Lawmakers on Tuesday called for restitution to a number of Greek Cypriot refugees denied a title deed on their home because their property lies on state-owned land.
The law prohibits the granting of title deed to properties built on state land. However, it emerged that in some instances refugees of the 1974 conflict built their homes on such land, and now the land registry refuses to grant them a title deed.
Without a title deed, they cannot transfer or sell the property.
Lawmakers said that although building a private residence on state land is and was prohibited, somehow during the 1980s a number of people did precisely that, allegedly encouraged and okayed by government departments.
Chair of the House refugees committee Nicos Kettiros said he received a letter from one refugee who built his house on state land in Strovolos, Nicosia in 1978 – apparently with the blessing of the district land registry office.
Now authorities are refusing to issue him a title deed.
Legislators cited anecdotal evidence of 40 such cases in Nicosia, one in Larnaca, and two in Paphos.
But an interior ministry official said they can find no paper trail of authorities ever having given the green light for such actions. According to the same official, in some instances a lifetime property use permit was granted to refugees, but no title deed.
Kettiros conceded that whereas these properties were built irregularly, special consideration should be given as they concern people who wanted a proper roof over the head after living in tents for a number of years after 1974.
He said the committee will start drafting a legislative proposal to address the matter so as not to leave these refugees in limbo.