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Questions & Answers

September - December 2017

1 September 2017

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No.2887
Q.: Good morning
Wanted to know some information regarding the New rule's on agricultural land? I have been told that the New rule's Which make it very hard to get planning and a permit are going to change to make it easier for some to build. I have a plot of agricultural land which I wanted to sell but think it has devalued in price because of these New rule's . Any information would be appreciated.
Kind regards
Andreas Gavriel

A.: Yes it is very difficult to secure a permit. The Interior Minister announced that new regulations will apply when his deliberation with the local authorities and others are concluded.
So far no news and it is not expected to be soon.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2888
Q.: I just read a press article in the website you wrote this summer related to the future casino in Zakaki village.

As you seem to be aware of this project, I have a question for you, I heard that some temporary casino were supposed to be implemented before the casino resort, notably in Limassol. Do you know if these satellites opened as it was announced during summer ? I don’t think so.

Thanks in advance for your answer.

Best regard,
Michel


A.: Not yet, but the location buildings have been chosen for the purpose in Limassol and Nicosia.

Expected for these two to become operational early next year – now under conversation.

Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/39033-td
16.10.2017

No.2892
Q.: Why buy a plot of land which will bear a 19% additional VAT charge, since we can buy a ready house which includes (if any) 5% VAT? Does it make any sense?
Sohaf Vozalin

A.: The VAT charge can be deducted from any VAT that you pay (if a business). In addition (not clear) you may be allowed to have the property transfer without transfer fees – clarifications pending.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/39038-td
17.10.2017

No.2889
Q.: I have noted that you have changed the newspaper that you address your Q & A column. Any reason for the change?
Christopher Andrew

A.: I have not changed papers as you say, but Cyprus Weekly has shut down. I believe that Sunday Mail is a very good paper to address our readers’ questions.
Sunday Mail and myself are here to address any questions of a general interest regarding real estate matters (be it that we make exemptions on certain other issues).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/39039-td
17.10.2017

No.2890
Q.: We came from the U.K. Mr Loizou. Our apartments are measured in sq.feet, whereas your adds refer to sq. meters. What is the difference?
Joanna Clark

A.: Divide the sq.feet by 10.76 and you will come to the square meters dear Joanna.
Please note that what we measure here is the external building area of the unit (not including the common areas) but it includes covered verandahs.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/39040-td
17.10.2017

No.2891
Q.: VAT on land Mr Loizou. Any more news?
Jimmy Clark

A.: It is coming my dear reader on January 2018. VAT will be applied to development land, as well and for rents that refer to commercial buildings (i.e. offices, shops etc).
It is a bid (to say the least) of a mess and no one can assure you where the VAT will apply.
Bearing in mind that VAT is tax deductible on certain occasions, this should not affect business premises.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/39041-td
17.10.2017

Q.: 2893
Dear Mr Aloizou,
I will be most grateful for your advice in the following matter.
I live in a beautiful quiet village near Limassol, surrounded by vineyards.
My home has been paradise for 12 years until last week.
The owner of land next to mine began to build a "shed"
This building is to be 5m x 3m x 2.5m height and is situated right up against my boundary fence.
I understood in Cyprus that there always had to be a 3metre space left between any building and the boundary line.
My neighbour says this rule does not apply to a "shed:"
Please please can you tell me is this correct and when is a shed a shed?
Also is a Building Permit required for such a construction - my neighbour says No.
This new building totally blocks out my view of the lovely mountains which I have come to love.
Your help and advice will be very much appreciated.
With very best wishes and hoping for your valued reply,
Helen Epaminondas

A.: Your neighbour is correct if it is a shed, garage, otherwise etc. it can reach the boundary. Whatever the building must have a permit mind you.
Difficult to set out the use/shed. It is my understanding that it must be open ended but as I say it will depend on the permit.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/39058-td
23.10.2017

Νο.2894
Q.: I understand that new restrictions will be introduced regarding the visa/ passports measure. Are you not worried that if this happens the market which has this source of demand will become another bubble and a disaster for such a type of investment?
S. Cleon

A.: I agree with you if it happens but I doubt it. It seems that we have overdone it, with whole page adds, airport adds, shop window adds etc and this is a provocation. It seems that the Government will introduce a strict advertising code regarding this matter and as such it will affect the market to a very small extent. In order to become a bubble the measures must be very strict (e.g. learning the language, staying here for 2-3 years, no dependents allowed etc). We will have to wait and see, but yes it is worrying and it needs correction.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2895
Q.: How is Ayia Napa marina doing Mr Loizou? It seems that it is progressing at a slow pace. Another success story like that of Limassol you think?
B. Brown

A.: It is doing well with approximately 20% of the project being sold, whereas the time schedule is in accord with the development program.
It is early days dear reader and a lot of work needs to be done before the building start showing. Sales prices are at 50% of that of the Limassol marina so this is an attraction by itself, but, as most projects, selling off plan have a slow start.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou





No.2896
Q.: We had an interest by a Lebanese investor recently enquiring to buy a commercial building we have. He insists that a fair return for Cyprus coming from real estate is 6% - We find this very high not likely to be attained in the Cyprus real estate market.
Are we mistaken Mr Loizou?
Louk & Evanthis

A.: During the year 2013 (Bail in) a return of 6%-7% was considered to be reasonable. Since then returns for commercial buildings show a downward trend and on average it is nowadays 4½%-5% and going down. Tell your prospective buyer to examine the deposit rates (locally and abroad) which are around 1% in order for him to get an overall comparative return.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2897
Q.: I am wondering how this new skyscrapers will affect the area they are developed since they seem to affect whole neighborhoods in terms of air/view/light. How can they get away with it? I adopt that these buildings have a building permit, but then has anyone ask the neighborhood residents?
Mike Melios

A.: If I am to give one example the Oval Building with approximately 30 storey height and the neighboring buildings of 2-4 storey, it is indeed shocking. I paid a visit to the immediate neighborhood and I did not like it. It gave me a claustrophobic feeling. Having spoken to a neighbor I was told that at the stage of the building permit the neighborhood was asked if it objects - They said yes but then the building is there. What is worrying dear reader is the increasing access problem that such high density projects will create. I hate to predict but the seaside road will accommodate in 3-4 years another 400 apartments (which will add on an already congested road).

3/39063-td
25.10.2016

No.2898
Q.: I have read your article regarding the “Russian Party”. Do I understand that you are against it?
Michael Murafev

A.: I do not think you understood the article dear Michael. I am against it in the way that it has been proposed and I have suggested how to go about it. I could not be more clear than that.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/39083-td
31.10.2017

No.2899
Q.: We have placed an insulation on our flat roof (apartment building). It lasted for 8 years without problems. Now we need to replace it at a cost of €6.000. What is the normal effective life of such an insulation Mr Loizou?
Caren Gis – Limassol

A.: Normally it is around to 8-10 years but this provided that no equipment is placed improperly on the roof (no base) and no interference by the various traders regarding the placing an antenna, satellite etc, which usually pierces the insulation (the latter is a huge problem which are caused by contractors on behalf of the owners without due care).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2900
Q.: Bearing in mind the increasing number of thefts, do you recommend that we install a security system in our apartment considering that in addition to the installation cost of €600 we need to pay around €60 p.m. as maintenance (I presume to be under the security watch etc).
Nina Malas

A.: Absolutely. It is not only a matter of losing one’s personal property, but the damaged caused and the psychological effects in addition.
In terms of security dear reader make sure that you have also a camera at the entrance, automatic lights and a video phone. Regrettably “times are changing|” as Bob Dillan said and we have to follow these times in order to respond. Yes it costs but there you are I am afraid.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou




No.2901
Q.: I am a tourist in this country dear editor but while bathing with our children at Protaras area within the bathers’ perimeter (marked as such by the red balls) we noted a couple of people fishing with a spear gun. Is this allowed?
Vanessa Williams

A.: Not at all. It is forbidden but then to whom can one turn during this bathing time. Perhaps you could report it to the life guards on spot.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2902
Q.: Charcoal cooking could be cancerous, I read in a recent report from the U.S.A. So shall we give up our sougla ceremony?
Stelios P.

A.: I don’t think so, but then I am not a doctor. What I think the report said is that do not blow the ash on the charcoal while the sougla is on top, since the ash from the charcoal will settle on the meat – This is what is dangerous, the ash.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/39105-td
8.11.2017

Νο.2903
Q.: Hello,
I am just making my search. I want to know what is the full procedure of registering a company name and how much will the procedure cost and also how long will it take. Finally, I would like to know if we need to register the company locally before worldwide or we could go ahead and register the company worldwide??
Please and Thanks.
Dina Husseini

A.: You must apply to an accountant for the purpose. Regrettably this does not fall within our field.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/39115-td
8.11.2017

No.2904
Q.: I was charged a total of €3700 for an agreement in principle by a well known Paphos law firm (recommended by my estate agent) they then wanted another €2500 to complete the sale and another €5000 for title deeds, I said no and went to another lawyer who said they would do all the work for €500 but I had to pay the bill for work done so far which was €3700. Ιs there anything I can do about compensation apart from naming and shaming the two parties?
Regards
John,Pafos


A.: Without taking sides you can report the matter to the Law Society and expect an investigation from their part.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/39119-td
10.11.2017

No.2905
Q.: Dear Mr Loizou

We have an apartment on a well-established holiday complex in the District of Larnaka. Please can you advise me?

Early last year renovations were completed to which each owner had contributed money towards this and in addition money were paid out of the Service Charge account.
The quote presented was for 48000euros and the final amount paid was 64000euros, hence the use of money from the Service Charge account.

The Management Committee at the time did not present the actual quotes obtained to the owners, simply announcing the one they had chosen, (not being the cheapest or the dearest).

When the newly appointed Committee (for 2016/2017) took over, it was agreed that amongst other things –

> Work was of extremely poor quality, with many faults apparent to the naked eye.
> Paint used was a cheaper product than the one the quote presented to the owners stated.
An ongoing complaint that was made by me and others throughout the time it took for the renovations to be carried out.
> Neither the company appointed to carry out the renovations nor the Committee (2015/2016) signed a contract for the works, even though one had been prepared and appears in the Committee files.
> It was discovered that the civil engineer has been paid 1000euros, with no invoice or receipt received, nor has a chemical report he claimed he has carried out been received from him.

The 2016/17 Committee obtained a detailed report from ETEK with regards to the work. The report is a very damming report.

An E.G.M. (2017) was called to ask the owners if they were prepared to take the renovation company, the civil engineer and/or the committee (2015/16) who had handled the matter to court to obtain compensation to cover the cost of re-doing the renovations. The only outcome of this meeting was that a member of the Committee (2015/16) would contact the renovation company to carry out the repairs. NOTHING has happened; they now deny that this was agreed.

As you know it is very difficult to bring together all the owners, and the majority do not want to get involved. Please can you give me some advice as to how we can take this problem forward to a satisfactory conclusion for all the owners?



A response from your good self would be very much appreciated and I wait in anticipation. It would be appreciated if you could respond in writing preferably by email so that I can share your response with the owners.

Yours sincerely

J.P.

A.: A most difficult situation dear reader. It is more a matter of a wrong attitude that we have in this country for common expenses rather than otherwise.
You have the option to take legal action against the committee and/or the contractor but you do appreciate the cost and time if the committee is not responding – You will have to prove this yourself and expect to be compensated afterwards if you win the case. A mess indeed and what is shameful for common expenses is the law which is a disaster and a joke.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/39122-td
13.11.2017

No.2907
Q.: I understand that VAT will be introduced on 2/1/2018 which includes rentals for business purposes. Will this apply to residential rentals as well?
Joe Khan

A.: This new law is most confusing and I cannot claim that I understand it and we are asking each other (in the profession) what is really charged. We are waiting for regulations and clarifications by the VAT department so whatever I say do not take it as being 100% correct. Residential properties (flats/houses) rentals are not included in the VAT category since is not a business. However students halls, villa to let etc where business is carried out will there be VAT charged? If this is the case and with the tenants not been able to claim it back, you appreciated the rental increase and a consequential overpricing of the “rents”. We will have to wait and see dear Joe.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2908
Q.: We have at long last our titles being issued. We bought an apartment in a project where the units were sold at similar prices around €150.000. Yet now we went for transfer, the Lands Offices are charging us on €190.000. We are told that we can object and provide a duly reasoned valuation by a qualified valuer and the Lands Office will examine it.
What shall we do Mr Loizou? Shall we go down the objection route?
Maria Kappa

A.: It happens quite often and on many occasions. In this case you will be charged around ±€1.600 more. You have to compare this added cost to what it will cost you in terms of valuation fees (say €350/€400) and if you end up in court the legal fees. Up to you to see if it is worth it, but I do appreciate your predicament since it happened to me and I have opted to pay the unreasonable extra charge having awaited for my own title issue for 8 years. I had not the stamina and patience to disputed this extra charge, notwithstanding that I was 100% correct.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2909
Q.: On my title there is a clause that I could use the common pool. Yet when we started to use it, the developer asked for entrance fee of €5/time. What sort of right is this if I have to pay in addition?
Lena X.

A.: It depends what sort of a set up is there. If the pool cost/maintenance etc are included in the common expenses, you do not have to pay. But if not, you should pay for the entrance fee in the sense that if others do not use the pool and you use it, it is a “reasonable” charge.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2910
Q.: We are tenants and when we left the place we left the apartment key on the letter box – per our agreement. The landlord could not find the key, it was a security lock and he is asking us for €150 for replacement. We do not think this is reasonable. Do you agree Mr Loizou?
Martha & Jonathan

A.: What can I say. The key was lost but I dare say it was your duty to deliver the keys to the landlord. It is more of a legal question I must say, but in my own opinion you should bear the added cost or at least ½ of the total. Leaving the key in an “open” letter box is not prudent.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
3/39123-td
16.11.2017

No.2906
Q.: Hi,
I do have a question regarding noise control. I have a neighbour upstairs which vacuums every morning at 6:30 to 7:30 .every morning, including Sundays. the walls are really thick and the sensation is that she vacuums in the same room I am. Needless to say that I did not have a decent sleep for 2-3 weeks now or that I didn’t wake up properly...and it is affecting my work performance and my focus ...I recorded some of the days when she was banging on the floor..
She said it is her personal property therefore she does not care about the noise created
Can you please advise me?
R.Ilie

A.: Your neighbour is creating a nuisance. You can ask an advocate to send her a letter of warning as a start and/or report to the Committee (if any). Depending on her reaction you can take it on from there.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/39126
16.11.2017

No.2912
Q.: We are building a house dear Mr Loizou. The architect is insisting that we should provide a cellar to keep our wines (told him that we like the wines etc) in good health. To build a wine cellar will cost us something like €6.000 (based on the architect’s estimate) plus the a/c to keep the wines at a constant temperature etc. What do you think Mr Loizou?
Hanna & Andrew

A.: My dear readers unless you wish to collect wines for maturity, this is not on. I am a wine drinker myself and I choose the wines I like from the various wine stores that are abundant. I bought a wine refrigerator which can accommodate 150 bottles for €800. No extra building etc and I have placed it in the garage store. Save on the building cost and buy better quality wines!!
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2913
Q.: We have been trying and trying to lease an apartment, but we have two small dogs. All properties we found the owners refused to let their units because of the dogs. Is this normal in Cyprus?
Nayis & Lenia (Sweden)

A.: Opt for a house dear readers as opposed to an apartment (at least ground floor apartment). This is not a dog/animal loving country I must say. I have two Alsatians myself but I could not dream to let an apartment, only a house.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/39145-td
21.11.2017

No.2911
Q.: Dear Mr. Loizou,

We have recently purchased a property in Parekklisia, which cover about 8000 square meters. The main property is within about 3000 sq. meters behind a fence, but the other land does not have a physical boundary. How do we go about determining where the actual boundary is in order to prevent any future disputes, and once that is done, can we erect a simple fence around it without requiring planning approval.
Many thanks,
G. Heimann


A.:Apply to the Lands Office to determine your boundary/or to a private land surveyor to do the same. You will require a planning permit for the fence, but this is more of a routine matter.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/39147-td
21.11.2017

No.2914
Q.: I am a non-EU citizen. Can I buy resale property instead of new development in Cyprus and getting temporary residence permit? Am I able to simply invest in vacant land without any build on?
Thank you
Zhebei Song


A.: Yes you can buy resale property and get the residence permit subject to the general requirements as set out. Vacant land cannot form part of a visa requirement. The purchase of a residency of at least €300.000 is the minimum.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/39175-td
4.12.2017

No.2915
Q.: We have a house in a wooded area and we got a quotation for an all risks insurance. Reading your previous articles on the subject, you suggest that we should take out a bush fire insurance. We asked for it but the insurance Co placed a condition that 6 meters outside our plot boundary should be kept cleaned of any vegetation. How can we do this Mr Loizou since the adjacent properties do not belong to us?
Jess & Nanny K.

A.: Well done for reading our articles dear readers. Ask the Co to take out this condition which might cost you around ±€10 p. year addition.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2916
Q.: We were told by the District Officer that we cannot build on a plot of land, be it residential land, since the abutting road is less than 4.0 mts. wide – be it that along the same road there are several other houses developed. Is this logical and are we discriminated Mr Loizou?
Haris & Paula

A.: The law has changed recently I am afraid and we have this sort of situation. You are not discriminated dear readers, but you might have a good case to discuss the access limitation with the District Office through your architect. It is an upsetting problem I must say. This limitation refers to fields mind you and not for building plots.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou





No.2917
Q.: We are told that VAT is charged on residences at the moment at 19% on the purchase price. This is a lot, yet we understand that there are instances that only 5% is charged. What is the difference of the two?
Nexia & George

A.: The 5% applies to permanent (and only) residence in Cyprus. The 5% is interpreted quite liberally which includes holiday homes (obviously not a permanent residence for foreign people). There is a number of loopholes but the gist is what I record. The 5% or 19% VAT depends also on the house size etc (see our previous articles on the subject).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2918
Q.: We cannot understand why we should pay sewage tax for a plot of land undeveloped and even worse there is no sewage in our area and nobody knows when and if it will happen. Any logic please?
Pambos Ioannou

A.: No logic at all other than the authority wishes to charge future users beforehand in order to collect enough funds to carry out the project of sewage. Regrettably and notwithstanding that I agree with you, this state of affairs has been upheld by the local courts I am afraid.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/39177-td
5.12.2017

No.2919
Q.: The 50% discount on transfer fees that we have now is it going to last for ever or is there a time limit Mr Loizou.
A & G Hannock

A.: At this point of time there is no time limit and I doubt that the full transfer fees will be introduced in the near future.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2920
Q.: You say in your publications that the Limassol seaside road will accommodate another 400 apartments. What I was amazed to read from others is that all these projects have carried out a study regarding the traffic impact and environmental repercussions etc and all reports that they are okay. What do you think, it does not make sense to me.
Ana Charalambous

A.: It seems that, based on my information, each project is examined on an individual basis not taking into account the total number of developments – Crazy is it not? I am addressing a letter on this to the Ministry of the Interior since it is so obvious as is – the seaside road cannot accommodate another 400 units (and increasing).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2921
Q.: What is this all about Mr Loizou? The Lands Office valued Governmental land for debt exchange at an X value and the Central Bank halved this. So are we going from now on to believe the extra transfer fees that the Lands Office is charging us for transfer, notwithstanding our declared value on the sales contract?
Adonis Pavlou

A.: I have objected many times on this and I encourage the buyers who are called upon to pay the extra charge to object, but then you must take into account the time element, legal and valuers fees. If it is around €1.000 the difference, I will not bother, notwithstanding that the Lands Office is out to get more taxes – shocking!!
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2922
Q.: We read in the press that yet another small beach is widened to accommodate more bathers at Paralimni area. Is there no limit to it and why the Mayor and the local council is not prosecuted?
Harry & others

A.: I do not necessarily share your views dear readers. The Paralimni area has indeed small sandy beaches and the Municipality wants to “improve” them, so that more bathers can enjoy the beach and at the same time they provide access, installations for w.cs./changing rooms and parking. The beaches cannot be for the exclusive use of some be it that the existing environment as is, is spoiled (not the beach as is mind you). My own personal experience goes in favor of the Municipality I am afraid.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
No.2923
Q.: I noted what you say about the Russian political party and I disagree. Cyprus needs new friends and not exclude those who love this island that are of a foreign nationality.
M. Bozarof

A.: I suggest that you study my writings again. I am of the opinion that this “party” is going the wrong way about it. I have suggested the creation of a pressure group rather than a political party as such, on the model of the U.S and U.K. residents of other origin.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
No.2924
Q.: Mykonos and Kato Pafos. I ask you Mr Loizou that we have a shop at Mykonos and other Greek islands and we pay an x amount of rent. We visited recently the Kato Pafos seaside road and we realize that the rents are similar if not more than that of Mykonos. As you are aware Mykonos attracts the big spenders/high budgets and it does not make sense why Possidon Avenue should be as expensive.
Costas Larris (Greece)

A.: Mykonos my dear friend is what you say is. It operates 3-5 months a year and then everything closes down, whereas Possidon avenue has tourists for 12 months. In addition all the new touristic and other projects that under way the residents will end up at some point of time at the coastal line/Possidon avenue. So I am not surprised on the comparison.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou




3/39207-td
19.12.2017

Νο.2925
Q.: Back a few years ago you advertised over Xmas for the sale of apartments with a car/Xmas gift to go. Any success?

A.: In the year 2007 we thought of introducing a Xmas gift to go with the sale of apartments. The gift was a Japanese car (used) which we thought that it would have been an added attraction.
Alas, the experiment did not work and there was not even interest to enquire about the age/quality etc of the car. So here you are, some Xmas presents are not appreciated!!
Merry Xmas to everybody.
Regards
A.P. Loizou

No.2926
Q.: We have a written contract regarding a rental agreement with the landlord. At some point of time we have agreed to reduce the rent but after a couple of months the landlord is asking us to revert to the original rental level. What does the law says on this Mr Loizou?
Carlile & Joanna

A.: A written contract requires a written agreement for alteration. If not you may be in trouble unless you can provide some sort of written evidence to the contrary – e.g. emails etc.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/39220-td
27.12.2017

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