An MP has alleged that thousands of pieces of real estate are being sold for millions of euros but are recorded as having zero value according to the Department of Lands and Surveys (DLS).
Akel MP Andreas Pasiourtides made the allegations at the House interior committee, in which he cited a 400-page document which lists hundreds of properties for which the total value amounted to just €22,000.
He claimed that the list includes hotels, shops, apartment buildings and others which are presented in the general evaluation of the DLS as having zero value.
Pasiourtides referred to a Larnaca hotel which sold for €8.5 million but that, according to the DLS, it had zero value. He emphasised, however, that there are similar examples across all districts.
Responding to the claims, DLS official Varnavas Pasioulis told MPs that while there may be isolated cases of real estate being valued at zero these are few in number and certainly not in the thousands.
He explained how the legislation stipulates that the process of estimating properties is carried out every three years so that there is equality amongst the public regarding new developments.
Pasioulis sought to clarify the phenomenon of properties being valued at zero by explaining that some plots may have had no activity since 1980 – meaning no transfer, sale or other such procedures. That means, he said, their value is not updated.
He stressed that the process is completely transparent and the value of properties are available to the public online.
For his part, committee head Aristos Damianou asked for the specific “zero-value” cases to be submitted to parliament for review.
Pasiourtides, according to Stockwatch, concluded by claiming that the sale of such cases – which are officially listed as “zero-value” – may lead to a significant loss of state revenue through missed taxes.
But the valuation of properties by the DLS has stirred controversy in other sectors, too.
Late last year, the council for registration of real estate agents argued that the DLS valuations are only useful for tax purposes and do not represent the market value of the property.