There is a strong indifference exhibited by both authorities of the state and professional associations in the real estate sector. It is rare for the latter to submit a proposal to the state, unless it is critical.
There are many problems that exist in the system and lead to the malfunctioning of the construction industry.
Here are some of the biggest problems that need to be dealt with urgently:
- The law regarding common expenses is nonenforceable causing huge problems.
- This issue cannot be resolved without timely court decisions. Any measures taken will be pointless if it takes three to four years for a court decision to be made. Special courts could be formed for procedures resembling arbitration, where decisions can be taken without the presence of advocates, reducing costs and simplifying procedures.
- It needs to be clarified when a pool is considered private and when public. No title deeds are issued for private developments, making the operating costs very high, in the end resulting in abandonment of the pool. There is a clear EU directive on the subject that has not been adopted.
- There should be a safety certificate for buildings, issued by the supervising architect, which comes before the final approval certificate. In this way, the building can be inhabited regardless of whether it has the final approval certificate, until that is issued. As things stand today, it is very easy to obtain a demolition order for a building due to the lack of the final approval certificate. This creates enormous risks which affect our economy.
- The bureaucracy involved in issuing permits and title deeds is madness. The slow pace of the process is shocking. It causes huge problems and enormous damage to the economy and especially to the construction industry. The latest edition of Doing Business, while lauding Cyprus to a high degree for other sectors, puts it almost last when it comes to issuing licences, title deeds and so on.
- Urban planning policy, when there is any, is incomprehensible. Permits are issued in some areas allowing 15-35 floors and in others far less is allowed.
Unfortunately, our parliament has over time adopted a system of saying ‘no’ and taking no responsibility.
Government minorities in parliament exist everywhere, but in the end what is in the interest of the state must prevail and not the petty politics of each party and the MPs themselves.
Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Appraisers & Development Project Managers, www.aloizou.com.cy, [email protected]