ANGRY demonstrators converged on the offices of Pittadjis Law Firm in Paphos yesterday, protesting the lack of proper legislation concerning developers and title deeds.
Denis O’Hare of the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) told the Cyprus Mail, “We’re here because we were asked by the victims of this lawyer – it’s not organised by us. We would usually contact the press in the UK, and give a month’s notice. But we’re here today to lend our support.”
“This law firm has given out bad information in many property purchase cases, and these people here today are just the tip of the iceberg. The system here is wrong,” he added.
“There are thousands of people without title deeds to their properties, and lawyers fail to inform purchasers’ about the situation in Cyprus. Many wouldn’t have brought here if they’d known,” he said.
“You would have to be slightly crazy to buy from a developer now. Cyprus is still a wonderful country, with a great climate and people, but unfortunately, developers and the legal fraternity have ruined it for everyone.”
O’Hare stressed, “It isn’t just expats and foreigners being affected with the property situation, in fact, most of the people suffering are the Cypriots. These people are working two or three jobs just to make ends meet. We have to all work together to try and fix this.”
CPAG say the Pittadjis law firm was involved in the re-selling of Conor O’Dwyer’s property to a second buyer after his sales contract had been lodged with the Land Registry.
Conor O’Dwyer, is currently engaged in a high-profile dispute with the developers of a house in Frenaros. He has been ordered by the judge hearing his case not to take part in any demonstrations and was not in Paphos.
Many other protesters, unhappy with practices of the law firm and developers in Cyprus, took part.
Janice Crossley was at the demonstration.
“This law firm withdrew my contract of sale for a property in Ayia Thekla from the land registry,” she said.
“[The act was] contrary to my instruction and they abused their power of attorney. The property has now been re- sold and I’m €188,000 down. I’ve now revoked my power of attorney and will be taking the matter further. At present I’m living in England.’
Chris Wood is 38 and lives in Liverpool. He said, “These guys were supposed to be my lawyers. I was buying a property on a large development, and they exposed me to my developer’s debt.”
“They didn’t carry out searches to see if there were any charges on the land. My developer tried to silence me by getting me to sign a confidentiality agreement.
“It goes so much deeper than this. What about the people who actually sign these [contracts]? You never hear about them, apparently it’s quite common. I didn’t sign.”
He added, “The developers got my money and I want it back. The projects are big, so he must have taken money off a lot of people.
“Even if the property was delivered on time, I still wouldn’t have been happy. Basically, I would like justice, and for him to return my money in full.”
“It’s too late for me, but I would like to raise awareness for others. This law firm, I believe, is representing around eighty per cent of the development. I think they were recommended.”
Wood attended a property roadshow in Liverpool and said a lawyer from Pittadjis was flown over, along with representatives from Alpha bank. Sales contracts were drawn up, ready to sign.
“They’re inducing people to sign and [do] not offering any protection,” Wood charged. “The property was supposed to be a home for my family, but now it’s turned into a nightmare.
“There are people I know who have said they won’t set foot in Cyprus again, the level of corruption is just too high.”
Wood says Fotos Pittadjis assured him in June 2007, that his money would be returned. He says the developer has been making empty promises since then.
“I’m owed CY£35,000,” he said “This man is a British developer, and is abusing the system here.”
Bejay Browne – January 27, 2009