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.
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
So far no news and it is not expected to be soon.
Q.: I just read a press article in the website you
wrote this summer related to the future casino in
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.
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.
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
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.
Q.: I have noted that you have changed the newspaper
that you address your Q & A column. Any reason for
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).
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?
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.
Q.: VAT on land Mr Loizou. Any more news?
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
Dear Mr Aloizou,
I will be most grateful for your advice in the
I live in a beautiful quiet village near Limassol,
surrounded by vineyards.
My home has been paradise for 12 years until last
The owner of land next to mine began to build a
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
My neighbour says this rule does not apply to a
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
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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?
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).
Q.: I have read your article regarding the “Russian
Party”. Do I understand that you are against it?
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.
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
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).
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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
Please and Thanks.
A.: You must apply to an accountant for the purpose.
Regrettably this does not fall within our field.
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
A.: Without taking sides you can report the matter
to the Law Society and expect an investigation from
Q.: Dear Mr Loizou
We have an apartment on a well-established holiday
complex in the District of Larnaka. Please can you
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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
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
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!!
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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).
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?
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.
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.
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
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).
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
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!!
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.
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
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
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.
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
Merry Xmas to everybody.
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.