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Questions & Answers

19 June 2015

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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. Fares

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 agreement).
A.P. Loizou

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.
E. Roof

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%.
A.P. Loizou


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?
N. Xenis

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.
A.P. Loizou

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?
N. Paras

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 surprised.
A.P. Loizou

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.
N. Nelly
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?
A.P. Loizou


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 for us.

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 + VAT, ±€2.400.
• Plates went missing as well as glasses etc (presumably broken by the tenants). Cost to replace around €100.
• Had to provide linen and a B.Q. unit for a cost of €350.
• 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 furniture).
• 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 agent that:

• Electricity cost should be an additional charge on the agent/tenant.
• 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.
Alst. Shimpea

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 periods.

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.
A.P. Loizou

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” advice?
G. Millernef

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.
A.P. Loizou

Q.: Are you not worried about the extensive corruption that it is gradually surfacing in almost all aspects of life Mr Loizou?
K/nos Demams

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.
A.P. Loizou


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 stupidity?

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 is over.
A.P. Loizou

Q.: Time to buy Greek real estate you think Mr Loizou or shall I wait?
Nic Psaras

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.
A.P. Loizou


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 development?
Linos Koskas

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 people.
A.P. Loizou

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 claim?
St. Pesh

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 of love?).
A.P. Loizou

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!!
George Engomitis

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.
A.P. Loizou

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?
Antoin K.

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.
A.P. Loizou


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.
G. Fernandics

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 there.
A.P. Loizou

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 institutions?

A.: No – I am trying to correct an unacceptable situation and to get real education and not a “degree” regardless.
A.P. Loizou

Q.: Don’t you think Mr Loizou that your article on immigrants is a “bit” racist?
N. Habib

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.
A.P. Loizou


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 resprayed again.
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 be ready!!

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 privilege.

If you publish this letter, please do not use my full name.

Many thanks for your help

David Wright

A.: I am pleased that my advice on the milipeds worked.
Regarding the will I cannot offer you any advice. This is a purely legal matter which I know nothing about.
A.P. Loizou


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 etc.
Nic Cameron

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.
A.P. Loizou

Q.: We have an increase number in tourist visit but less income – How come?
Sue Charis

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.
A.P. Loizou
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?
Stelios Americanos

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.
A.P. Loizou

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.
Tim Kendal

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.
A.P. Loizou

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?
Robert Nicou

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 changing.
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).
A.P. Loizou


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?
Madar Lenia

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 unduly disturbed.
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.
A.P. Loizou


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 procedure.
Jane Oliver

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 mind you.
A.P. Loizou


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.
R. Antonescou

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 Greek looking!!
A.P. Loizou
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?
Tom Allandin

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.
A.P. Loizou
Q.: I note that along buildings road frontage there are signs placed by the building owners “no parking allowed”. Is this legal?
Nic Praos

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.
A.P. Loizou

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).
Margaret K.

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 getting older.
Having said that I attach a lovely photo which I have downloaded from the internet – Lovely don’t you think?
A.P. Loizou


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 greatly appreciated.
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 saved.
A.P. Loizou

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 the year.
Stelios Ioannou

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.
A.P. Loizou

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?
P. Michaelides

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 their chair.
A.P. Loizou
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?
Nic Parcel

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.
A.P. Loizou


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?
Georgia Sadam

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 joke)
A.P. Loizou

Q.: Have you visited the new Italian restaurant at Pissouri? A recommendation on your part will help this very worthy effort.
N. Natasca

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.
A.P. Loizou
3/36217-td (29.5.2015)

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.
Claire Sinclair

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.
A.P. Loizou

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?
G. Errol

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??).
A.P. Loizou


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.
(name withheld)

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 reader.
A. Loizou


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.
Nelly June

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?
A.P. Loizou


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
Best Regards
JS Spencer

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.
A.P. Loizou

22.5.2015 |

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