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Questions & Answers

19 June 2015

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Νο.1762
Q.: We just arrived in Cyprus after a 4 month absence. The house smells terrible like sewage. We called in a plumber who more or less told us that our w.cs should be taken out and replaced. I ask you dear Mr Loizou if you know anything about this sort of thing, since we cannot relate the bathroom fixtures with the smell.
Ntino Keeper

A.: Another rubbish and a con job I suspect dear Ntino. What happens if you do not use the toilet, wash basins/bath, the water dries out in the pipe leading to the drains and you get the smell from the sewage system. You might also get some sort of cockroaches (coming through the pipes since the waters in the pipes are not there to block their path).
My opinion is that if you are away from the house for long periods and before you leave it, say for more than a couple of months unused especially in the summer season.
• Open the water to fill the pipes say for 3-5 minutes
• Place ¼ glass of petrol on top since it helps the water not to evaporate
• Place the plastic top on top
• Place a tape also around the outlet
• Make sure that the w.c. floating mechanism works
That should do it.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1763
Q.: We are building a garage and we applied for a permit. The planning authority stipulated in its terms that the garage tiles should be of clay. We came to note the aluminium tiles (sheets) that look exactly like the ordinary clay tiles and in fact you need to touch them in order to know the difference). Shall we then ignore the clay tiles condition and opt for the aluminium ones?
Turner Bozarorofski
A.: It is a risk, but you have nothing to lose if you ask your architect to check with the planning authority if this substitute is okay. I will suggest that if the house forms part of a village with traditional houses around you we have a problem. In another case the permit condition stipulated timber window shutters. Yet now with the new aluminium series which look like timber is acceptable (you might remember the 15 years ago aluminium shutters having a silver or golden colour). Now aluminium is acceptable but subject to a reasonable appearance with the real thing.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1764
Q.: Our project is coming to its completion. The developer is asking us (with suggestions by some of the buyers) that should we wish, the asphalt road to be replaced by the ceramic asphalt, which indeed looks much better and reminds us even of Buckingham Palace red colour surrounding roads! The cost is approximately €300 addition/house. Shall we go for it, is it reasonable and will this have a fair added value on the value of our home?
K. Clouds

A.: It sounds reasonable and I will say it will add to your property’s value as much. Please note that this refers to private roads (e.g. in a complex) and not public ones. So provided the roads are private I would go for it dear reader.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1765
Q.: I must thank you for your recent article on the real estate market and in particular to the new incentives that the Government is proposing, especially regarding the 50% transfer fees and the non-capital gains tax. How else were to know if it was not for you? I believe that you are the only one who cares about foreign people in Cyprus for such proposals, duly advertised in the Greek press and TV, but how about all the rest of us who cannot follow the language?
Steve Mac

A.: Dear Steve I thank you for your comment and encouragement. Cyprus Weekly is also to be thanked by projection. I hope with God’s permission I will be around for a while to help all our readers.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1766
Q.: Our house specs stipulate that our roof will have insulation. What does this mean therman or water proofing?
J. Kaite

A.: Who is to know dear Jack. I will say the least is that of the water proofing. It is an open ended part of the contract which could be interpreted either way. Having said this what happens in actual practice is that owners and their suppliers place all sorts of equipment (e.g. a/c, antenna etc) on the roof piercing the insulation course – A never ending problem with a most difficulty circumstance to address. Discuss it with the developer if not too late.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1767
Q.: How is your European Award of Customer Care is progressing? Do “we” have a chance to win it? Being a client of yours and having experienced the subject on your part, I wish to help. Will writing to the examining committee help you and us Mr Loizou?
Nic Papas

A.: This is a European Award dear Nic not a Cypriot one. Let us not get unduly excited since there are many other Cos who are doing better, but I love your support. Do nothing since it can work the opposite way.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1768
Q.: I have read your answer where you suggest the use of the car representative garage as opposed to others. I wish to add my own experience on your stand. I took my car for oil change and service to the representative garage. Kept it for a day and I understand that I brought the car earlier than I should have done. Notwithstanding the fact that I had a small problem with the ashtray and having checked the brakes, I was told that this is free. A rarity at these times.
N. Kondos

A.: Yes – well done, but at times it can work the opposite way. Your garage must be managed by a well meaning manager with customer satisfaction and ethics in mind.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/36357-td
7.7.2015

 

No. 1769
Q.: Further to the reader's letter printed in The Cyprus Weekly Friday July 3rd.
You advised the reader that it would be worth waiting a month or two to see if the property transfer fees would be reduced by a new bill being submitted by the government.
In view of the fact that this is a brand new proposal, and the fact that there will be a government recess for summer, how long does this type of matter usually take to come to fruition ?
My query relates to a relative who is in poor health and therefore the completion of the property transfer is required within a fairly tight timescale.
Thank you for your attention
P. Hop


A.: I expect that the new measure will be in place end of September this year.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1771
Q.: I have just read your article in the press.

I live in a complex of 8 properties with a shared pool. We have been told by Tala Board that any shared pool is “Public” and should be licenced and have the facilities mentioned in your article. As a member of our Management Committee I have been pursuing this with the Paphos Health Department who say that our pool is “Public”. However, on trying to get a second opinion no one else seems to know anything – not even the District Information Desk.

Additionally the lifeguard has to have a blood test. If they show positive for Hepatitis B they cannot be a lifeguard even if they are positive because they have been inoculated against this. We have been trying to find a Lifeguard course locally but that is proving difficult.

Could you please refer me to the documentation that states 10 properties. Then I will be happy.

Many thanks

Heather Stewart


A.: This was quoted from my experience at a project at Laxia. Since I received your letter it is incredible that having asked the various planning officers it seems that no one knows. Strictly speaking the law stipulates that a private pool is for a single house. If not and more units are using it, it becomes public!! Certain building permit authorities ignore this requirements and others place a limit i.e. 5 units, 10 units etc. This is a non workable legal requirement and from time to time efforts are being made to change it. The E.U. law stipulates that public pool is one open to the public. I have asked for an interview with the Minister of the Interior on the subject and I hope that something will come out of it.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/36382-td
14.7.2015

No.1772
Q.: Dear Mr Loizou,

Once again I find myself writing to you, this time to say thank you for your piece in the Weekly News on Friday 10th July. As someone who has been waiting for my title deeds since 2001 I was pleased to read what you had to say. May I ask two related questions, please?

You said that the transfer fees will be halved until the end of 2016. Could you give the formula, please?

My wife and I wish to give our house to our niece, although we intend to live in it for the rest of our lives. When the title deeds are issued can we ask for her name to be put on them rather than our own?

Thank you.

Kind regards,

(name withheld)

A.: The transfer fee scale is as follows:
Up to €85.000 3% (= €2.550)
Up to €85.001-€170.000 5% (= €4.250 – total €6.800)
Over €170.000 8%

The total amount will be halved if transfer takes place up to 31.12.2016.
Regarding now the direct transfer to a third person, it will depend what your sales contract stipulates. Most contracts allow a direct transfer to the parties indicated as such by the original purchaser. If you want to be “secured” in your possession and upon transfer you can ask the Lands Office to register a life interest in your favour on the title.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/36383-td
14.7.2015

No.1773
Q.: With the going ons in Greece shall we move our deposits from the subsidiary Greek banks back home or to other local banks?
Tim Larson

A.: As far as I know, the subsidiaries will not be affected by any Greek Haircut or otherwise. Should you feel unsecured however, move your money to more “safe” destinations and return it back once the present circumstances get cleared say in 2-3 weeks. Bearing in mind that the interruption of your deposits might cause you to have a small penalty, whereas the reintroduction of the deposits might also reduce your existing deposit rate (now on average 2% p.a. whereas it was around 2.50%).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1774
Q.: What a joker the ex Minister of Finance for Greece. He left for holidays during the crucial vote regarding Greece’s future, having himself caused most of the problems. I say this because I agree with our President Anastasiades that we should cut our financial ties with Greece.
Nic Tornaros

A.: This is the general feeling in this country as well as in Europe I say.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1775
Q.: I note so many cats and dogs killed on the roads that we wonder how many such animals exist in Cyprus, so that they are runned over by such numbers.
K. Postol

A.: We have too many and this is due to the irresponsibility of locals who let loose newborns just about everywhere in the fields etc. We are not a loving animal country and I must take this opportunity to thank the new animal societies for raising the matter to public attraction. I hope that the future will be better for the unfortunate animals.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1776
Q.: What is the difference between a pork and a lamb souglaki Mr Loizou?
K. Turner

A.: We, the Greek Cypriots are brought up with the pork souglaki and the Turkish Cypriots with the lamb. It has been a long time since I have had the lamb version, but I remember it is better. Mind you lamb is more expensive (slightly). I will make a B.Q. next week using both and I will come back to you dear friend. As I say often to our readers “who am I”, a chef advisor, a contractor, a car engineer, or an estate agent/ valuer of real estate (based on the readers’ questions).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1777
Q.: I think you were a bit harsh on the all inclusive holidays describing your experiences. We differ but still I love your writings.
Nicos Papas

A.: Each one’s experiences might be different but as another reader wrote to me regarding Pafos “better to hear comments from your friends than nothing”. I agree with him and of course yourself. Let’s keep an eye on things and be on the alert.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1778
Q.: I have read your solution on the bad smells coming out from the drains within the house. We have tried it and so far it worked!!
Many thanks as I am sure many other readers of the Cyprus Weekly will thank you as well.
Marina Hedge

A.: As I have said before, I have progressed from a real estate valuer and estate agent, to a gourmet cook with my recipes, a contractor regarding building maintenance, to legal advisor and more recently a plumber. For each and every question mind you, I have to ask people in the know prior to a reply.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1779
Q.: We have an apartment and on our title it registers a covered parking No.1. Yet we have other residents taking possession of it. What shall we do?
(name withheld)

A.: What a normal but yet irritating situation. I would recommend you to take out a court, ex-parte judgement, to prohibit others to park on your parking. Communicate the judgement to all residents and if it happens get the car Reg.No. and report it to the police. The “intruder” may stand a chance to go to prison for non obeying a court order (be it for a couple of days).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1780
Q.: We have noted what you said in your article regarding holiday homes and the limitations on having it let.
Does this mean that we cannot let our home?
(name withheld)
A.: Of course you can (be it that there are some regulations restricting this which are not adhered by the authorities mind you) – This is Cyprus, but you might take a risk not declaring your income etc. In Greece holiday lets for less than 30 days are not permitted. You can go to prison for 3 months if you let your property for less than 30 days to a single tenant. The same applies to Cyprus (without the prison) having said that everybody turns a blind eye here. So what can I say, “do as the Romans”.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1781
Q.: I read through my computer on a matter regarding collecting sea puples that it is illegal but you offered a solution and I wonder if there is any change on your advice.
C. Sterns

A.: No – Follow my advice and you should be okay.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1782
Q.: I have read your reader’s letter regarding holiday lets and your reply. I have a similar experience and I just wanted to add my reservations on the subject.
Ph. Phidias

A.: Cyprus Weekly and myself are here for the purpose to get people informed to the best of our ability.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
No.1783
Q.: “How dare he to charge us for excessive legal fees” our legal advisor told us about your good report on the subject. This is a Pafian advocate mind you.
(name withheld)

A.: The con job does not limit itself to Pafos but in other towns. Recently we had a British advocate (U.K. based mind you) asking us to pay him a 10% commission for a deal that we were in process of conclusion. So there you are.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/36381-td
15.7.2015

No.1788
Q.: Do you think that now that the Cyprus Airways has closed down the tourist numbers will increase or was the decision to close the only national airline was a mistake?
N. Grexits

A.: Only positive signs are noted dear friend. First we got rid of the millions of subsidies that we, the rest of us, had to come up to pay the never demanding pilots and employees. The free skies policy has opened the Cyprus connection with new destinations including the much needed German and U.K. airports. It is worth noting that Crete has a similar total number of tourist (2.4 mil. p.a.) and this with chartered flights. Crete has 1 mil. German tourists, whereas Cyprus around 200.000. It does not make sense why we have such a huge difference, especially bearing in mind the war history between Crete and Germany (with 2 German cemeteries in Crete) and with no past bad history with Cyprus. In addition to the monopoly that Cyprus Airways had, limiting the international connections with other tourist destination, we have a problem with the quality of the services and prices that we have here and for which I have reported repeatedly.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/36414-td
29.7.2015

No.1787
Q.: So that we help the readers the new tax amendment laws state that if a property is acquired by 31.12.2016, no capital gains will be charged upon resale. In addition under other laws relating to similar dates suggests a 50% reduction in transfer fees and in some cases zero fees. So at the end a buyer will not only save himself the transfer fees (in some cases) which could amount to 5%-8% based on its value, but in addition the capital gains. Any catch dear Mr Loizou?
K. One

A.: I am not a specialist on tax provisions and I am meeting our accountant next week to explain to me the new tax situation. Bear in mind that the acquisition of a property and then its resale with no capital gains will be subject to provisos i.e. you bought the property at market value and that the original seller is not related to the new buyer – creating suspicions for tax avoidance.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/36412-td
29.7.2015

No.1789
Q.: You must have seen the forest fires that they are reported year after year in Greece. It seems that in Greece it is a bit of a “popular sport” to burn wooded areas, since Nero of Rome has not died literally, but there are descendants. We have a situation here as well on the subject, but in many cases they are manageable what is wrong with Greece dear Mr Loizou?
S. Akamides

A.: Our own Cyprus fires are a matter mainly of stupidity of farmers and others not necessarily arcenist to a noticeable extent in terms of courses. Yet in Cyprus we have invested in fire fighting planes and we have hired 2 large helicopters from Russia at the cost of €½ mil. p.a. We also have the British Bases to thank for contributing in the effort (something which we tend to forget even with an official “thank you” letter. We seem to me that we are ahead in Greece and we have observation posts, likely spots have stationed with fire brigades on spot, with full crew to handle.
During the last huge fire in Greece, we sent our own fire fighters to help out. They found out that the Greeks did not pass the test, whereas their mobile water tanks are made of plastic hence they could not reach the fire since the plastic could have melted. We are fortunate to have had the good management and experiences of the colonial era (G.B.) the results of which we see today in many cases regarding public administration. I see in the TV news, as I m sure all the rest of us, that the Greeks have “discovered” the stand by fire fighting crews in sensitive areas, the potential of part time fire fighters but they have difficulty to understand to “hire” on a stand by basis fire fighters during the summer season.
What can I say, a country blessed with natural beauty being destroyed by lack of knowledge, stupidity, inefficiency and strange laws (I could expand on this but as a start, if you burn a wooded field you stand to convert it into development land!!).

3/36392-td
29.7.2015

No.1786
Q.: The new tax law on transfer suggests the reduction of transfer fees if reduced by the end of 2016 by 50%. My question is: There is another law reducing the transfer fees by 50% if VAT is paid. Does this mean that if a purchase has a VAT charge, the transfer fees will be NILL?
Avgi Papas

A.: Yes – Lovely is it not?
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/36413-td
29.7.2015

No.1785
Q.: Dear Mr Loizou,

TITLE DEEDS AND PUBLIC POOLS

Every week I read with great interest your section in the Cyprus Weekly and admire your resolve and courage at trying to make this Country a better place to live in.

With regards to the Title Deeds, and i believe the Governments decision to half the transfer fees to be very fair, considering the problems that title deeds have bought, i have two questions, firstly, will the house price remain based on the original purchase price, or will it be based on the valuation as at 01.01. 2013. I believe the later to be a much fairer price as it relates closer to it's current value.

As an example, when i purchased my property in 2008 i paid cy£103,000 which equated to euro 176,130, Cyprus having just gone into the Euro @ 1.71 euros to cy£1. The 01.01.2013 valuation estimates the property value at euro 108,300. As we have no title deeds at present this is the developers figure. The current market trend has our properties selling around euro 90 - 95,000, as you can see, not far off a devaluation of 50%.

My second question regarding title deeds is will the single or joint ownership still apply, on single ownership the transfer of deeds without any discounts on my property (176,130) is 7,290.40 and for joint ownership it works out to 5,406.50, as you can see, quite a difference. If the valuation of the property is taken on the 01.01.2013 valuations, mine being 108,300 the fees due would be 3,715 single ownership and 3,249 joint ownership. My previous amount due 7,290.40 could reduce to 2013 values plus the government discount 50% to now being euro 1,857.50. A saving of 5,432.90, a vast difference and a more realistic figure for settlement, one i would jump at, when they become available and hopefully before the end of 2016.

With Complex swimming pools, for which we have one on our complex, iv'e got to say, as the Secretary, it is an absolute nightmare. Is the current Cyprus Law, "Number 55 (1) 1992 law regulates the construction and operation of public pools", the one we should be working too. In your opinion, and i understand it would only be an opinion, would the "EU Standard EN 15288-2 swimming pools-part 2. Safety requirements for operation", take precidence. On the one hand i am being led to believe that Cyprus Law is law and is a safer set of rules and on the other hand i'm being told as Cyprus is part of the EU it should operate to the EU standards, am i correct in thinking that the EU is a higher authority. I understand that there are a new set of Cyprus standards that were prepared in 2013 but as yet have not been approved and are still under consideration. Most of the people i speak to have the opinion "well your in Cyprus", or "this is Cyprus" for me that is not a good enough answer.
What would be your advice, as my main issue is, would our insurance cover us if we do not meet one or the other regulations/standards should, god forbid, something happen.

Your advice would be much appreciated and good luck with your meeting with the Minister of Interior, i hope he fully understands that the pool issue is an Island wide problem that requires solving sooner rather than later. In addition it could bring some much needed extra revenue to the Government (how many swimming pools are actually registered).

Yours Sincerely

Trevor Pointon


A.: Thank you for your encouragement in continuing this work. The transfer fee is based on the market vale at the date of purchase and not as at 1.1.2013. I have not studied the law on the ½ transfer fees, but I expect it will be ½ of whatever you were called upon to pay before it (could be zero if VAT has been paid). Yes it is a good incentive for transfers.

The pool question (public or private) is indeed a mess since the authorities are in different minds. The E.U. law stipulates that public pools are those open to the public something which is contrary to the Cypriot law. E.U. law supersedes the Cypriot law, but in order to have the E.U. apply, one must take legal action against the authority and if you feel that you appeal to the E.U. court. I am trying to clear the air with the Ministry of the Interior. A pool private or not if shared by a number of units should have changing rooms, wcs., first aid rooms, fenced pool and access to the pool for the invalids. You should have a third party insurance not only for the pool but for all common areas. Depending on the size of the project and as an indication an insurance for third parties of around €100.000 seems to me to be a reasonable amount. Care on the insurance terms.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/36404-td
29.7.2015

Νο.1784
Q.: A few days ago I visited your office and asked to see someone to express our feelings about a matter that has been giving us serious concerns.

A few years ago perhaps four or five, Pyla Municipality opened a ”homatery”/refuse dump on our doorstep. This area was designated to be a green area, but a “homatery” is what we have. Have they obtained the environmental study required? Have they obtained the building permission required? Does this site comply with any EU regulations that they may be required?
We have been told that it is for the purpose of depositing green waste for disposal, I am afraid it is used to dispose everything, rotten fruit, tyres, building materials, car mechanics waste, included discarded batteries, which contaminate rain water, whole skips are being emptied regularly and more.
People looking for recyclable materials visit this place all hours of the day till late at night.
Last year, in the early hours of the morning an arsonist set fire to the “homatery”, the waste had not been collected for weeks.
We were very lucky our properties were not set on fire and we burnt alive. Recently it was set on fire again to burn tyres to collect the metal in them. Please be aware that the fire brigade did not attend this last incident, because they have said they will not attend a fire again.
Mr Mitedes the Mayor of Pyla is aware of these events but he is unwilling to do anything.
This “homatery” is 100 metres from the beach, ‘perhaps’ in the tourist zone. Neither is it something that anybody wants on their front door.
We are appealing to you to do something about this health hazard, on our doorstep. When food stuff is thrown it becomes rat infested. As is well known vermin can cause severe illness, Weils Disease is caused by rat urine, very nasty, and with children being around that is a constant danger. Also Lymes Disease caused by ticks, and Toxoplasmosis caused by cats eating infected rats which can be passed to humans causing severe eye problems. On a number of occasions animals have been abandoned.

During the winter months mud covers the road in front of our properties, this is dangerous as cars, vans and other commercial vehicles come and go to and many from muddy fields making it impossible for anybody to walk on the muddy road which the municipality never cleans. When the site is being cleaned by moving refuse it creates a lot of noise and clouds of dust which makes the area covered with unhealthy fumes and dust, which dirties our properties and makes the air unhealthy and unhygienic.

Surely nobody wants such a filthy site on the front door; what is the price of a property with a “homatery” on its front door? Who would want to buy a property when every day they would be looking at filthy, dirty, smelly eyesore like this one?
I hope this matter is dealt with promptly as it of great concern to the 80 property owners who live here, yes most of them spend the summer months here but some of us live here and find this unacceptable.

Yours sincerely

P. Patchias

A.: What can I say other than sharing your views on the subject. There are many home owners around, so what I suggest is that you get together and produce a fund in order to sue the local authority for an illegal and without a permit use. If this is correct as you describe to me, the local authority should wake up – A letter to the Minister of Interior and the Ombudswoman will be a plus. A copy to Mr Perdikis (MP) of the Environmental Party and an invitation to the place will also be a plus (photos etc to go).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/36420-td
29.7.2015

Νο.1790

Q.: We are two minds Mr Loizou whether we should start building our offices this year or next, when building costs will go down further.
(Please use our response in confidence).

A.: It is doubtful that building costs will be reduced further to make a difference. Recent years and based on Governmental statistics office building cost show the following trend:

2010- Say base rate year – 100%
2011: +5%
2012: 0%
2013: +20%
2014: -1.5%
(As can be deducted from the above the costs have increased in 2013 with a slight reduction in 2014).

Although there is a slight revival in the building industry, with the announced Governmental projects it will affect (upwards) building costs. In addition to the building costs, you must consider, say, the one year delay which (if you let) must also be taken into account.

As an indication consider that ordinary office buildings cost around €1.100/sq.m. (plus basements and common areas) whereas high tech ones (do not compromise for less mind you) it is around €1.300/sq.m., depending on the quality and services provided, number of lifts, energy saving etc. The latter with the use of geothermal techniques, solar and electricity panels, could reduce your running cost by approximately 30% be it that they cost as an initial investment. It is no more a straight forward comparison as it used to be in the past.


Do not compromise on parking and notwithstanding the required 1 parking spot/60 sq.mts. of office space, provide as much as possible, hence the use of a second basement level (partly to be used for storage purposes) should be looked upon positively. Third basement level it is doubtful if it is in terms of cost viable.


Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/36444-td
3.8.2015

No.1791
Q.: Technology comes nowadays in all sorts of ways. Our son bought as a gadget from U.S.A. which upon being detected by the police speedy gadget, it sends a return signal that you are driving say 80 kms/hour notwithstanding the fact that one might be driving 150 km/hour. We doubt that this is legal – Is it?
Paral Demond

A.: No – It is illegal if you are caught mind you. If the police patrol suspects that you have this, it can chase you and investigate the car for your gadget. If they find it you are in trouble my friend.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/36439-td
3.8.2015

No.1793
Q.: We are planning to embark in a camping trip around Cyprus. The official camp sites are few and in-between and we are thinking of using off the truck spots. The problem is the w.c. facilities and the permit required, as we understand we need, to camp. If there is a way around our difficulties? We would appreciate your advice.
George Psaras

A.: In order to camp somewhere you do need a permit. However if it is for a couple of days and out of place areas, you should have no problem. We had a caravan set up at Protaras beach and within 2 hours Municipality officials paid a visit to the owners to get it off the site. So avoid the popular localities and use official camping. Bear in mind that there is the possibility of the land owner objecting, so keep it for maximum 2 days. Regarding the w.c. there are disposal ones in a compact form. Bear in mind that you should remove it to the nearest public rubbish bin (not 100% legal) – don’t dream to throw it in the sea!!
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1794
Q.: I note that if we transfer our property by the end of 2016 our transfer fees will be 50%. I understand however that the developer has a problem with the title issue and we are afraid we will miss the date. Is there any way that we could pay the 50% transfer fees to the Government, notwithstanding the non transfer due to the lack of title, so that we do not miss the benefit?
Michael Sarripolos

A.: No – there is no such provision but it is a good idea. The Government will be happy but you increase your risk by investing more money with no title. If you feel that it is a matter o time and provided the law allow this (which it does not) do it Michael.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1795
Q.: Have the gas Cos abandoned their efforts for the Cyprus gas finds since reading a past article of yours you reported that the gas finds will have a positive affect on real estate prices etc.
Nicolai Spatsof

A.: The gas find will help the Cyprus economy and by projection the real estate market. The recent reduction of the oil/gas prices and the added supply that it is being sold by ISIS and now the Iran supply, push prices at low levels, not making it particularly viable for our own gas exploration. Of course there are the ups and downs for such prices and hopefully prices will change in the near future. In addition the gas Cos who showed interest for Cyprus, do not want to get entangled in local politics and Turkey. For this reason they pull back to an extent from Cyprus interest which coincides with the local prices and the non viability. ENI, in Mozambique, carried out 30 boreholes prior finding the source, whereas in Cyprus it carried out just one.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1796
Q.: We understand that a new type of building amnesty will be coming. Could you please give us some guidelines how will this differ from the previous one?
Allan + Friends

A.: The previous amnesty was found non workable in practice and it failed. We reported repeatedly this to the previous and this Government by appealing to the Ministers of the Interior at the time. The new amnesty as it is proposed by the Government will allow an increased building density up to 60 sq.mts. with no compensation payment. It will also be a simple application procedure with a 3 month mandatory reply. It will also allow partly change of use – e.g. a house to be extended to include an office (such as doctor’s office) for the resident etc. At this point of time dear Allan and friends it is at a preliminary proposal stage with many objections on behalf of the planners, but bearing in mind the forceful and determined character of the present Minister, I have no doubt that it will be approved by one way or another. The amnesty mind you is subject to neighbours not objecting if it affects their own property. Details are awaited, but on the whole it is a good proposal I say.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/36435-td
4.8.2015

No. 1797
Q.: Dear Mr Loizou,
I love your work!
I wonder if you could help with a query. My family and I moved into a house for long-term rent. The owner knew we needed peace and quiet for my work from home and promised she would only rent the house she owns next door to a person or a "quiet couple".
She let the house for 3 months to 4 very noisy Russians who have regular other house guests who make even more noise. She says she has told them to keep the noise down but the problem continues.
When we said we would look for somewhere else she said we were free to but had to move out in 4 days (for her to take advantage of another holiday let). We paid the rent for another month but the situation and noise is making us miserable. What rights do we have as long term tenants and what would you suggest?
Thank you so much,
Paul, Paphos


A.: It depends what your lease agreement states. However since in this case the landlord has agreed for you to go and having paid the one month rent, I would suggest to start looking for something else. Make your investigation now, get an option say for 10 days for the new property and give your notice to the existing landlord. It is a difficult time being summer season to find a property to lease and a better time might be after September (be it that you will have to put up with another couple of months).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/36451-td
5.8.2015

Νο.1798
Q.: We saw the other day at Larnaca beach, a fisherman, who just caught an octopus. He was throwing the octopus on some rocks and we looked upon this with amazement. Is there a purpose for this?
Marin Hadji

A.: The way that I understand it, is that octopus is a tough “meat” to eat. If you beat the fish on the rock 30 times on either side with some force, it becomes frothy which means it is softer in texture. Surely there is an easier way to do it, but this is the way local (mainly amateurs) fishermen do it.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1799
Q.: I note that you have taken sides on the relaxations proposed by this Government and against your own professional body (ETEK – Technical Chamber). Your publications in the Greek press is rather forceful and having said that, are you not concerned that the Chamber might take some sort of sanctions against you?
Linos Stephanou

A.: What I write is my honest belief sustained by my over 40 years experience in the market. I look forward for any sort of “sanctions” as you say against myself. This is all about freedom of speech and if not I have no problem to take whoever is threatening me/my office to the European Court of Justice with myself claiming that it should be abolished or at least curtail their opinion being an advisor to the Government – see details of my position in the Greek press.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


No.1800
Q.: What is your stand on the dogs not being allowed in public parks? Where is one suppose to take his dogs for a walk?
Nina Turner

A.: As you know dear reader we have 4 dogs and now that one of them died (Costis), I am left with the 2 young one (Hambis and Styllis) and another who cannot walk (Yiannis). I have been a dog lover since I was 12 years old and even during my U.K. studies I had an Irish Setter (the most lovely but absolutely crazy dogs). Although I sympathise with your position, we, as Cypriots, do not care to collect the dogs’ droppings etc. This is one of the reasons that notwithstanding the fact that we have our permanent home 10 mts. away from Athalassa park, I have not visited it for the last 10 years (I cannot stand to collect droppings with a glove etc etc).
So, there you are, both sides have their points and I opt for the prohibition of the dogs in the parks until and unless we collect the droppings (let alone keeping one dog on the leash). I opt to take my dogs for walks in agricultural areas with no people around and I say this as a joke, the droppings will be a fertilizer to the fields!!
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1801
Q.: How on earth can we get off the bad economic situation when we read about the Government giving increases to civil servants as well as the banks and in addition to provide bank employees huge benefits in addition (1.6% interest on loan as compared to the ordinary 5% etc). How on earth the Bank of Cyprus that it is now managed by Americans and others, gave in to this?
Loukas Stavrou


A.: The public sector, the Banks and other institutions are one of the causes of the prevailing Cyprus economy.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/36457-td

No.1812
Q.: We are building a private swimming pool and our architect suggested the installation of two pumps, one working and one standby. Since most of our friends have only one pump is there a logical explanation for two (which will cost us over €600)?
Nina Aris

A.: It depends how often and how large is your pool and of course who is to know when a pump breaks down. For large swimming pools used permanently I would go for the double pumps when the holiday home pools (4 m. x 8 m.) one should be okay.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/36471-td
19.8.2015

No.1815
Q.: I am wondering whether I have my facts correct. I am a pensioner from U.K. and considering the Cypriot/Ε.U. law I am allowed free medical/service at the Governmental hospitals. Yet the other day my neighbour, a local, was told that he had to pay being a retiree also – What is the problem?
Franco Neri

A.: I believe that free medical care in Cyprus is given to retirees based on income criteria. So if your income is above a certain budget (one person over €15.400 and two €30.000 – total inclusive) you are not to get a free service. Notwithstanding your income level, you are free to use the hospital services and their charges are very low in comparison to private ones. What I can tell you with confidence is children medicines are free of charge, whereas all first aid at the hospital is free.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/36477-td
21.8.2015

No.1807
Q.: What is the difference between Pafos town and Ktima Mr Loizou?
Polis Poliviou (U.K. Cypriot)

A.: Ktima is the original Pafos town around the original town area. Over the years with the expansion of the town, Pafos (which originally indicated the District) became to be known as Pafos town. It is like Nicosia town, which was originally (near 1950) was named Chora, as Scala (the original town area) became Larnaca town.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1808
Q.: I am aware that the red balls placed near the beach indicate the boundary of the bathers not to exceed the limit and the boaters not to go inside the demarcated area. This is acceptable and it is an international way of demarcation, reducing in this way accidents.
What I am annoyed is the various speed boats and tourist cruise ships to follow the route 50 mts. along the beach creating a backlash of water disturbing the calm sea for the bathers. This is especially noticeable for skiers who in an effort to show off, exercise along the demarcation line. It is upsetting to say the least.
N. Nicolas

A.: I could not agree with you more dear reader. But then, there must be a boundary. Perhaps the bathers boundary should extend for the boaters to use by an added national line of 500 mts. away but then who is to enforce this? In any case the backlash can extend for over 2 kms. In general the distance is 500 mts. Should do it.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1809
Q.: We were staying as a family at a Protaras hotel on the beach. Our sons being absolutely “maniacs” with fishing, got a couple of fishing rods, but notwithstanding their efforts there was absolutely no luck. Is there another way to fish in your country Mr Loizou?
H & Chriss Woulfhan

A.: Having spoken to some friends of mine, the Protaras area has no fish to talk about for fishing, in terms of fishing rods etc. However I was told that the area has what they call “kourkounes” a very small fish ¼ the size of human palm which are plentiful. What you should do is:
(a) Wake up at 5.0 am and place plenty of loose bite.
(b) Get your rods ready at 5.30.
(c) Keep a bucket of sea water to place the catch in.
(d) The whole process could finish by 10.0 am and the later you leave it the less fish you catch.
Local fishermen told me that it is normal to catch around 30 fish in a bad day and more than 70-100 in a good day.
It sounds good because catching a fish is all about – this is the sport, but then who is going to wake up at 5.0 am during holiday?

P.S. Please bear in mind that with a fishing spear gun are not allowed within the bathers area, whereas if outside they should have a floating red ball with a flag to go so that passing boats are warned.

Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1810
Q.: You know Mr Loizou McDonald’s that “big mac” is set at a price which is related to the cost of living/income of the people of the country, hence there are the differences in charges. It is used sometimes as a comparison regarding the cost of living of various towns/countries. Coming to our own souglakia (pitta) charges (on a take away basis) it ranges from €4.50-€6.0 for an ordinary size in Cyprus. Do you think we can use the same index for Cyprus V Cyprus towns and those abroad?
Costas Costa

A.: What an innovative idea dear Cost. It cannot be a comparison on the same basis as McDonald’s which is served on strict and specific specifications as opposed to the souglakia (kebab) alternative. Had it been an international chain on strict specs it might be a comparison. The souglakia alternative charge depends on the sort of meat used (frozen or not) with salad or not, the packing, family business or not, charcoal, grilled or not etc etc. What an interesting idea however.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1811
Q.: What is this? Halloumi is British? What other nonsense we are going to hear about our national cheese?
Ninos Frazer (London Cypriot)

A.: This is big business expected to become even bigger over the near future. It is like Cyprus producing Scotch whiskey. It is crazy but we have to be on the alert. This is one of the advantages of joining the E.U. where we expect a fair play.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/36469-td
19.8.2015

No. 1806
Q.: Dear Mr Loizou,
I read your articles in the press about planning and real estate with interest. I think your comments and articles are always balanced and reflect the views of many well-informed Cypriots and expats living on this island.
Today I have seen something that has left me almost speechless. At Aristo’s Venus Rock development a huge sign has been erected announcing the Bayside Plaza development consisting of a large supermarket, restaurants, coffee shop and medical centre to be built a 100 metres from the sea on a narrow strip of land between the A6 and B6 roads.
This is a beautiful part of the entrance to Ha Potami and I cannot believe the planners are happy to support even more destruction of the Cyprus environment in this part of the island.
There is already a very good supermarket at Mandria two kilometres down the road, a medical centre at Aphrodite Hills, plus coffee shops.
Are the developers still hell bent on covering Cyprus with concrete? Are there not enough supermarkets already for the size of population?

A.: There are all sorts of relaxations given nowadays in order to encourage comprehensive developments. I am not aware of the project that you say. I dare add however that other than its seaside location a supermarket is in need to serve the residents of the two golf projects and others. The word medical center can mean all sorts of things, ranging from a small surgery to clinics etc. So unless I get hold of the details I cannot express my own views on the subject.
I wish to thank you for your comments made regarding our articles etc.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/36478-td
19.8.2015

No.1802
Q.: Dear Mr Aloizou,

I wonder if you can help with advice.

I live in a small village in the Akamas. I see that many of the old walls faced with stone and derelict fields have now had retaining walls built and faced to beautify the village. My understand was that a grant had been given to the village, either from the EU or Government for this work to be done. My Cypriot neighbour had her outside garden wall done in stone facing, but mine was left.

Speaking to the village Mukhtar I asked if my outside garden wall could also be included, as my villa is within the village limit. I was told that if I wanted this he would make the arrangements but I would have to pay for work and materials.

Can you help with advice. Do you know if there was a grant given to villages in the Akamas and if so who would have given the grant so that I may approach the department direct.

Kind regards


Peter Davis


A.: Regarding the grants if any and their parameters, better to speak to the District Officer of Pafos, in charge of the area/village.
Without being 100% sure, I suspect that the local authority will do the walls for aged buildings, runned down etc. In your case if your house is relatively new, their most likely stand is that you should do it. I cannot get a clear answer I am afraid but start with the District Officer and we take it on from there on.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/36473-td
17.8.2015

No.1803
Q.: We have a rather large garden and we use our borehole to water it. The borehole capacity is not such that it can service the whole garden and we fear that at the end of the day the pump will burst. We were told that we could drill another borehole to supplement the existing one. Any alternatives dear Mr Loizou?
Maria Tofass

A.: This is one option but I would consider others as well:
(a) Sectionalized your watering so that each section works for X day, another section another day and so on. You will need timers for this and must be coupled with rerouting the water with valves etc.
It will need an added investment of say €1.000 depending on the size of the garden.
(b) The second option is to have an underground or over ground water tank, so your borehole pumps water into the tank at intervals and once filled you can pump the tank water to the whole garden or again sectionalized watered areas at a similar cost say €1.500.
(c) Drill an added borehole is one solution but consider the mess that a new drill will cause (it depends on the state of your garden – cost around €2.000 which includes the drill, electricity provision and returning the water pipes so that each borehole waters part of the garden.
Make sure on the suitability of the water for your garden in order to ascertain its suitability for the plant you have.
Needless to say that you should check periodically your borehole since over a time it collects sand etc, blocking the water flow – May be this is the first thing you should do prior to other action.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1804
Q.: There are all sorts of local disputes regarding real estate, but I am most disappointed the time that it takes and the costs involved. So is there a legal system in place when justice is not executed speedly?
D. Argyris

A.: I could not agree with you more. The whole system is not satisfactory at all and the loss of faith in our legal system leads to “serious” legal arguments to refer nowadays to the British courts. What a shame for a country which aims to become an international centre for arbitration etc.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.1805
Q.: I know that Cyprus targets foreign civil weddings in particular as part of the tourist product. Yet upon our enquiry to use the Pafos Castle for the event I was asked €500 an exorbitant cost to hire the place for 3 hours.
Helen Papti

A.: I do not share your view that €500 is an exorbitant price bearing in mind what the hotels charge for such events. I have communicated with the Antiquities Department and its point is that the electricity cost is around half of the cost, plus cleaning etc after. Having said that, the Municipality of Pafos looks upon this as a wider promotion of Pafos and is suggesting only €50/event - the other extreme I say. Promoting our ancient monuments and other local attractions has wider benefits for the Cyprus tourist industry and since discussions are under way, I am sure a deal will be concluded with more affordable charges. In addition isolated churches of a unique architecture are most popular in the Protaras area, not only for weddings, but also for christenings etc with a next to nothing cost.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/36470-td
18.8.2015

Νο.1813
Q.: Dear Mr. Loizou,
In 1987 my parents bought a partnership co. that owned only a 4000s.m.land.
They built a house in 1991 thus the company now owned the land plus the house and lived there until 2004 when they sold the company.
My father a few days after the transaction went to the income tax office
to pay the capital gain tax. He deposited the selling contract duly stamped at the relevant office.
After 11 years he received a letter from capital gain tax, equal to an ultimatum, “Pay within a month”.
In the taxation analysis the figures of the acquisition of the company and the cost of the house are stated 50% less than their own evaluation that took place in 1995 for income tax purposes and is still in his personal file.
Additional shock is the interest they demand from 2004.How can they charge interest from 2004, since this is the first time they contacted us and informed us that we owe taxes.
My father visited the Tax office and asked for the company file in order to prove that all documents were deposited on time in 2004. The Officer there said that she did not know where the file was and to his surprise she presented a fresh one (on top it was written “temporary”) that was empty.
My questions Mr Loizou are:
1) Should we seek legal advice?
2) Should we object to the taxes since values are wrong and they know it by now and fight it at the courts if dissatisfied?
3)Since the delay came from their side are they entitled to backdated interest?
4) Since taxation can go seven years back and most companies dispose of their records when this period elapses, how can we justify additional investments to the house that are legally deductible? Is it not a paradox for capital gain tax to go back 12 years contrary to the 7 of income tax?
My parents are both retirees and this is the reason I write to you.
Your views on the problem will be most appreciated.
Kind regards,
(name withheld)



A.: Thank you for your enquiry and I note what you say. The sale referred to the sale of shares of a Co and as such discounts that can be sought for private residences cannot be sought but other discount can. I suggest that you will need the services of an accountant and if no results, then you take legal action. Bear in mind if there are time limits for objection.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/36484-td
20.8.2015

No.1814
Q.: Dear Mr Loizou
We are a complex of flats most of which are holiday flats and several issues concern us -
1. Are the roofs regarded as common areas even though (the 'aeras') is owned by the developer?
2.Every year there is an AGM; the committee do not notify all owners, simply they are satisfied in placing one or two announcements around the complex.
3. The committee never circulate the minutes, the secretary reads the minutes from his book.
4. Emails/letters are not sent out to owners (this has been requested at past meetings) with notification of any thing that is to happen on the complex.
Are these issues legal, are there any pointers you can email me prior to the AGM which will take place on 30/8/2015?
Kind regards
Millie P

ps You can publish this letter, but an email would also be appreciated, to forward to other owners on the complex.


A.: There is no clear answer regarding the roof you refer to. The developer owns the right to develop on the roof and it is my opinion that the roof maintenance is the responsibility of the whole project.
The procedure regarding the invitation for AGM is set out in your general agreement. So you have to check this, it may be that the way they invite the residents is the correct one. If not, an invitation under the door should be okay in my opinion (better if sent also to their permanent address for all three ways i.e. on spot announcement, under the door and direct mail to permanent address). Similarly regarding the minutes. If not sent, anyone can ask and expect to have copies of the minutes (see also your general agreement).
The issues are legal in the sense that they (should) be followed based on the general agreement.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/36487-td
21.8.2015
 

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