Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides, urged the land registry to finally provide a solution for the owner of a plot in a Nicosia village who has been waiting for 34 years for the correction of an error that makes it impossible to utilise the property.
According to a report released by Lottides’ office the owner bought a piece of land in Arediou in 1981. But when in 1984 he requested from the land registry a copy of the cadastral survey plan of his plot it emerged that it was still considered to be part of a bigger one.
This was because the cadastral map had not been updated in 1973 when the piece of land in question – numbered 144 – was carved up into two plots and despite the fact that the original owner had registered them separately. Plot 144/2 was bought by the complainant in 1981 and 144/1 by another person.
A procedure was launched in 1984 to rectify the mistake. Around a year later a land registry official visited the plot and explained to the man and the owner of the adjacent plot that the size of their plots was wrong and had to be corrected. The two owners had at the time agreed to the correction, the report said. But as the file for the initial piece of land had not been found, the official had drawn new plans and mentioned in the new file that the size of the complainant’s plot, by mistake, had been registered as that of the entire plot, before being split into two.
After the original file was located, the land registry tried again to obtain the permission of the two plot owners following on site visits in 1991, 1992 and 2016. The owner of 144/1, the report said, has been giving her permission for the change to be made, but the complainant has had a change of heart, arguing that he had paid CY£300 for the entire plot and not just for 144/2.
Following the complainant’s objection, the report said, the matter ought to have been forwarded to the director of the land registry, who has the authority to rectify the mistake. But this did not happen.
“The district land registry, up until August 2017 and while 33 years had passed after the application file had been created, has yet to hand it to the director of the land registry to decide whether he can rectify the mistake,” the report said.
It also said that even though it does not overlook the efforts undertaken by the district land registry as regards the case, as three onsite visits had taken place by mid-1992, a fourth inspection took place 24 years later, in 2016.
It appears, the report said, that the aim of the district was to achieve a consensual correction of the error but, at the same time, this cannot lead to a never-ending procedure, it concluded.
The matter could have been referred to the director of the service or encourage the complainant to take it to court, it said.
The report also justified the complainant, who reported that he been for 34 years unable to utilise his property through of no fault of his own, but that of the land registry during the issuing of relevant documents in 1973.
This delay, the report said, is also in violation of the complainant’s right to property.
“My suggestion is that the director of the department of lands and surveys is directly involved in the application … and decides, in his judgment, under the power provided by Article 61 of the Property Law, either to correct the error or to reject it requesting and encouraging interested parties to appeal to the competent court for the settlement of the dispute,” Lottides said.