Cyprus Mail

Buying is easy, selling is difficult

Many years ago, I wrote a letter to the Cyprus Sunday Mail congratulating them on their content also thanking them for the prompt response for sending me the paper prior to my move to Cyprus, surprising the letter was published. Now sadly after sixteen wonderful years in Cyprus I am writing having returned to UK.
The Mail has always been a vital source of information which all expats are grateful for.
We settled in the beautiful village of Lefkara purchasing a new build house, very simple process, the developer paid our original electricity, water, municipal rates, even filled our heating tank, everything was ideal, lovely neighbours, Cypriot and British it was “living the Dream” and so it continued for fourteen years then as were advancing in age we decided to sell, with the intent to remain in Cyprus and rent, that’s when things became complicated.
Despite having a buyer, a lovely young couple from the village, with assets, it took us two years to sell the property .
An abridged version of the hold up:  We purchased the house via a solicitor, and registered with the land registry, owed no monies or taxes. The final building permit had been issued, yet regardless of visits and phone calls, letters to the land registry, ombudsman, the British High Commission, Lefkara municipality, town planning, we could not unlock the release of our deeds. We were supported in our quest by our solicitor the developer, the mayor, and other individuals from various departments, yet failed with all this support. The the irony is nothing will ever change on this complex… the house and boundaries will remain exactly the same as they have for twenty years.
On this small complex, two expats did sell without deeds prior to the Cyprus financial crisis. Sadly, they have since died. Two other expats and one Cypriot has since passed away. We bought after early retirement around our mid-fifties but very soon you are in your late sixties early seventies and need to put your affairs in order. Not having the deeds makes for an extremely stressful situation which would be even worse for the widows.
The Cypriot people are wonderful lovely neighbours, good Samaritans in all sorts of ways. The government departments deal with us expats in our language and are extremely patient and helpful even with their full workload.
The Mail, has published many articles regarding deeds, amnesty, trapped buyers etc. The interior ministry has promised to clear the backlog but clearly this is not the case.
On this small complex of fourteen dwellings are without their deeds, some really advancing in years with ill health.
The point of the letter is to say without question Cyprus is a fantastic place to live, the people are the salt of the earth. However the stress and pain the deeds saga inflicts cannot be underestimated. Buying is easy. Selling is difficult.

Richard Chapman, Lefkara