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    Cyprus: buying property

    Info on laws and taxes for British nationals who wish to buy property in Cyprus.

    Introduction

    Acquiring property in Cyprus has a variety of possible pitfalls. The British High Commission recommends prospective purchasers to work out severe caution when buying a property if the title deeds are not easily offered, as it means your property could be at risk.

    Home mortgage liability

    It prevails practice for designers to get home mortgages on land or property. If you sign a contract with a designer and there is already a home mortgage, loan or claim on the property, then you are most likely to become liable for that mortgage must the builder, designer or landowner declare bankruptcy.

    You need to ask your legal representative to check for home loans placed on the land through a Land Search Certificate which is gotten from the Land Computer system registry. It must be noted that in order to get a Land Browse Certificate one needs an appropriate authorisation from the Property’s owner. If you are made aware of a home loan before signing a contract it is not likely that you will get the deeds in your name up until the home loan is paid off.

    Lawyers are not needed to check for mortgages immediately, although excellent attorneys should do this as a matter of course. In 2011 the Republic of Cyprus Government presented a Specific Efficiency Law to offer a contract of sale precedence over any pre-existing home loan nevertheless we still highly suggest that you inspect no home loans have been placed on the land prior to purchase to ensure you do not face possible troubles at a later date.

    See Property For Sale in Cyprus Now

    Other problems most regularly raised by British nationals consist of:

    • lawyers acting for both suppliers or home builders therefore not independent
    • building works happening without the correct preparation permission or building license (eg electrical power or water).
    • changes in currency and interest rates affecting mortgages.
    • payment plans or fees not being consisted of in the initial contract.
    • problem in getting certificates of final completion (deeds can not be released without this).
    • difficulty in acquiring title deeds.
    • trouble in getting redress after issues are identified.
      With all property purchases, we highly recommend that you seek your own independent legal guidance.

    You ought to seek qualified independent legal advice on your rights and approaches of redress if you have bought a property or land and are encountering difficulties.

    The Foreign, Commonwealth & Advancement Office (FCDO) and the British High Commission are unable to provide legal recommendations or become involved with conflicts in between personal parties. We direct British nationals to organisations who may be able to help and we can raise systemic issues, issues which affect a number of customers, with regional authorities.

    You can check on the Association of International Property Professionals website to see if a company or legal consultant are members.

    Buying property in the north of Cyprus.

    The ownership of numerous homes is disputed in the north of Cyprus, with thousands of claims to ownership from people displaced in 1974. Purchase of these residential or commercial properties might have major monetary and legal ramifications. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in a variety of cases that owners of property in northern Cyprus prior to 1974 continue to be considered the legal owners of that property.

    Buyers might deal with legal proceedings in the courts of the Republic of Cyprus, in addition to attempts to enforce judgments from these courts in other places in the EU, including the UK. There has been at least one effective case to impose judgments in the UK, endangering property owned in the UK.

    The leaders of both communities are currently in settlements to attempt to fix the Cyprus problem. One essential issue is property and the handling of pre-1974 Greek Cypriot title-owned property. Homeowner and potential purchasers should also consider that a future settlement of the Cyprus concern could have major effects for property they purchase, consisting of the possible restitution of the property to its initial owner, in addition to settlement payments. In particular, potential purchasers ought to think about the ramifications of any future settlement on land/property:.

    • in the north of Cyprus that was owned by a Greek Cypriot national prior to 1974 * ^ that was subsequently categorized as exchange or ‘gift’ land/property by the Turkish Cypriot “authorities”.

    Purchasers need to guarantee they are completely familiar with the rules in the north of Cyprus in regard of immigrants acquiring property, consisting of the requirement to get consent to the transfer of property. Even when acquiring pre-1974 Turkish title land, you may still be refused consent to acquire the land/property and no factor for the refusal may be offered.

    On 20 October 2006, a change to the Republic of Cyprus criminal code connecting to property came into effect. Under the modification, buying, selling, leasing, mortgaging a property or promoting without the authorization of the owner (the individual whose ownership is signed up with the Republic of Cyprus Land Computer system registry, consisting of Greek Cypriots displaced from northern Cyprus in 1974) is a criminal offence. The optimum jail sentence is 7 years.

    The change to the law also mentions that any effort to carry out such a transaction is a criminal offence and might result in a jail sentence of approximately 5 years. This law is not retrospective, so will not criminalise transactions that took place before 20 October 2006.

    Documents relating to the purchase of property in the north of Cyprus will be presumed by the Cypriot authorities to relate to the prohibited transfer of Greek Cypriot property and might be subject to confiscation when crossing the Green Line. Anybody found in possession of these files might be asked to make a statement to the Cypriot authorities and could face criminal proceedings under the 20 October amendment.

    Any enquiries concerning the scope of this law should be made to the Republic of Cyprus High Commission in London or to the Ministry of Foreign affairs for the Republic of Cyprus:.

    RoC High Commission London.
    13, St James’s Square.
    London SW1Y 4LB.

    Telephone: +44 (0) 207 3214 100.

    Email: cyprusinuk@mfa.gov.uk.

    RoC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    Presidential Palace Avenue.
    1447 Nicosia.

    Telephone: +357 22651000.

    Fax: +357 22661881.

    Responsibility Officer: +357 99 660129 (for emergency assistance and strictly after workplace hours: 07:30– 16:00 (Monday – Friday).

    Email: info@mfa.gov.cy.

    Property owned prior to 1974.

    If you are a British nationwide and owned a property in the north of Cyprus before 1974 (or the beneficiary of someone conference those criteria), please contact the British High Commission by e-mail, marking your message to the attention of the Property Officer. If you wish to try to reclaim your property, they will be able to examine your file and advise on what actions to take.

    The British High Commission is unable to help dual nationals in the country of their other citizenship. If you are a dual British/Cypriot nationwide you ought to approach your regional authorities in regard of claims for pre-1974 title deeds.

    Buying property or land in the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs).

    Individuals thinking about the purchase of immovable property (such as land) in the SBAs require to be aware that the consent of the Administrator of the Sovereign Base Locations is needed under area 3 of the Immovable Property Acquisition (Control) Regulation 1972 for a non-Cypriot or for a non-Cypriot corporation to purchase stationary property in the SBAs.

    The requirement for permission exists whether property is currently owned by a Cypriot or a Cypriot corporation or by a non-Cypriot who has previously gotten approval. Failure to acquire the consent of the Administrator suggests that the acquisition and registration of the immovable property in question is null and void. The Administrator will provide approval just in the most exceptional scenarios.

    You should also be aware that it is an offence for persons aside from “identified citizens” to reside in the SBAs for more than 28 days in any duration of 12 months, other than in accordance with a license issued under that Regulation. Once again, you may obtain a certificate of acknowledged house or an authorization, however the Administration only rarely grant granting these.

    Further info.

    Some of the problems that property buyers experience are extremely comparable throughout Cyprus. The British High Commission is not able to get associated with specific property issues or legal disputes, but supports community associations that are dedicated to resolving the problems of property buyers.

    Associations.

    If the company, or legal consultant, you have dealt with is a member of AIPP and you are dissatisfied with the services provided, you can write to the AIPP who have a disciplinary treatment.

    Legal guidance.

    British people impacted by property problems should take independent legal recommendations from regional attorneys.

    Local cops.

    You ought to make a declaration to the regional authorities if you believe that you have actually been subject to a property crime. Remember to obtain a copy of the declaration and request the event number. Please note, there might be a time constraint between the time of the alleged crime and the time within which you make your complaint.

    Cyprus Ombudsman (likewise known as Commissioner of Administration and Defense of Human Rights).

    The Cyprus Ombudsman acts in the service of people, consisting of foreign nationals, in order to protect their rights and flexibility versus actions from any Cypriot administration. The Ombudsman has the power to challenge all bodies (subject to some limitations) and authorities of the main government and regional administrations in addition to anyone serving as representatives or partners of any of these administrations in the fulfilment or execution of public objectives or services. Contact details are on their site.

    It is important to keep in mind that the Ombudsman might not step in under the following circumstances:.

    • whenever the general public administration has not been included.
    • in case of disputes or disagreements in between people.
    • When the resident had knowledge of the events of his grievance, after one year from the moment.
    • in the event of confidential grievances, without specific claims providing bad faith or any claims that might harm legitimate rights of third parties.
    • in the event of non-conformity with the contents of the judicial ruling.
    • grievances versus lawyers.

    Grievances against lawyers practicing in the Republic of Cyprus should be dealt with to:.

    The Cyprus Bar Association.
    Florinis 11, off.101, 1st Floor,.
    1065, Nicosia P.O.Box. 21446,.
    1508, Nicosia– Cyprus.

    Telephone: +357 22873300 Fax: +35722873013.

    Email: cybar3@cytanet.com.cy.

    Site: www.cyprusbarassociation.org.

    Complaints against lawyers practicing in the north of Cyprus may be made in writing to the relevant local ‘Bar Association’. There is a separate ‘Bar Association’ for each district.

    Initial investigations into problems take place within the pertinent district but they are then passed onto the overall organisation, the ‘Cyprus Turkish Bar Association’.

    Contact details of local ‘bar associations’:.

    • Nicosia: contact person: Arzu İzveren, email: barolarbirligi@hotmail.com phone: 0090392227 73 39.
    • Kyrenia: contact individual: Gürcan Bayramoğlu, email: gurcanbayramoglu@hotmail.com phone: 0090392816 06 22.
    • Famagusta: contact person: Mine Vehit, email: mine-vehit@hotmail.com phone: 0090392366 16 88.
    • Morphou: contact individual: Mehtun Muslu, e-mail: mmehtun@yahoo.com phone: 0090392714 69 93.

    Complaints versus the legal system in the Republic of Cyprus

    Grievances versus the legal system should be made to the Attorney General’s Office:.

    Mr George L. Savvides.
    Attorney General.
    Law Office of the Republic of Cyprus.
    1403 Nicosia.
    Cyprus

    European Commissioner.

    There is a European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. Their address is:.

    Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers.
    European Commission.
    1049 Brussels.
    Belgium.

    You can discover more about EU consumer rights on their website.

    Assist in the UK.

    If you think you have actually been a victim of property scams, we have actually published suggestions on which UK authorities to get in touch with.

    If you were living in the UK when you made your purchase you might want to call the UK European Consumer Centre. This belongs to the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) that has been set up by the European Commission in co-operation with member states to help customers with cross-border disagreements. The UK European Consumer Centre gives info and guidance on issues with buying across borders and can arbitrate when problems arise if they believe it may assist.

    Address:.

    UK European Consumer Centre.
    Chartered Trading Standards Institute.
    1 Sylvan Court.
    Sylvan Way.
    Southfields Business Park.
    Basildon.
    Essex SS15 6TH.

    Telephone: +44 (0) 1268 886 690.

    Fax: +44( 0 )1268 582 225.

    Email address: eccnet-uk@ec.europa.eu.

    Disclaimer.

    While we hope that this details works, please know that it is not intended to be the only assistance for potential purchasers to follow when considering buying. In addition, we make no representation as to the quality or precision of the info which is offered at the web addresses noted in this guide, nor can we accept any duty for the content that is hosted on them. We strongly recommend that potential purchasers of property in Cyprus seek independent legal and monetary guidance at all stages of their purchase.

    The European Court of Person Rights has ruled in a number of cases that owners of property in northern Cyprus before 1974 continue to be related to as the legal owners of that property.

    One essential concern is property and the handling of pre-1974 Greek Cypriot title-owned property. Property owners and prospective buyers should also consider that a future settlement of the Cyprus issue could have major repercussions for property they acquire, consisting of the possible restitution of the property to its original owner, in addition to settlement payments. Under the change, buying, selling, renting, mortgaging a property or promoting without the permission of the owner (the individual whose ownership is registered with the Republic of Cyprus Land Pc registry, consisting of Greek Cypriots displaced from northern Cyprus in 1974) is a criminal offense. We highly advise that prospective buyers of property in Cyprus look for independent legal and monetary recommendations at all phases of their purchase.

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