "North Cyprus" anyway, see the Orams case. I don't believe there would be any difficulty in buying properties in both sides as a British, but the thing would be there would be an uncertainty in if you will really ever legally own the property on the "North" side.
  5. Veronica

    Veronica Administrator

    It NOT illegal to buy in the North.
    The thing is to make sure that you check with the land registry in the South to make sure that the property or the land on which it is built does not legally belong to a Greek Cypriot. Don't belive Turkish title deeds issued after 1974.
    The Orams villa was built on Greek owned land as were many other properties in the North and this is where the problem is. If it seems cheap question why.
  6. gortap

    gortap New Member

    Well, more than 80% is Greek-Cypriots land, so the chances making a legal transaction goes down to 1/5. Checking from the land registry? Can you do that?
  7. Veronica

    Veronica Administrator

    Yes, you get hold of a copy of the title deeds and go to the Land registry in Nicosia to check them.
  8. Veronica

    Veronica Administrator

    Don't believe what you are told about so called 'exchange land' either without checking it with the land registry.
  9. motormek

    motormek New Member

    It is legal if you buy from the legal owner with deeds issued by the Republic of Cyprus.Quite a lot of property in the occupied by Turkey area is own by British Citizens of Cypriot origin like myself.I was living in England at the time of the invasion and my property is occupied.I cannot imagine another Brit or European to take a chance to build on my land .What chances would they have to become owners without my agreement.So it is adviseable for all prospective Europeans buyers to investigate first.Another issue is the names of Villages and Towns .I see estate agents advertising properties in Kirne /Lapta ,Guzzelyurt.Theese names are not on the map of Cyprus which the British passed on to the Republic of Cyprus in 1960 with the Independance.The proper names are Kerynia/Lapythos,Morphou.It looks to me that they are selling just air and instead of property investment it becomes property disaster
  10. kismet

    kismet New Member

    Buying in GC and the TRNC


    The answer to your question is absolutely yes. There is nothing illegal in owning properties in the TRNC and GC. However, if the GC government find out that you also own property in the TRNC, irrespective of whether it was pre 1974 GC owned or not they will prosecute you on trumped up charges and confiscate your GC property.

    Solution?. Buy property in GC in your own name and form a TRNC company for buying property in the North. This is also not straightforward but answers your question. I would point out to you that Titles in the TRNC can be very dodgy. Most TRNC property, pre 1974, was owned by Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Government issued new Titles ( esdeger) on same property. So there are ongoing claims by the former Greek Cypriot owners in court so who needs this hassle. Recommend you do not buy in either state because the Title situation on the Greek side is also very dodgy. Thousands of people ( mostly Brits) are in danger of losing their homes because of corrupt GC developers who mortgaged their land to the banks AFTER they had bought and paid for it.

    Find a different civilized country to your property because its a bag of worms in all of cyprus.

    :withstupid: :withstupid:

  11. Veronica

    Veronica Administrator

    Quote'However, if the GC government find out that you also own property in the TRNC, irrespective of whether it was pre 1974 GC owned or not they will prosecute you on trumped up charges and confiscate your GC property.Unquote.

    This it total nonsense. The GC government will not confiscate property bought legally in the South nor will they take any action agaisnt anyone who buys property which was Turkish owned pre 1974. They certianly will not trump up any charges agaisnt people but they may take action if you buy pre 1974 GC owned property but only in relation to that property and not any bought legally in the South.

    Provided you do your homework and know what you are doing it is safe to buy in the South if you buy resales which either have title deeds or an AX number in the land registry. If an AX number has been issued it means that everything has been checked out and the process of issuing the deeds is progressing.
    A good lawyer will make sure that everything is in order. Thanks to recent prosecutions of corrupt lawyers who did not do everything to protect their clients lawyers now are being far more careful and more thorough in their due diligence.
    As for buying from developers only a very small number of developers are corrupt or in danger of becoming bankrupt and again providing you do your homework and are not foolish enought to use the lawyer recommended by the developer as so many people have been naive enough to do in the past you should not have any problems.
    Also never ever pay any money to agents. Some unscrupulous agents have been known to illegally take down payments and keep them and then do a runner. All money should be paid though your lawyer to the developer or to the venodor in the case of resales, to safeguard your interests.

    To recap
    Do your homework
    Get a good independant lawyer.
    Do not pay any money to an agent.
  12. kismet

    kismet New Member

    Nonsense you say?

    Hello Pippin,

    If you are claiming that the Greek Cypriot legal and judiciary system is not corrupt then I recommend you go to to read the thousands of innocent buyers, mostly Brits, who have been defrauded and physically attacked in many cases by: GC developers,lawyers, police and the judiciary. I am wondering if your claim that what I am saying is nonsense has anything to do with the fact that you are an estate agent trying to sell properties in Cyprus? There are also several splinter groups of buyers focusing on getting justice from individual developers such as : Leptos, Alpha Panerrti, Aristo etc

    I'm going to presume that you are naive and well intentioned. If so stop claiming that Cyprus is a safe place to buy property because it most certainly is not. While your at it have a look at: Karayiannas Victim - The Truth about Karayiannas Developers in Paralimni Cyprus
  13. Veronica

    Veronica Administrator

    I am fully aware of the cases you mention and I have never said that all developers are honest. Read some of the old threads on this forum andyou will see that.
    What I have said is that the dishonest and corrupt ones are a small handful in relation to the number of developers there are on the island.
    There are court cases agaisnt some of those corrupt developers and I am sure there will be alot more to come.
    But to tar everyone with the same brush is irresponsible to say the least.
    There are a great many good developers and what I have said so many times is as long as you do your homework and have a good lawyer there should not be a problem.
    Your posts are merely sensationlist and do not help the situation at all.
    I am not naive, I know what has gone wrong in the past and I know which developers cannot be trusted and which can.
    We took a great deal of time and effort to do our homework to know who we could and could not trust as we did not want to be in a position where a client of ours was left with problems because we introduced them to the wrong people.
    Please do treat me like an idiot or presume that I am some sort of fool or scoundrel.
  14. Veronica

    Veronica Administrator

    Kismet we have lost sales because we make sure that we take our clients to reputable lawyers who have uncovered problems which we were not told about by the vendors. We pride ourselves on making sure that our clients are protected every step of the way and while you are correct that there is widespread corruption you are wrong in saying that nothing is being done about it.
    There are at long last a small handful of lawyers who will take cases against other lawyers which is something which never happened in the past. There will be a day of reckoning for many lawyers who did not protect their clients interest in the past.

    If you have looked at my past posts you will see that I am constantly trying to warn people about the problems and make them aware of what they need to do to protect themselves. We are a small company and our reputation is important to us as we intend to be around for a long time. We are not a here today gone tomorrow company and we want our clients to become our friends which is excatly what has happened with all of our clients so far.

  15. Veronica

    Veronica Administrator

    As for the title deed situation this is slowly improving with many title deeds having been issued this year and many more pending. Where there are problems which might in the past have meant deeds would never have been issued there is legislation in the pipeline which will solve the majority of these problems though probably not all of them.

    A recent article from the CYPRUS MAIL about title deeds for Cyprus property

    Minister confident title deed changes will work
    By Charles Charalambous

    Could you start by clarifying what the new title deeds legislation is about?

    There are five draft amending bills. The proposed legislation is not just about the town-planning amnesty. Although these bills also deal with a town-planning amnesty, they deal mainly with making issuing of title deeds easier, with the buyer at the very heart.

    To give one simple example: Currently, if there is a property development involving 100 flats or houses, even if the majority of those units do not have a town-planning problem, the fact that a Completion Certificate cannot be issued for the whole development means that title deeds cannot be issued for those units. This is why we came up with the idea of differentiating between categories of title.

    Let’s be clear: we are not talking about three separate title deeds – there is only one title deed. What we are simply saying is that in particular cases, any [building permit] irregularity will be recorded as an appendix to the title, which is why that title will be designated “incomplete”. This will help the buyer because it will allow us to issue the Completion Certificate. So in my earlier example, say 70 property-owners will receive clean title, say another 20 would get an “incomplete” title due to the minor irregularities. With a lot of developments involving apartment-blocks, these irregularities are often no more than parking spaces not having been designated, or the use of common areas not being clearly defined. But these are the kind of irregularities which don’t affect neighbouring units.

    In cases where there are major irregularities or illegalities, then a “limited” title will be issued, in other words a title deed with an appendix of the illegalities which typically affect neighbouring units. This means that the owner cannot sell or otherwise transact unless he ends the illegalities.

    This is being done in order to enable title deeds to be issued for the whole development, to limit the problem of any illegalities with a few units. So in my example 70 titles are clean, 20 are “incomplete”, and the remaining 10 “limited”.

    Apart from the various provisions for a town-planning amnesty, something which appears for the first time in the new legislation is the “special execution” order. A buyer will no longer depend on the developer – he can apply directly to the Director of the Land Registry office, who will have the right to consider whether to issue the title deed without having to wait for the land-owner. Today, that possibility is only available after you have applied to a court for a special execution order, but with the new law the buyer will have this new right.

    But where does the problem of developers’ mortgages fit in? The laws create a right, but there are debts hiding behind that right.

    That is irrelevant. Under the special execution order process, if the buyer can prove he has paid what he was supposed to, the title deed can be issued, and let the bank solve its problem with the developer.

    So the new law will protect the buyer?

    That’s exactly the point – the special execution order process applies to a specific property unit. The provisions also include an obligation on the developer to comply with the process and they give the authorities the power to impose a fine if the developer does not fulfil his obligations. The developer will be obliged to apply for a Completion Certificate, and once this is issued, there is the obligation to apply for the title deeds to be issued. This is the point where the mortgage question sometimes comes in. Up to now the developer could hold things up by saying “I have a mortgage, I can’t get the title deeds issued, because I would have to pay off the mortgage.”

    But now there will be the burden of possible fines, and secondly there will be “naming and shaming” of developers who offend repeatedly. A company that is serious about its business will avoid this.

    Another important aspect is the option of the seller lodging the sales agreement, because sometimes a lot of games can be played with this. Now there will be an obligation to do so, which will protect the buyer against a seller taking a deposit and then selling the property on to another buyer. Once a sale is agreed, the law says that when the signed sale agreement is lodged, it comes into force as far as the Land Registry is concerned. The buyer has ownership, even though he may not yet have received the actual deed, and so can’t sell or transfer it.

    But in practice, won’t the Land Registry simply say that, for the title deed to be issued, the mortgage has to be paid off first? Are you saying that the whole process will change?

    Yes, this is where the special execution order comes in. When a third party can now apply for the title deeds, the obligations relating to mortgages are transferred from that party. Of course, very often this depends on the contract the buyer has signed.

    This legislation does not only deal with the future; it deals with the past, because today we have some 100,000 cases that aren’t in the system. This legislation will help the whole process, since – through the town-planning amnesty, or the special execution order process, or the obligation to lodge a sales contract – we will force these deals to enter the system.

    I’d like to add a few things about developers’ mortgages and bankruptcies, because a lot is being said about this. The truth is that a lot of people don’t understand the system that operates in Cyprus, because they start from what happened in the United States or the UK with the banks holding toxic debt and having to take drastic measures. In Cyprus it is no simple step for a bank to liquidate a property [in order to recover a debt]. That has never happened here. Even in the case where a developer went completely bust – Pieris Estates – finally the banks, the liquidator and all concerned had to come to an arrangement, which allowed people to get their title deeds. OK, it may not have been an ideal solution, but at least people did get their deeds.

    First of all, the bank does not have the power to move to liquidation on its own. Yes, it can go to court and obtain a winding-up order, but it then needs the Land Registry to do its part. So if the Land Registry says it will not do that, the bank cannot proceed. As Minister I already turned down a request from the Banks Association for legislation that would make the liquidation process easier.

    Then again, Cyprus is such a small community that if the banks went ahead with liquidation [and seized property] in some cases, their indirect loss would eventually be bigger than any immediate gain, because people would be more wary of taking on the kind of debt they are nowadays – hence their incentive to reach an arrangement.

    So what are we doing? We are plugging the gaps in legislation in order to strengthen the position of the buyer, to give him more tools to use in relation to the seller. With the new legislation, both the seller and the bank will be forced to solve the problem. But there is another side: during the period of very high demand over the last 15 years or so, some people bought with their eyes shut. That’s not to say that some developers and lawyers locally did not take advantage of the situation in a way that created problems. But the main incentive with the new legislation is to create healthy conditions in the property market. When I say that we need to cut through the “Gordian Knot”, this is not a phrase I use lightly.

    Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2009
  16. kismet

    kismet New Member

    Hello veronica

    I am aware of the draft legislation in the GC parliament regarding the Title fiasco. In fact I have been reading similar stories in the papers since the 80's and still nothing is done to address the 100k+ people who have been defrauded by the collusion between: developers, Lawyers and the banks. I personally have not suffered in any way but I have been an observer over the last 25 years and I see no change at all today.

    I'm sure you are well intentioned and I wish you luck but buying from a developer in Cyprus is volunteering to take on a lot of stress and worry because GC developers are not subjected to government sanctions for wrongdoing . Sorry Veronica I wish you well but there are a lot safer places than Cyprus to buy a holiday home.
  17. SusanaSuspenda

    SusanaSuspenda New Member

    Its still a complete minefield then

    I have been doing some research and found that North Cyprus had some very interesting possibilities especially if you want to take a 3 to 5 year view on your investment wheras you certainly wouldnt want to be investing in the south.

    However like most places where its possible to make money you need to do your due dillegence.
  18. Lysos

    Lysos New Member

    You obviously haven't done any research into the minefield of land ownership in the North.
  19. Veronica

    Veronica Administrator

    Lysos I think some people like to think they know everything but you know what they say, 'a little knowledge is dangerous'.
    A little research is even more dangerous:wink:
  20. SusanaSuspenda

    SusanaSuspenda New Member

    Nothing like a warm welcome to the forum.

    There are huge issues with people owning property in Thailand but it doesnt stop them owning property through one means or another.

    Well it seems from what you two are saying best to stick to a real market like Brazil then

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