Planning Approval

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TimW
Posts: 5
Joined: 08 Dec 2007 19:23

Planning Approval

Post by TimW » 11 Feb 2008 10:45

Hello Nigel,

Thanks for your advice earlier about mortgages. We are now looking at re-sale houses and we have found the one that we want. It is in a newish development of 12 houses near Souni village. My wife has fallen in love with the house and the owners have reduced the price because they need to sell it quickly.

My lawyer has been checking things out and everything seems OK. There is no mortgage all the permits are fine but there is'nt a title deed for the house. Our lawyer says that the developer is waiting for town planning approval permit and once that's done he will divide the land for the title deeds.

Does this sound OK to you ?

Thanks


Tim

Nigel Howarth
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Re: Planning Approval

Post by Nigel Howarth » 11 Feb 2008 16:42

Hi Tim,

There are a lot of resales around at the moment. I've seen one company claiming that it has 20,000 on its books - that's about the number that gets built here in a year!

It is a long, drawn out process to get the Title Deeds - I won't bore you with the details. From what you say, I believe that all the construction work on the development has been completed and that the developer is waiting for the 'Certificate of Final Completion' (what your lawyer has called the "town planning approval permit").

This Certificate is important for a number of reasons:
  • Firstly, until it is issued, the developer cannot apply for a 'division permit'. The 'division permit' enables the land on which your house and the other houses have been built to be split, so that a Title Deed can be issued for each of them.

    Secondly, the way things are done in Cyprus is quite different to the UK (contrary to what people will tell you). When you build or extend a house in the UK, the local Planning Department inspects each stage of construction to ensure it complies with the building regulations. If there's anything wrong, the building inspector will instruct the builder to correct it - and will make another visit to check that his instructions have been carried out.

    There isn't an equivalent independent 'quality control' system in Cyprus (unless you employ a construction engineer yourself). Developers have their own construction engineers who carry out the required inspections and sign-off the approvals. As you might appreciate by the way things work here, this is not satisfactory - 'he who pays the piper calls the tune' and all that.

    The only independent inspection of a property here happens when it's inspected for its 'Certificate of Final Completion', which is of vital iportance to a buyers perspective. It confirms that what you are getting is what you have paid for - the room sizes and dimensions are as shown on the approved plans, the property has been located on the ground & built correctly (obviously they can't check everything because a lot of it's buried in concrete) and things such as balcony safety railings, wall heights, swimming pools, have been constructed in accordance with building regulations. The health & safety issues are obvious - if the balcony railings are too low, etc, etc.

    If a building doesn't pass inspection, the authorities can place a Demolition Order on it (This has happened in Larnaca - although the houses in question haven't been demolished yet).

    Finally, it's actually illegal to occupy a building for which no 'Certificate of Final Completion' has been issued. When you consider the health & safety issues - and having personally seen a number of brand new poorly built properties in a state of collapse, it should stop the rogues getting away with it.

    A number of of people living on a development in Paphos were taken to court by the Interior Ministry last year for “illegally living in their houses”. (This is an exceptional case, I've not heard of anyone being taken to court about this before. But the risk is always there if the authorities decided to make an example of someone).

    And there's another case I heard of where a couple bought a resale property from a registered estate agent in Paphos. The agent assured them that it had "full title deeds" - but it turned out he'd lied to them. The property didn't have full title deeds - it didn't even have a 'Certificate of Final Completion'. When the couple applied for one it was refused because the house had been built too big for the plot of land on which it had been built. The couple in it have now applied for a relaxation of the original building permit and are awaiting a decision.
I'm sorry, I've been rambling on a bit. But I think you need to appreciate what the risks and potential consequences are before proceeding with the purchase.

If you do decide to go ahead, get your lawyer to have a word with the Town Planning people to see how long the inspection is likely to take - you never know, they may have already done it and are just waiting for the paperwork. But if it hasn't been inspected, get hold of a copy of the approved plans (the developer should have these) and check as far as you can that what's been built conforms to the plans.

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
Independent information & advice for Cyprus property buyers
Contact Nigel Howarth
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TimW
Posts: 5
Joined: 08 Dec 2007 19:23

Re: Planning Approval

Post by TimW » 14 Feb 2008 11:01

Thank you for explaining that.

Do you think we should go ahead and buy?

Thanks,


Tim

Nigel Howarth
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Posts: 2323
Joined: 24 Oct 2007 14:38
Location: Erimi, Limassol, Cyprus
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Re: Planning Approval

Post by Nigel Howarth » 14 Feb 2008 14:16

TimW wrote:Do you think we should go ahead and buy?
That's a decision only you can make - you have to weigh up the pros and cons and decide whether they are acceptable to you.

From what you say, your developer seems to have gone about things properly. If you'd like to send me a PM with his name, I'll let you know if I've heard any bad reports.

(Please don't mention the developer's name on the forum, I'm sure a few of them are looking in).

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
Independent information & advice for Cyprus property buyers
Contact Nigel Howarth
Read the latest Cyprus property news

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