By Maria Gregoriou
PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades has asked the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber (ETEK) for its help in solving the title deeds issue by suggesting that architects or developers could give final approval for work completion, rather than having to wait for local authorities.
During a meeting at the presidential palace with ETEK president, Stelios Achniotis, Anastasiades raised the issue of drawn-out procedures relating to title deeds. There is a current backlog of 100,000 unissued, some of which go back two decades.
The issue was discussed in the context of attracting investment and curbing unemployment, Anastasiades asked for suggestions from the chamber on how the private sector could be utilised in helping to speed up procedures.
“The president said that because there are delays in getting title deeds, he wants the architect or the developer of the project to give final approval,” ETEK’s deputy chairman, Constantinos Constanti said.
When a house or flat or another building has been completed, the current procedure is that the owner take the application for a certificate of final approval to the municipality in which the property is located.
The municipality then goes to the property and compares the finished building with the architectural designs. If, after checking, everything is how it should be, then the certificate is issued and taken to the department of lands and surveys for the title deeds to be issued. This procedure takes about three months if the building meets the criteria of the design.
“The delays are caused by the municipalities who pay attention to all details. So if the design shows that something on the original design is not there, or a sliding door was put where there should have been a normal door for example, then the application is denied,” Constanti said.
In this circumstance, a new design showing the actual architectural dimensions of the building must be completed and the new design given to the municipality who then provides the developer with a new building permit.
Anastasiades also focused on aiding unemployed engineers. He gave instructions to the labour ministry to include terms that meet the requirements of engineer graduates in the scheme set-up by the government to find work for them
Achniotis said the chamber submitted a series of suggestions to the president concerning the measures announced by the government to restart the economy.
Achniotis said the handing of applications for a certificate of final approval should not be done at the expense of the environment and local communities.