Title deeds for house separation

Do you have a problem getting your Title Deeds?
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propex
Posts: 6
Joined: 18 Dec 2018 15:06

Title deeds for house separation

Post by propex »

Hello everyone! We have encountered an extremely strange problem and I hope someone in there is able to help us/confirm or deny something which we fail to understand so far. In 2018 we (a family couple of non-eu citizens but residents of Cyprus for 7+ years) tried to buy a certain property with mortgage. The property we wanted to buy had some title deed issues though: this is a plot with a 2-families house build on it. I will post a plan here: https://i.imgur.com/X7kdEZ7.png As you can see, it's extremely typical plan for Cyprus, you can see these houses here and there, at least in Limassol.

There were title deeds issued for the land, 1/2 share for one family, 1/2 share for another family. They have applied to get title deeds for the house AND to separate a land and the house to two separate plots/titles, left side and right side. They have got their final approval for the house so everything seemed to be okay. We have rented the property and decided to wait until the proper title is issued before we buy it.
However, the architect responsible for the plans has reported the issue I need some help with: apparently land registry has refused to separate the title for the houses! As you can see on the plan above, two houses share a common wall in the middle which, according to the land registry and the architect makes the title separation (and the issuing of one title for the left part and one title for the right part) not possible, with awkward logic like "what if one title owner decides to demolish this wall leaving another house without it". To me, the common wall between two properties should never be a reason to avoid separate title issuance, there are a ton of houses like this in Cyprus and despite being told all of them are shared title, I find it hard to believe. Especially since I am sure every apartment building has flats with shared walls as well of course. The architect fails to explain the issue in more details, plans a visit to a municipality to get clearer picture (and is unable to do so because they cannot make an appointment thanks to the pandemic), say if they still refuse to separate the title they will bring a case to the court (which is essentially a dead end to us given how long does it take).
The architect also refers this kind of separation refused by land registry as "vertical" but cannot explain properly what does it mean, they also say land registry can do a "horizontal" separation which again is something I don't get haha. We communicate via phone and it's quite hard given some their side issues.

Could someone please tell me if the issue described is really common in Cyprus? What's the vertical and horizontal separation they mention? At this point after patiently paying our rent for an unfurnished apartment for 2 years I think we are being basically dropped to a carrot and stick scenario so they can keep us renting as much as they could before they look for someone else like us. We have looked for legal advice before we learned about this "common wall" separation issue but the only thing we've been told was "I advise you to look for another property" without any additional reasoning. I really hope it's possible for us to get the clearer picture here before we are forced to go to the lawyer again. Thank you very much in advance!
Nigel Howarth
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Re: Title deeds for house separation

Post by Nigel Howarth »

Hi Propex

I don't know what the issue might be, but it seems there's something preventing the authorities from dividing the house.

Horizontal partition is mainly used used to separate blocks of apartments into individual units. Vertical partition is used to separate land and semi-detached houses.

I see from the plans that there appears to be a shared entrance at the front of the property and what seems to be a light well in the middle of the property? Does the property have 2 floors? (If it has 2 floors, maybe that's causing the issue.)

I see you sent me the deeds a couple of years ago - unfortunately I no longer have them.

Regards,
Nigel Howarth
Independent information & advice for Cyprus property buyers
Contact Nigel Howarth
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propex
Posts: 6
Joined: 18 Dec 2018 15:06

Re: Title deeds for house separation

Post by propex »

Hi Nigel, thank you for your kind reply :)

Yes, the title deed they have is for the land and is shared (1/2 one family 1/2 another family). I can send it to you again with more detailed plan of the property if you don't mind it of course :)

The house has just ground floor. The common entrance in the middle is a staircase leading to the roof. Since the property has a permission to have 3 floors eventually, this staircase will serve as an entrance to possible apartments built on 1st and 2nd floor, but now it just goes to the roof (and is the only access to the roof so far). The lightwell in the middle is a storage/technical room separated by thin wall with 2 entrances from left and right side respectively, there are bathrooms/WC windows going in there and some pipes to the bathroom/wc as well.
it seems there's something preventing the authorities from dividing the house
Yes, but they specify the wall between two houses in the middle as the reason which is something I don't understand at all. To me, one wall should be perfectly fine since it's the whole point of semi-detached houses, they share one wall. However, they say it's not and "it should be two walls right next to each other" - something I would like to verify with 3rd party, hence this thread. Thanks again for your kind attention!
Nigel Howarth
Site Admin
Posts: 2575
Joined: 24 Oct 2007 14:38
Location: Erimi, Limassol, Cyprus
Contact:

Re: Title deeds for house separation

Post by Nigel Howarth »

You're welcome propex.

Unfortunately, I can't confirm the necessity for having two walls, but as final approval has been granted, the Title Deed can be updated to include the property.

Once the Deed has been updated, you can purchase a half share - this will confirm you own it and secure your investment.

It may also be possible to register the building as being jointly-owned (you'll need to check with the architect.) If this is possible the stairwell and the storage/technical room will be the commonly owned parts - and you will get a title showing you own 100% of the apartment.

The downside is that you and your neighbour will have to purchase building insurance for both properties and contribute towards he cost of maintaining the commonly-owned parts.

Regards,
Nigel Howarth
Independent information & advice for Cyprus property buyers
Contact Nigel Howarth
Read the latest Cyprus property news
propex
Posts: 6
Joined: 18 Dec 2018 15:06

Re: Title deeds for house separation

Post by propex »

Thank you! Unfortunately, we are mortgage buyers and banks have got a strong dislike towards offering one for a shared properly. I will see what we can do but as long as the two semidetached houses couldn't be granted a separate title each, it still remains awkward to me. Thanks again.
propex
Posts: 6
Joined: 18 Dec 2018 15:06

Re: Title deeds for house separation

Post by propex »

Haha. A literal answer from the architect (an established Cyprus architect agency) responsible for the house plans (which they have made already) was, I partly quote "I will find out what the term jointly-owned means and let you know".
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