The Cyprus government is coming under further pressure at a political level to sort out the country’s long running real estate title deed saga.
As a direct result of complaints from people in his constituency in the south west of England, Ashley Fox, MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar, has raised a number of questions concerning the Island’s planning and building regulations.
‘I have been approached by constituents in the southwest of England angry and disappointed by the building and planning regulations in Cyprus,’ he said.
He has now written to the European Commission demanding what it is going to do about the situation. ‘British families seeking to retire abroad are being caught by unscrupulous builders who are selling properties without planning permission, without access and without utilities. It seems that once this happens there is little protection for expatriate residents caught in the system,’ he says in the letter.
‘Please could the Commission answer the following questions: Is the Commission monitoring the problems in the planning and building regulations in Cyprus? What measures is the Commission proposing to help Cyprus tighten up its building and planning legislation? What redress do expatriates living in Cyprus have after being sold an illegal construction?’ it continues.
The government in Cyprus claims it is trying to sort out the title deeds problem stemming from unscrupulous developers raising mortgages on properties already sold to unsuspecting buyers, many of who were British. A certain amount of illegal building has also contributed to the problems.
They are not moving fast though and even although new rules have been debated in parliament nothing has yet been introduced in law and there are also concerns about the time it will take to sort out the mess with hundreds of thousands of properties thought to be affected.
As a result of all the publicity many British buyers have pulled out of the market and now there are reports that Russian buyers are now aware of the potential pitfalls with agents reporting a drop in interest from them.
A massive drop in property prices has not helped to revive the real estate market on the Mediterranean island which was once one of the most popular locations for overseas buyers and investors.
Some experts say that prices have fallen up to 30% in some locations but an expected rush of bargain hunters has not materialized and sales are very slow.