In a seminar jointly organised by ΚΣΙΑ and ΕΤΕΚ on October 24 the main message was exactly the one in the headline of our article.
As we will prove later this is not a figure of speech.
The main speakers at the seminar were high-caliber members of state and municipal authorities dealing with real estate issues.
The first conclusion based on the views of the speakers was that if a property does not have a title deed the buyer is at high risk.
Filing a sales contract with the Land Registry when a title deed is not available will ensure that the seller cannot sell the same property to a third person. It will also allow the buyer to seek a court order allowing him to transfer the property to his name if the seller does not abide by the contract clauses assuming a title deed exists.
If the seller (developer for new properties), does not manage or does not wish to issue a title deed the buyer is at a dead end. On top, If there are any irregularities during construction getting a title might be almost impossible.
The second conclusion is that no property (house, flat, shop, office) can be occupied or used if it does not have a certificate of final approval. This is explicitly stated by the law. But who follows the law?
Who has the financial stamina to wait around for a couple of years for the final approval to be issued before taking occupancy? What is the cost of this i.e. who can be paying rent for a long time while he has the keys of a new empty flat?
The third conclusion is that most of the sales contracts signed include prohibitive clauses, something which is against the Consumers Protection Law.
All the above conclusions of the seminar deliberations could all be solved in a simple way, as they all originate from the same trouble source.
The source of the problems is none other than the delay in issuing a certificate of final approval and title deed once a building is completed.
If these two documents were issued at the same time the buyer takes delivery of the property and the key in hand all problems would be solved.
In order to achieve this all authorities would have to start inspections at the time of completion of the construction of the shell of the building.
Town Planning, Lands Registry and municipal/district authorities will have to co-operate with ETEK to discuss solutions and legislation changes to be put in place to solve the issues.
May we remind everyone that Cyprus was under fire both in the House of Lords as well as the European Parliament for the delays in issuing titles?
Ten years later we are still at the same position.
In conclusion, as the situation stands, buyers have to seek advice from professionals before making a large investment such as buying a house.
The specialists to offer advice are non- others than professional real estate agents that are licensed for the job and engineers when it comes to specific structural/technical issues. Having a professional firm to offer advice cuts the risks when no title deed exists and eliminates risks when there is a title deed.
Written by: George Mouskides
Director FOX Smart Estate Agency
Chairman Cyprus Property Owners Association (ΚΣΙΑ)
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