07 February 2012

The town planning “amnesty” or “regulation”, arises from the proposed amendments of 2009 to the current Cyprus legislation concerning the Town and Country Planning Law, the Immovable Property Law, the Sale of Land (Special Execution) Law and the Regulation of Streets and Buildings Law.

The aspiration of the abovementioned amendments,  which have been proposed on the basis of five draft bills, is the modernization of the legal framework which regulates the issue of licenses for non-permitted expansions / amendments in existing developments, the issue of building permission certificates and, but not limited to, the issue of modernized title deeds.

 Under the umbrella of this motive, the town planning amnesty has been proposed in order to provide relief to the buyers from bearing the risk of not been given a Completion Certificate and Title Deed, due to some minor irregularities which are usually found in a large percentage in already constructed buildings. Minor irregularities might for example be parking spaces that not having been designated.

Accordingly, and by virtue of the new legislation, the Title Deeds can be differentiated and modernized in particular cases, in the sense that, any minor irregularities will be attached as an appendix to the Title Deed, allowing in this way the relevant local authority to proceed and issue the Completion Certificate. Thus, the buyer being a local person or foreigner will be discharged from long-term procedures and complications while through the disclosure of the particular irregularities on the Title Deed the buyers will actually observe what they are acquiring.

In light of the above, the process of application per se for the issue of Title Deeds may constitute one of the greatest amendments to the current legislation since this has been promoted in order to fulfill and protect the standards and necessities of the buyer. Namely, the buyer, being a local or foreign person, will have the opportunity to apply directly to the Director of the Land Registry office who will be entitled to examine the application and discretionary give his approval to the application. The developer will then be obliged to apply for a Completion Certificate and as soon as this is issued will also be obliged to apply for the Title Deeds to be issued by virtue of the town planning amnesty.  

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By virtue of this proposed procedure, the buyer will no longer be depended on the developer while the buyer will be placed in the focal point with any risks and responsibilities to be shifted on the developer.

Accordingly, through the simplification of the procedures for issuing Title Deeds, independently from any minor irregularities found in the construction of a building, Cypriot buyers, Russians and other foreigners, will have the opportunity to buy immovable property in Cyprus through a safe way without bearing the risk of unnecessary delays. This process will primarily benefit foreigners who invest in immovable property in Cyprus with the purpose to use the same in further transactions, through exploitation, investment and sale of Title.    

The town planning amnesty, among all other measures which have been taken in this field, will undoubtedly empower the real estate sector being the backbone of the Cyprus economy by keeping the reliability to this landmark sector alive.

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