Property groups team up to battle for buyers’ rights

Cyprus Mail

THE CYPRUS Land and Property Owners’ Association (KSIA) and the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) have teamed up to explore ways of fighitng for the rights of property buyers in Cyprus.

KSIA is affiliated to the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) and is a long-standing member of the International Union of Property Owners.

CPAG was only established in May last year, but has already attracted thousands of dissatisfied foreign buyers.

Teaming up with KSIA, which has strong contacts with the government, parliament, local authorities and various other bodies in the property field, will help foreign buyers better push for their rights, CPAG said in a statement yesterday.

The two groups said they plan to make 2008 “a year of intense lobbying” on property issues.

The statement said the two groups met in Peyia recently and toured the area “to view the shocking illegal and other unsuitable developments taking place in the area, even in places like ravines and drainage courses”, CPAG said.

George Strovolides, President of KSIA, said that the two groups had an interest in resolving the common problems faced by their members.

He said one of the biggest problems faced by property buyers of all nationalities in Cyprus was the isuse of title deeds.

Foreign buyers can wait years or even in cases decades to receive their title deeds from peopery developers.

“In Cyprus, buyers can pay in full and then not own their homes, sometimes for many years, as developers raise mortgages using land on which these very homes stand,” said Strovolides.

“Given the risk in this situation, especially in the current economic climate, something needs to be done to turn this current situation around.”
Denis O’Hare of CPAG added: “We don’t mind developers taking their own business risks, this is how the world works. However, we do strongly object when they are taking risks with our homes, especially as we have already paid for them in full. We think this situation is scandalous and needs addressing by the government right now.”

Meanwhile, in the UK, British property buyer Conor O’Dwyer, whose developers were arrested and charged with allegedly beating him up in January this year, will this weekend continue his picketing of UK property trade fairs to highlight his case and those of other Britons facing problems in Cyprus. O’Dwyer spent a week in Larnaca hospital.

This weekend, he and his wide will publicise their situation by handing out leaflets outside the property show “A Place in the Sun Live” at the ExCel centre in London’s Docklands. It is the second time the couple has picketed a property fair in the UK in as many months.

O’Dwyer, whose case is fully detailed on the website, is also planning a demonstration outside the Cyprus High Commission in London in June.

“Problems suffered by victims range from the non issuing of title deeds, structural faults, illegal building and developers extorting immovable property tax and transfer fees.  Many victims are resident in Cyprus but will be represented by their offspring who may inherit the problems drawn up by unscrupulous lawyers,” said O’ Dwyer.
“In my particular horror, the Minister of Interior told the media ‘an Investigating Officer has already been appointed’. That was in August 2007!  Since then I’ve been brutally beaten for just looking at my house from the roadside in Frenaros.  Every month, my lawyer Yiannos Georgiades chases the authorities for a criminal investigation into the reselling of my house and every month it’s the same.  It’s stuck at the local level.”

By Jean Christou Published on April 26, 2008