19 June 2015
Q.: Notwithstanding the fact that we live in our
Cyprus home for 20 days a year, the local authority
is charging us garbage collection as much as our
neighbors who live in their home all the year round.
Is this the norm Mr Loizou?
A.: A recent High Court decision on the subject is
most interesting. It says that the charges should be
based on the actual cost with no profit. So if a
property is empty the garbage charge should be nill
and if less than the whole year, to be reduced in
analogy. Evidence of you not living in the house is
say the electricity consumption, the water
consumption bill etc. Please also bear in mind that
if the property is rented, it is the occupier/tenant
who is liable to pay the charge (depending on your
Q.: The developer has passed on the property tax to
the buyers of our project. I thought that this is
the registered owners’ liability and not the buyers.
A.: The law has changed recently and the property
tax is now the responsibility of the buyers. This is
logical but also it helps the buyers since the
developer may have been changed a 1.9%, top scale,
whereas if you do not own much property it could be
reduced (based on the scale) to as little as .8-.9%.
Q.: We have a plot of land which abuts onto a made
up road, but it has not been registered as a public
road, hence the planning authority refused to grand
us a permit.
What can we do?
A.: The planning authority is correct. I suggest
that you pay a visit to the local authority in order
to ascertain when and if (if there are problems) the
road is to become registered.
Q.: On the one hand we have almost 60.000 unemployed
and an overall reducing income for the Cyprus people
and on the other hand we are told that we must book
almost one year in advance to have a reception in
one of the good hotels.
Does this make sense Mr Loizou?
A.: Not really, but here you are. There will be
always people with money and not forgetting foreign
weddings in addition. This is the situation towards
the luxurious hotels mainly. With an approximately
15.000 foreign weddings in Cyprus, I am not
Q.: Are we having Indian nationals investing in
Cyprus Mr Loizou? I have heard of 4 sales over €1.0
mil. by Indian nationals for passport purposes.
A.: You have heard correctly dear Nelly. As I have
reported in this paper in the past, permanent
residency visas and passports for cash/real estate
are on an increasing scale. Don’t ask me why Indians
will have Cyprus on their agenda, but considering
the almost 700 mil. population I am not necessarily
surprised – let alone that the double taxation
agreement with India which is still pending (if it
goes ahead interest will be increased).
So that you know, interest is also appearing from
South Africa and even New Zeeland!! What can I say?
Q.: A warning to your readers Mr Loizou. Villas to
let etc do not come without damage. We let out our
Pissouri 2 bedroom villa with a pool for the last
summer period for €1.000/week. We got a total income
of approximately €10.000. We thought this is great
since we visit our Cyprus home early summer and then
September since the heat in Cyprus can be unbearable
The warning is as follows:
• The tenants had the a/c units the whole day even
when they were at the beach. The electricity bill
came to €1.500.
• We paid 20% to the renting agent around €2.000 +
• Plates went missing as well as glasses etc
(presumably broken by the tenants). Cost to replace
• Had to provide linen and a B.Q. unit for a cost of
• What was most infuriating however is that people
were coming off the pool and sitting with their wet
clothes on our sofa and chairs. Damage amounted to
another €600 (it included a wild cat fed and housed
by the tenants adding to the damage of our
• We were also landed with a refuge bill of €100 as
an addition, since garbage was charged to us at a
very low rate not living permanently at our home.
• Etc etc
End result – net income around ±€5.000.
So one must calculate around 50% of the total income
to come to our pockets, let alone the distress that
we had from “vomit” and even children’s graffiti on
the walls. Never again we said. So for those who are
out there to let, make an agreement with the letting
• Electricity cost should be an additional charge on
• Damages caused to be assessed on handing back the
unit. These are our main precaution that we suggest
that your readers should note.
Many thanks for hosting our letter.
A.: Many thanks for your letter Alastair. An article
on the subject was published a few months ago in
this paper. There is no easy way to make real estate
pay. Save the upset of getting your home back
damaged, at least you got €5.000 to spend for the
overall maintenance and upgrading of your home, in
addition of having a use for it during vacant
From time to time the thought of renting out our
Pissouri home goes through my mind, but then we have
so many personal things and good furniture that the
thought quickly goes away. It is a matter of one’s
financials and if you can have an option long lets
(e.g. 2-3 months to one tenant p.a.) is to be
preferred be it at a lower income.
Q.: I have been charged €500 for a routine car
service of a Japanese make car with no particular
problems mind you. A “pub” friend told us why use
the particular garage service who charge much more
and not independent mechanics? Pub talk is what it
is, so what do you think. Shall we follow the “talk”
A.: Difficult to say dear reader. A garage which
represents the particular make bears responsibility
in the sense that if you have a complain you can
always refer to the Japanese manufacturer (for
whatever this is worth). Private mechanics doing all
sorts of jobs in the garage may have its problems
(e.g. possibly used spare parts, no proper manual to
follow and at the end to whom will you complain with
some chance of success). It will depend on the cars
value, the higher it is I say the more you should
opt for the “proper” garage representative. Having
said this there are several one man businesses who
are eager to build a name for themselves, but then
who knows what they do under the bonnet.
Q.: Are you not worried about the extensive
corruption that it is gradually surfacing in almost
all aspects of life Mr Loizou?
A.: I would have been more worried if it did not
surface. It is a start dear Konstantinos and once
gone through this troublesome period on the subject,
a lesson will be learned by all of us to become
better. Not that corruption will end, but the start
and public awareness is the main. So that you do not
give the wrong impression you must be aware of the
U.K. corruption (for one/with the House of Lords) on
the more recent FIFA kickbacks etc. For the first
time in the history of this country we are seeing
people at high places going to jail and numerous
investigations are on the way.
We have a new Auditor General who seems to be quite
aggressive, but then care is needed to his over
enthusiasm, so that we do not have at the end
authorities not deciding on anything for the fear of
being accused for wrong decisions.
Q.: I am very worried by the Greece situation and I
want to ask you if the Greek Banks “go under” what
will their Cyprus branches happen? Will Cyprus
suffer again due to the Greece Governmental
A.: The Greek banks in Cyprus are a separate Co of
their own and from what I am informed they will not
be affected (this is a matter of opinion to the
extent that they might be affected or not).
Having said that, Cyprus has lend Greece ½ bil. so
there is a side effect that we, as Cyprus economy,
we might lose some of it. People’s worry is
justifiable mind you regarding the Greek banks.
However Hellenic and other local banks e.g. the
Co-Op, the Cyprus Development Bank, the RCB and
others are now almost landed with deposits which
they do not know what to do with. However deposit
rates are coming down to ±2% p.a. – still better
than abroad. I know of many people sending their
money abroad regardless and hopefully retaining
their option to return once this dangerous situation
Q.: Time to buy Greek real estate you think Mr
Loizou or shall I wait?
A.: Yes wait for a couple of months since as
circumstances stand at present and if Greece goes
back to drachma, the exchange rate will be very low.
Q.: I read in your article that the Commissioner of
Environment should be fired due to her stand on the
Limni development regarding turtles etc. Should we
destroy our environment for the benefit of
A.: If you have you studied my opinion on the
subject, my own stand is that environment should
serve the people and not the other way around.
Referring to the Limni project, my views have been
so recorded. We have a large plot of land with heaps
of cancerous materials, a seaside and seabed with
cancerous deposits and a huge hole with cancerous
materials and water.
The developer has spent €30 mil. to rehabilitate the
site, removed all the cancerous materials, fill in
the huge excavation pit, cleaned the seabed and
seashore, repair the pier and planted 30.000 trees.
If the project goes ahead (and I hope it does) we
will have a most attractive tourist development,
adding to the job opportunities, upgrading the
environment and help local agriculture. So at the
end we will the turtles prevail or the Cyprus
economy? The Cyprus economy and the 60.000
unemployed, as well as the locals are to benefit.
Yes fire those who do not love Cyprus and its
Q.: I have changed my car’s battery 6 months ago and
it went flat. I visited the mechanic who told me
that I got the wrong battery etc etc. Do you know
anything about this and to whom am I to address my
A.: Most likely what is wrong is your dynamo causing
your battery to go flat. Check the dynamo and
recharge your existing battery.
What do I know dear reader other than giving you my
opinion based on my own experience.
You do appreciate that the Q+A column is gradually
becoming from a real estate one to an all subjects
column. I hope we do not lose our direction – I like
it mind you since I am also learning from your own
experiences (did you read my reply on the definition
Q.: What is this about private and public swimming
pools Mr Loizou? We are at the end of getting our
deeds and we are now told that our pool (12 units)
is considered as being a public pool!!
A.: Wait for it dear friend. I am writing an article
on the subject next week. I agree with you mind you
that as circumstances stand at present, the
situation is most confusing.
Q.: Why are we all upset regarding the bribes etc
for Cyprus. Yet we come to note that even the
international bodies (see FIFA) that this is a norm.
Are we so bad considering?
A.: Not at all I dare to say. We are as bad as the
others but in small countries everything is blown
up. This is good since we have now all sorts of
investigations ranging from our wise MPs to the
Central Bank Governor, the assistant Attorney
General, Mayors and others.
I think that we are getting better and I hope that
the next few years we will reduce our corruption (to
an extent). Doing nothing it will be all the worst,
be it that at this point of time we give a very bad
impression in the world, especially when we aim to
become a business center.
Q.: You often refer to investment properties giving
a return of 5%-6% p.a. Are there indeed such
investments or is it a “sales trick” on your part?
Please do not misunderstand me dear Mr Loizou.
A.: Far from it dear George. We have a past record
to prove it, as well as pending deals in the market.
The proof of the cake is in the eating as the
British say. Come and see us and we take it from
Q.: I have noted in your previous article regarding
the Greek-English language used in the local
universities and colleges. Don’t you think that this
causes difficulties to our “exporting” educational
A.: No – I am trying to correct an unacceptable
situation and to get real education and not a
Q.: Don’t you think Mr Loizou that your article on
immigrants is a “bit” racist?
A.: Far from it. I have recorded what is happening
in the world and to ignore this is like placing our
head in the sand. We must learn by the bad
experience of others and I apologize if you found my
article racist. This was not my intention.
Q.: Dear Mr Loizou,
You recently replied (very promptly thank you) to my
letter regarding MILIPEDS.
I visited the store of Kyriakos in Limassol, and
indeed the chemical I purchased did the job on
inside walls. I used it also on outside walls, and
it was OK until we had a small thunderstorm, when I
As they explained, this chemical is really only for
inside walls, but when revisiting the store to buy
more, another member of staff showed me a different
chemical, which is more suitable for outside
spraying. When the milipeds return in October - I'll
On another point, I visited Limassol Law Courts
yesterday as I wished to take back our Wills, made
in 1999. I had dated copies, but was told I can only
do this if I instructed a Solicitor. The gentleman
added that I could just make a new Will (which need
not be deposited) and the old one would be invalid.
If the Wills need not be deposited, why do
Solicitors continue to do this and charge for the
If you publish this letter, please do not use my
Many thanks for your help
A.: I am pleased that my advice on the milipeds
Regarding the will I cannot offer you any advice.
This is a purely legal matter which I know nothing
Q.: Will the casino happen dear Mr Loizou or will it
be another case of indecision and alterations of the
submitted bill by the Government, which at the end
will make no sense – See shop closures on Sundays
A.: Any relation to the U.K. MP Nic? If any Cyprus
Weekly and my own shares have been upgraded!
Jokes apart, I believe that the casino bill will be
approved very shortly. Of course there are all sorts
of “clever” ideas with the political parties
competing who will submit the more onerous
restrictions to the operator. I don’t think they
will happen (restrictions) and the Casino-Resort
which will be of the “Las Vegas” type, will happen.
Stupidity is king in this country regarding the
majority of our MPs and unless we have the final
bill (to which rest assure I will comment), we will
not know what the requirements are – It will happen,
but the end result is the one which is important.
Q.: We have an increase number in tourist visit but
less income – How come?
A.: We seem to be getting lower tourist spenders.
The Russians spend on average €1.000/head and others
around €700/head. This is the reason I am afraid.
What is noticeable is that the closing down of
Cyprus Airways has not affected the tourist numbers
but on the contrary destination airports are
increasing. I am very hopeful that when considering
the losses of the Cyprus Airways for which we were
all called upon to pay, the future will be better in
terms of numbers and hopefully income wise.
Q.: We are informed that part of the Cyprus solution
will mean the opening of the Tymbou airport in the
T/Cypriots held areas. Surely this will boost the
T/C side against the G.C. one. Any sense for our
Minister of Foreign Affairs to agree with this?
A.: Yes it does. A solution will have its plusses
and minuses. As a give and take, I understand,
Cyprus registered ships can visit Turkish ports and
local airlines (G.C.) can fly over Turkey, making
travel time easier, whereas one of the reason that
more ship owning Cos do not register in Cyprus is
the Turkish embargo. So it is a give and take all
round. I am concerned, but what is more important is
the solution above all.
Q.: What a clever move on the Government’s side
regarding the shopping hours? The Minister of Labor
taught our “brave” MPs a lesson – Well done.
A.: I agree with you absolutely and I add my voice
to yours in support. Had we have a Government who
would have had a majority at the House, we would
have done wonders in this country at least for the
economy amongst other benefits. At least we are not
in the unfortunate position that Mr Netanyahu is
(Israeli MP) with all sorts of extremists having a
sit at the Government.
Q.: Same sex wedding, child adoption etc is
happening in Cyprus. Are we so advance in this
country to be one of the very few in the world (21
states at this point of time) to go for it?
A.: It is happening dear friend and we have started
a couple of years ago with gay parades in Nicosia
and we came to know this week that the Luxemburg MP
got married to his male partner. Things are
I have my reservations on this development, but on
the other hand people with different sexual and
other likes must have the chance to live as they
choose (always within the law).
Q.: Barking dogs dear Mr Loizou and the owner was
fined for disturbing the neighbors. This was the
recent court decision. Are we serious, how can we
stop dogs from barking?
A.: A reasonable decision but I do not know the
circumstances. Myself I have 3 dogs and they do bark
at times. There are times that I have to sleep on
the couch on the ground floor, in order to keep an
ear on the barking, so that my neighbors are not
Placing a non-barking collar is one solution but
what is a dog with no barking? I appreciate the
problem on either side and especially, I add, the
security need that we need to have.
Q.: I am told that there is no more need to ask the
developer to provide a cancellation agreement and a
new resale contract for properties with or without
title, thus by-passing the developer/existing owner.
If this is true, this is good news in order to get
rid of the overcharges from developers and others
who up to now are blackmailing existing buyers
charging them an exorbitant amount for this
A.: You are quite right. Developers/sellers were/are
charging anything between €5.000-6.000 for the
procedure (normal I would say is €1.500-€2.000
max.). Now you can enter into a contract of
assignment of your contract to the incoming buyer.
Bear in mind however that for this to happen the
original buyer must have deposited his sales
contract with the Lands Office, pay any capital
gains tax, property taxes, common expenses etc up to
the date of the assignment. This is a good
alternative and a way out – subject to legal advice
Q.: I noted your article regarding immigration and
its possible side effects. I noted in particular
that you are reporting that Romanian immigrants are
part of the problem. I object to this Mr Loizou
being Romanian myself.
A.: Nothing personal dear reader. It is just
statistics if you care to examine them. Immigrants
tend to have a high percentage of criminality in any
country, partly due to their low income and
comparing their own living standards and that of
others. Romanians have another large problem, that
of Romans (gypsies) which are more evident in the
Paralimni area (now their number is reducing due to
unemployment), but it is a fact of life regrettably.
I also referred to the ex-eastern block Greeks who
have landed here with similar criminality records.
Human nature being what it is, locals in any country
have a higher sensitivity to foreign/immigrants
committing crimes notwithstanding that the locals do
the same – see Greece with a new brand of Strom
Troopers (Golden Domain) scaring whoever is not a
Q.: There is going to be one unified property tax we
are informed. What does this mean even higher taxes
on real estate dear Mr Loizou?
A.: The recent Minister of Interior announcement
referred to one tax which will cover the property
tax, municipal, sewage taxes etc. He promised that
what the Government is interested in, is the total
existing amount income and not a way to increase the
total tax. This is good in my estimation since an
owners will not have to pay the taxes to various
authorities, but to only one. It will save time and
expenses by all. We will have to wait the final
proposal mind you.
Q.: I note that along buildings road frontage there
are signs placed by the building owners “no parking
allowed”. Is this legal?
A.: No – It is not and no one owns the road at the
front if parking is otherwise allowed. However if
you can find an empty space nearby park there
without the hassle. Who wants to antagonize with an
objectionable resident? If not and other things
being equal park.
Q.: How are your dogs Yiannis and Kostis dear Mr
Loizou? I keep a close watch of what you are doing
and part of my affection to you is that you are an
animal lover (the help you have provided to me and
my late husband apart).
A.: Thank you Margaret for your concern. Kostis has
died, Yiannis is very old and we got two new ones
Hambis and Styllis. The new boys need more attention
but regrettably I do not have the energy as I am
Having said that I attach a lovely photo which I
have downloaded from the internet – Lovely don’t you
Q.: We read in the press that we have the right to
challenge the bank charges/ overcharges etc. We have
not a clue how we can challenge these charges and
how to go about it. Any help Mr Loizou it will be
N & K
A.: There are various firms who can undertake the
job, usually ex-Bank employees who know the ins and
outs of the banking system. I have limited knowledge
myself dear readers to help out, but as far as I
know, over charges and little charges that appear in
your statement here and there may be a cause of
objection or at least renegotiation. I attach for
your information a couple of names of relevant
firms, but there are others mind you. Make sure you
negotiate their fees. Usually it is a fixed sum,
depending on the amount involved around €1.000 plus
approximately 3%-4% success fee on the charges
Q.: You were to organise a seminar on bad loans with
the presence of the Minister of Finance. Have you
given up, since this would have been THE seminar of
A.: Notwithstanding the fact that the Minister, the
Governor of the Central Bank and the Director of Bad
Debts, declared their interest to attend, we have
postponed it, given the constant changing
circumstances – changes in the law, problems with
the Governor, new bad loan procedures etc. Wait for
it dear Stelios, we want to be informed at the end
what the borrowers’ rights are.
Q.: We have a mortgage release from the financing
bank upon issue of titles. The titles have been
issued and we have been waiting for the last 6
months to get the free transfer. Shall we take legal
action against the Bank?
A.: This is unacceptable if you have a mortgage
release. In addition a new law will sort this
situation out, but a mortgage release is a
commitment by the Bank. I cannot understand why they
delay the transfer – Send a letter to get them off
Q.: We have recently received a building permit to
build our home. One of the conditions is to set back
our boundary from the existing road boundary and
construct the pavements, install electricity and
water supply etc. Is this a normal demand?
A.: Yes. You must provide the road construction
within the part of the property given not other.
Water supply and electricity cost is also added on
the cost, I am afraid.
Bear in mind that if you are asked to construct a
through road which will serve the general
neighbourhood e.g. a road of 40 feet width, you can
object to it both on the land extent required, as
well as the building cost – High Court Decision on
this is relevant.
Q.: We have a somewhat large plot of land around our
home. We thought to plant it with vines in hope that
we “might” produce our own wine for our own use/fun
and not commercial exploitation. We made “dreams”
about this venture and suddenly we were told that we
cannot plant vines, unless we have a license.
Please-please, any views?
A.: You should clear the situation with the Ministry
of Agriculture in order to get the details. I cannot
believe that the vines that are over the place in
residential gardens are not allowed. I have myself 2
vine trees climbing on a pergola with beautiful
grapes to pick. There must be some sort of reason
which I do not know how to address it.
Let me know of the Ministry of Agricultural excuses
and if not well reasoned, I would plant it (being a
Cypriot) regardless. It is just crazy but the law
must be followed. I suggest that if in small scale
they should not cause a problem. Come back to me
dear reader. A point of note is not call your wine
Sadam (e.g. Saddam Hussein etc) it will be better is
you name it Georgia!! (I hope you appreciate the
Q.: Have you visited the new Italian restaurant at
Pissouri? A recommendation on your part will help
this very worthy effort.
A.: I am not a fun of Italian food but I did visit
the place and I was delighted due to the songs they
provide – Eros Ramazzotti – I visited the place
enjoying the music and the food is also up to
standard I must add, whereas the wine charge is
within reason. I have a soft spot for the thieving
wine charges in restaurants as you might have noted
from my writings.
Q.: Congratulations dear Mr Loizou. I noted in the
Limassol facebook that you have become a
grandfather. Does the boy look like you? Will “he”
be a new Antonis Loizou – excuse my forwardness, but
I “respect” you for your help you gave to myself and
my late husband. All the best to the newborn.
A.: Many thanks Claire and I am touched by your
letter. I hope you are well and my help is ready for
you (and all the readers) for matters that I can
address. Notwithstanding the fact that “I think” I
am too young to be a grandfather (a standard joke)
the new born is Romanian looking (the mother is from
Romania). He looks more like his Romanian
grandfather but we made a deal with his mother that
during summer we stay together under the sun to get
a “darker Cypriot-like look”. What more can I do –
You do appreciate my joy and the spirit that a new
grandfather has – All the best Claire and thank you
again for your wishes.
Q.: The Government has taken our own land (we are
Turkish Cypriots) for over 30 years and we are in
Court asking for loss of rents during its occupation
period. I know that you represented a couple of
cases that we come to know and you have put up a
good case at Court. The Lands Office is offering us
a basic rent, based on agricultural rentals which is
next to nothing. Do we have a case to ask for more –
what is your stand on this?
A.: It will depend on the circumstances dear reader.
I have the view that very long “occupation” of a
property comes to a deprivation of ownership,
nothing to do with the ordinary rental (which has a
start and an end). The two cases you refer to are
yet to be decided upon, but, following the judge’s
stand it is doubtful that my position will be upheld
by the judge’s opinion.
We will have to wait and see dear Errol (any
relation to Errol Flynn??).
Q.: We have a major problem with the administrative
committee. Our block is run down, yet the committee
says it has no authority to take measures.
A.: First check if there is indeed an administrative
committee elected by the 50%+ majority.
Check your own general agreement and if not follow
the Lands Office model rules for common expenses.
If in doubt use an advocate’s advice.
The common expenses are a huge problem and if you
are in trouble follow the above I am afraid dear
Q.: I noted what you say about the roof insulation.
We are on the top floor and we get rainwater coming
through. The administrative committee says it is our
obligation to repair. I cannot believe this.
A.: The roof is a common use and as such it is not
your solely responsibility, but a common one (unless
you have the exclusive right of it). If the
committee can manage to detect who is responsible
e.g. a/c, antenna, satellite dish, piercing the damp
proof course they should be responsible, but then
how does one find the cause?
Q.: Hello Mr Loizou, we bought our apartment through
your Office in 2000, and are still very happy with
our purchase BUT is it correct that even to have
maintenance on our external walls of our apartment
and painting of SAME colour we are not allowed to
proceed without permission of other residents in the
block. A total renovation is not possible as people
are saying they have no money. So my walls which
need immediate attention have to go worse and worse
??? Its concrete cancer and rusty rebar. My property
is losing value all the time and I am told by the
firm that does the common expenses that they will
arrange for repairs for the whole block (NO no
money) and then I will have to pay AGAIN for work to
be done on top of work that has been DONE.
Thank you in advance for your attention
A.: I will suggest that you proceed with the
repainting of your walls in order to prevent further
damage. Ignore the committee if any, this is what I
would have done dear reader. You will have a claim
against the others, but who knows how and when you
are going to get it. At least you keep your property
part in repair. It is a curse I am afraid the common
expenses with no easy solution.