A large number of Turkish Cypriot properties on the island are currently mismanaged, the audit service said in a special report on Wednesday.

The report, available on the audit service’s website, said several Turkish Cypriot commercial properties have not handled been efficiently and effectively, and are not even used by refugees.

The report highlighted, among other issues, that only 65 per cent of the commercial premises (5,746 out of 8,880) are leased to refugees islandwide.

In the Paphos district, according to the findings, the figure is even lower, with only 45 per cent of properties leased to refugees, while the remainder are used by non-refugees or local authorities.

Specifically, out of the 2,255 Turkish Cypriot properties, only 1,013 are leased to refugees.

The report also said that, according to data submitted to the audit service on November 16, 2022 by the property management service, the total number of Turkish Cypriot properties amounts to 120,243 plots of land.

Out of this total, 8,880 were deemed professional premises and open spaces as of December 31, 2021, of which 5,746 were leased to refugees (65 per cent), 536 to non-refugees (6 per cent), 77 to displaced local authorities (1 per cent), and 2,521 to non-displaced local authorities (28 per cent).

The report also highlighted that the available premises are not always publicly advertised, and that the information system of the property management service has serious flaws and is considered inadequate for supporting the management of Turkish Cypriot properties, as well as providing comprehensive information for auditing purposes.

Moreover, according to the report, Turkish Cypriot properties are leased at a significantly lower rent than market rates, based on unrevised and undocumented estimates.

There are cases in which rents have not been revised for over 25 years.

The report mentioned a specific case in the Larnaca district where the monthly rent of a property amounts to €8.54, a rate unchanged since 1985.

Another 3,152 square metre Turkish Cypriot property in the Nicosia district was listed as costing €417 per month worth of rent, an evaluation unchanged since 1976. The specific property is estimated to have a value of €1.4 million.

Finally, the report highlighted the lack of action for the timely collection of rents, which resulted in a delayed income amounting to over €8 million.