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‘Owners of crumbling buildings must be held responsible’

A dangerous building in Old Nicosia

By Peter Stevenson

THE HOUSE Interior Committee on Thursday discussed possible legislation which would see property owners liable for any repairs their dilapidated buildings might require.

The bill was submitted on behalf of AKEL by MP, Christos Mesis. The aim is to stop owners or management committees from failing or refusing to make the necessary repairs or maintenance.

Municipalities are responsible for the upkeep of any buildings under current legislation but due to the huge weight of procedure and cost, they are unable to meet requirements.

DISY MP Andreas Kyrpianou said that it was only by luck that no injuries had been reported from crumbling buildings. He made particular reference to Limassol where in the old town there are often cafés operating beneath balconies that are in danger of collapsing.

“The state is responsible for protecting its citizens and must take action to make sufficient repairs to any buildings that are unsafe,” he said. He added that a solution needed to be found for circumstances when owners refuse to make the required repairs. “That can be solved with state or municipal intervention that will be able to take the owner to court to demand money for repairs,” he added.

Mesis said he hoped the bill would clarify that property owners and management committees were responsible for repairs and maintenance to their own buildings. He suggested that local authorities would have the responsibility to monitor the procedure and would then be able to take up legal proceedings against anyone who fails or refuses to adhere to the law.

“In technical terms this is a complex issue and the debate will continue,” he concluded. A member of the Kanika Complex management committee in the Enaerios area of Limassol who was also at the meeting, presented photographs to the House Interior Committee, indicating the lack of maintenance on an 11-floor building in the area. “We are lucky there have not been any victims,” he said.

 

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