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Questions & Answers

November 2016 - March 2017

1November 2016

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No.2087
Q.: Dear Mr Loizou

We have followed your column with interest for many years now, and we sincerely hope that you will be able to cast some light on how the following problem might be resolved.
Firstly, we are lucky. Our small development has relatively minor problems compared with others: a small piece of road to be constructed, and a green area. Nevertheless, this is going to cost €66,285 inc VAT for the road and €5,236 for the green area according to our local municipality, a total of €71,521. If the builder will not pay, and the 6 owners cannot/will not pay, the only way to get title deeds is to accept them with a memo. This, we are told, will mean that we will not then be able to sell our properties (although we can apparently leave them to children or close relatives, which is beside the point).
Our lawyer claims that this will not be a problem but has not told us why it won’t be a problem. On the basis that we can still presumably sell our house with no title deeds, we have not yet applied for them but that is worrying us. Obviously, we are one of many in this situation, and others far worse; we would all, I am sure, be very appreciative of any information you can give on this subject.

Many thanks and kind regards

C & D Twining


A.: I do not share your lawyer’s view that it is not a problem. A title with a note on it, its worth far less than otherwise (since no sale can be effected), let along the possibility of securing a mortgage etc. It affects its value and some potential buyers will not touch these properties even with a large discount.
My opinion is that having a clean title is paramount. If you decide to solve the problem you can contribute the €71.000 required by equal share of ±€11.800/each. This is less than the reduction of value. This is the theory since some people may not have the available funds to cover the expense and then it does become a problem. You can claim your cost against the developer (through legal means etc) and provided he has the assets to cover your costs. I have no easy solution I am afraid dear readers. If the project is mortgaged for the benefit of a financier, the financiers may help with the funding since the issue of the clean titles will help the security value and the owners to undertake an individual repayment scheme (worth trying). If your homes are worth say €200.000 each, the loss of value is more than €40.000 as an indicative number. So arithmetically it will benefit you to pay the cost, but as I have said, but this is the arithmetic part only.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/37890-td
24.10.2016

No.2089
Q.: I am prompted to write to you by our shared fellowship of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and by your recent article “Who Governs Cyprus”. I am not sure how au fait you are with the geological problems in Pissouri and so this letter sets out a brief description of the problems and the efforts made by homeowners to achieve an equitable solution.
You may be under the impression that the geological phenomena in Pissouri causing the destruction of homes in the Limnes area were dealt with by the Minister of the Interior following a meeting of the House Committee on 19 November 2015 (reported in the Cyprus Mail the following day). On that date the Minister announced in a televised press conference that the Government accepted responsibility for “the mess in Pissouri” and he allocated between 20 and 50 million euros for remedial works. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
The Minister’s initiative has been blocked by Limassol District Administration because (it is believed) the Minister “failed to obtain permission” from the District Engineer prior to the televised announcement. Similarly, the President’s interest in an island-wide solution (based on a Spanish Government funding model) has been blocked or shelved or ignored by the Director General of the Ministry of Interior.
In 2001 the Anexartisias area of Pissouri suffered a significant landslide of 80,000 cubic meters caused by uncontrolled ground water surcharging the natural aquifer. The surcharge was brought about by a plentiful supply of piped water and by permitted development around the shoulders of the village. The landslide caused the destruction of a main public road and three houses and required the expenditure of over 6 million euros on major stabilisation works. Notwithstanding the destabilising effect of uncontrolled excess ground water, building consent was given for the construction of 1600 homes.
In 2012, shortly after completion of the stabilisation works in Anexartisias, land-slippage started to occur in the immediately adjacent area of Limnes. A few homes began to exhibit some damage. However, in the spring of 2015 damage became more widespread and more homes suffered serious and extensive damage. The damaged homes (all with all requisite building consents) were of different foundation designs, designed by different engineers, built at different times by different builders on different sites. Until 2015 homes had stood for over 25 years without damage notwithstanding two significant earthquakes and cycles of adverse weather.
Between spring of 2015 and 2016 damage accelerated in many homes and two have been declared by the District Administration to be unfit for human habitation – thereby depriving three elderly residents of both their homes and their security. Three more homes are in an advanced state of damage and are likely to be declared soon to be unfit for habitation. Other homes inevitably will follow.
At present about 20 homes are damaged to varying but significant degrees. In addition, there is widespread damage to public roads and footpaths and frequent breakages of village water mains.
Four firms of Engineers have separately attributed the cause of damage to homes in Limnes to geological phenomena and uncontrolled ground water. A Chartered Valuation Surveyor, acting on instructions from the Bank of Cyprus, valued a house mortgaged for E265,000 at a net agricultural land value of E7,000 not because of structural damage to the house (at the time there was none) but because of “geological problems in Pissouri”. This has caused substantial damage to the property market in Pissouri.
A fifth Structural Engineer independently selected and appointed by ETEK reported that in his opinion “building consent should not have been given by the responsible authorities”. He also reported that any remedial works may be ineffectual.
In July 2015 a group of both Cypriot and ex-patriot home owners (of whom I am one) came together to form The Pissouri Housing Initiative Group (PHIG). PHIG assembled evidence and with the assistance of sympathetic political figures PHIG was twice invited to appear before the House Committee for the Ministry of the Interior. In November 2015 it was believed that the representations had been accepted by the Minister but, as described above, the Minister’s good intentions have been blocked by Officials.
It is improbable that any scheme of remedial works to homes and stabilisation works will be cost effective. PHIG therefore submitted a proposal to The President by which the State would act as “insurer of last resort” and acquire damaged homes at present equivalent values and demolish them. Limnes then to become a “green” or agricultural area not requiring major works. It was proposed by PHIG that the “insurer of last resort” insurance fund established by the State should be financed by a levy on all household insurance premiums. This is an established system operated by the Spanish Government to protect the property market in Spain from uninsurable losses due to geological phenomena.
Unless action is taken promptly more lives will be ruined and the property market in Pissouri will be irreparably damaged. And because of the nature of markets the damage will not be confined to Pissouri. The contamination will spread and affect property values in other areas. Adverse international publicity will damage the economy of Cyprus.
Almost a year has passed since the Minister’s statement and nothing has been done (other than evict elderly residents from their homes). To add insult to injury, Officials of the Ministry of the Interior will not speak to owners of damaged homes because they had the temerity to appeal for help to the President, the Minister and The House of Representatives. Who does govern Cyprus?
A.Walker


A.: I note what you say in your above letter and my sympathy goes out to all those who have suffered either by local professionals, builders blunders and Governmental indifference.
If you want to be listened to and follow what you have described, I suggest that the group gets together, sets up a fund (say €2.000-€3.000) and take legal action against the Government.
What you need is a knowledgeable advocate but negotiate his fees ahead.
Yes I know that legal action will take some time and cost, but I have the opinion that the Government will listen to you if a law suit is undertaken.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/37891-td
26.10.2016

Νο.2088
Q.: What is this I hear dear Mr Loizou? The Columbia hotels at Pissouri beach will be closed for 18 months. Any problem you think because the hotels are the lifeline of the Pissouri area.
Nic Tellas

A.: Yes, I understand that the two Columbia Hotels will be closed for a period of a year or so for renovation. The local restaurant waitress told me that the hotels will become into both a 5 star resort. We will have to wait and see for the new hotels next year, but we hope for a further upgrading to come. A couple of other touristic establishments will also undergo improvements during the next year.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/37894-td
24.10.2016

No.2090
Q.: I have a house for sale and the property is mortgaged and for which as a buyer I got a mortgage release.
I have now found a buyer and I have asked the Bank for the release to be transferred on the name of the new buyer, yet the Bank charged me €2.000 for the purpose, notwithstanding the fact that the sale on my part was a transfer of my rights under the contract. I find this unreasonable and I seek your advice Mr Loizou.
M & K

A.: I think it is an unreasonable charge and the Bank should not charge you for this. The assignment of rights includes your mortgage release and I would have not accepted this extra charge.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2091
Q.: We have a fig tree at the end of our garden, an agricultural plot. The other day some person came to the end of the garden and started picking the figs. Upon confronting him he said that it was him who planted the tree 20 years ago and had every right to big the fruit. Is there such a law Mr Loizou?
G. Geranis

A.: What a load of rubbish dear George. There is no such a law and in addition of trespassing in your property he was “thieving” the produce. Get his name/car number and report it to the police should such an event occurs again. This is not Greece!
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2092
Q.: We live in an apartment block and each unit has its own dedicated parking. Yet one of the residents parks in our spot and despite our numerous representations he provides all sorts of excuses why he is “allowed” to use our own. Can we do something to stop this character from parking on our own?
Nelia Mamas

A.: I suggest you ask the administrative committee to make representations to him and if no response, send an advocate’s letter (will cost you €100) warning him of loss of your parking and asking for compensation of say €50 p.m. This ought to bring him to his senses. If not, secure a court order (you must take legal action) which will cost you around €700). Yes it will cost, but at least you can use your own parking.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2093
Q.: I am very worried with the new cars with all the various electronic gadgets to go, that upon an accident they get be blocked. We had such an experience, something which we do not wish to have others. What does one do in such occasions?
Marios Mallinos

A.: I keep in my car a small knife for such an event in order to cut loose the seat belts. On a recent occasion where after the doors could not open I thought of having a small axe(!!!) so that I can break the glass and get out. I was advised not to have it as being an offensive weapon and the police might not appreciate my reasoning. Keep your fingers crossed dear reader that such an event will not happen, but then if it does, keep calm and try to remember where the knife is!!
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/37908-td
1.11.2016

No.2094
Q.: We have a self-contained project with a direct access to the beach. Yet people, although the project is fenced, walk through it, as if they have a right to do so. What shall we do Mr Loizou?
Nelly & neighbors

A.:
• First of all place a gate and not a bar on the entrance.
• Place a sign that this is private property.
• Place an automatic sensor for light at the entrance (be it it works during the evening).
• Place a camera on the gate to see who are violating your property.
The above might cost you say if 20 units around €250/each. But then the intruders will not affect your privacy and the value of your property.
In a project that I came to note, various passers-by go through some of the houses yard and the residents complained and the intruders reply “what is your problem”?
The problem will become bigger as your project remains unchecked.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/37919-td
2.11.2016

No.2095
Q.: I have just won a law suit against a third party. The judgement specifies that costs are to be covered by the other party. However, my own advocate insists that I should pay for his own fees and then (and if) to collect the same from my opponent.
Is this the normal practice?
Nick

A.: Regrettably yes this is how it goes.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2097
Q.: Upon my return to Cyprus and much to my amazement I have noted yet another shopping mall west of Nicosia, having a retail area almost double than the Mall of Cyprus. Don’t investors wish that there are so many clients since My Mall was taken over by the Shacolas Group to a large extent?
Louis – U.K.

A.: I wonder myself as to the viability of another project. But then what do I know. Better to ask the new financiers of the project, notwithstanding that the developer has a “good name and performance”.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2096
Q.: We have a plot of land through which, as it is shown on the site plan, it is bisected by a line (told that this is a “dry stream”). On site there is no such a thing neither on title. We are now asked to buy this extent which will cost us approximately €5.000. We found this most unreasonable since it is not there and thus we have nothing to buy.
Margaret & Andrew

A.: Regrettably this is how it goes dear readers. The dry stream has a certain extent, which, upon your purchase should be added on the title extent of the plot (thus increasing your plot extent). In most occasions the Lands Office does not use the special value that this has for you. At least this is something.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2098
Q.: What is this amendment about dear Mr Loizou regarding the VAT for the main residence which bears a 5% VAT instead of the 19%?
Marios Dino

A.: From what I have understood is that a person who buys a property bearing the 5% VAT, can buy another with the same 5% rate if he does so after a period of 10 years from the initial/first purchase. If earlier than the 10 years he must pay back the analogy of the discount received. See required parameters however regarding maximum sq.m. of house etc.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2099
Q.: I have noted your reply to a reader regarding small chips of floor ceramic tiles came off and that the reader could not find tiles similar color locally or abroad.
Permit me to suggest the following:
• There is a Co which produces paint in all sorts of colours for the purpose.
• Mix this with the joining paste up to the point that the desired color is achieved.
• Apply this on the chipped surface (small area mind you not suitable for large areas).
• Next to nothing cost but it will need a quality tiler. It should do it.
Chrysanthos Londos (Architect)

A.: Thank you Chrysanthos and I am passing your idea to the reader. I will await the results, to be duly reported in this column for everybody to note, since it is a major problem for many.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2100
Q.: You are suggesting in your writings the use of ceiling fans and fly screens for private houses. Don’t you think this is outdated by today’s standards? These were used back in the 1950’s and without the a/c units etc. I do not think that it is presently appropriate.
Emil Kondis

A.: I disagree. The use of both is both economical (fans) and a necessity (fly screens). The a/c is better but what we need is air to flow and not necessarily colder air (the fans are not a substitute to the a/c). We use both in our holiday home and we wouldn’t change them in the world (we also have a/c used occasionally based on humidity etc). Try it dear reader and let’s talk again.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
No.2101
Q.: I note what you say about cracks in the boundary wall and your suggestion as an alternative to demolition. Surely if the wall is tilting this is not a solution dear Mr Loizou.
Mark Cangas

A.: I was referring to cracks on the boundary wall and not for those which are tilting. Take out the sprits first at the affected area, fill the cracks with mastic and place on top a special plastic net which will accept the sprits on top. Use the services of your civil engineer mind you in order to ascertain the cause. For a wall which is 120 mts (and on average 1½ meters height) the demolition and replacement amounted to €18.000 and with my own suggestion it was reduced to €4.200. Just to show you at times the economy that one household may achieve.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2102
Q.: Could you not participate in our animals societies (dogs and cats) through your articles? This, in order to increase the awareness of the public and the efforts by the animal loving groups?
Nayia & Lenos

A.: I can and I do. As you know, since the age of 9 years old I always had a dog and even today I have two. I repeat my experience that this country is not a loving animal country and the last photo I came to see of a dead rabbit duly placed in his mouth a lighted cigarette is most revolting. We are getting better due to the animal loving groups and to this end we must thank mainly the foreign residents.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/37935-td
8.11.2016

No.2103
Q.: So Mr Loizou what is your expert opinion if a solution is found to the Cyprus problem regarding real estate?
Nicos X.

A.: In order to address this dear Nicos it will depend on the terms of the solution and having said that, it will be subjective.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2104
Q.: Your article on the new high rise buildings and lack of town planning policy is well noted. I wish you all the best in your efforts to the various ideas suggested on the subject.
Nicos-Mike

A.: Thank you Nicos but the main body to suggest new ideas ETEK, which is nowhere to be found I am afraid. A body (Technical Chamber) which at times appears to offer very little to the to the building industry, partly because the Council is mostly managed by Governmental employees.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2105
Q.: I wish more people visit your website (press) regarding your articles. We read what you publish in this paper, but, yet, your site host so many matters that I am surprised by the sphere of your work. A wealth of information on all subjects.
N. Bozarof


A.: Thank you for the encouragement dear Mr Bozarof.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/37940-td
10.11.2016

No.2106
Q.: I understand that under the prevailing policy of the EAC the electricity bill for storage heaters will increase by 42%. I ask you Mr Loizou since when we installed the N. storage heaters it was based on a certain price policy. Why now I am called upon to pay 42% more since at the time the EAC was encouraging the people to use this alternative form of heating.
Ninos Carr

A.: I agree with you absolutely. This should apply for new installations and not for those existing. I have a vested interest mind you since our home at Platres has N.St.H. With the cost of electricity it might pay to use a hotel!! N.St. Heaters must preheat a day or so before operation and still work one day after leaving the place. A cause for legal action for misleading information by the public authority?
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2107
Q.: I understand that there are various international associations e.g. U.K./Cyprus, Greece/Cyprus, Russian/Cyprus etc who carry all sorts of gatherings and get together. What shall I do in order to join?
Mark Philips

A.: Apply to the association of your choice expressing your interest to become a member. It is as simple as this. Then you will be invited to the gatherings etc.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2108
Q.: We are painting our wooden windows of our home. We have now to decide whether we will opt for the preservation paint or the oil paint. What is your opinion Mr Loizou?
Susan Kellan

A.: If you have a choice opt for the oil paint, which is more expensive, but more long lasting. Our weather here tends to crack the preservative paint, causing some problems with the wood. Ask your architect on the subject, but I opt for the oil paint dear reader.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2109
Q.: We have a problem with our garden grass. We are not surprised since the Cyprus weather is not suitable. We are suggested to use a plastic grass, but it will never be the same thing. Your views please.
Mica Fantasi

A.: I have a similar problem dear Mica. After spending several thousand euro, the grass did not thrive. I am now considering the plastic grass option which will cost more than double, but hopefully it will be long lasting. If it is a small patch of grass, say up to 100 sq.mts., opt for the plastic, if larger you must try again with the natural grass I am afraid. Good quality plastic grass with proper foundation might cost around €50/each!!
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2110
Q.: I had a problem with my car last Saturday. The battery went flat and I called the rescue people to help. Indeed, they came within the hour, reported that my battery was flat and duly left. I ask them to take the car on their platform to an electrician but they refused. I found this behavior not acceptable. Am I wrong?
Nic Mithis

A.: No – Write a letter of complaint. This is part of their job dear Nic.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2111
Q.; I have studied your letter regarding the development of a house in agricultural areas and your statement that the house cannot be sold within 10 years after the permit issue. So, I ask you Mr Loizou, if a house cannot be sold for 10 years what is its value today?
Delis Paschou

A.: May be 50% or less dear Delis. At this point of time we are discussing the subject with the Planning Office and hopefully I will come back to you early next year.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou




No.2112
Q.: I have read with distress that if I am to employ a person without declaring him, I may stand to go to prison/or get fined €1.800 per day of his employment.
Are we serious Mr Loizou with such a Gestapo style laws?
(name withheld)

A.: The law is under discussion but it seems that the Government is keen to push it forward. The reason is the wide undeclared work and it is a way to make payers and receivers declare their income. In some occasions, unaware people who do not have receipts etc might find themselves in trouble. I suggest you get receipts including the name and I.D. number of the recipient.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2116
Q.: We have a shop at Pafos which admittedly our sales space formed part of a road widening scheme 22 years ago (not implemented).
We are now informed that we have to demolish the extensions made and the contractor is giving us 10 days to demolish – Is there something we can do?
(name withheld)

A.: Not really dear readers. Remember that you were occupying the space illegally that belongs to the Municipality which might even ask you for rent for the past years.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2117
Q.: We got a planning permit which stipulates that our windows/doors etc should be of wood. We find this unreasonable since there are so many aluminium materials similar to wood etc. What shall we do dear Mr Loizou and Cyprus Weekly Editor?
Nic & Marian Stess

A.: Unless your property is in a preserved area or in a traditional village area, I hold the view that you can persuade the authority to do without and adopt the aluminium. If it is a preserved building it is very difficult mind you. May be they have adopted a standard term from the past.
Regards,
|A.P. Loizou

No.2118
Q.: The Cyprus judges decided for themselves that their salary cut of 20% should no longer exist. So, we have all the rest of us pay? Is it reasonable that the same people decide on their own salary? Where is the “no one can decide his own case?
J. & Grek
A.: Not as simple as you say but I appreciate your question.
A.P. Loizou

No.2119
Q.: We got alarmed having numerous letters in our letter box asking us if we are interested to sell our property. We object to this since we find it that we are under pressure to sell.
Can we stop this?
K. Kiriakov

A.: There is nothing you can do, but, look at it on the positive side that some people are indeed interested for your property - at a time that there is limited demand.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38027-td
5.12.2016

No.2113
Q.: Οur wooden door frames in the house seem to get dry rοt. Our administrator alarmed us that this is very serious and we have to replace all the woodwork in the house including kitchen, windows etc. Do you have any experience on this?
Mario & M. Angels

A.: Do not be alarmed dear friends. Usually the rot wood appears near the floor due to the constant mopping dampness. I suggest that you treat the part that it has the problem. There are specialized firms which can inject certain chemicals to limit the problem in this area. Yes replace that part of the frame only. Care is needed to see if the damage extends.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2114
Our sewage was blocked and we brought a person to clear it. He said that this was due to throwing toilet paper in the w.c. and we should place the toilet paper in a bin next to it (I understand that this is customary for Cyprus). Yet, why is this?
Frida & Felix

A.: I do not agree. The sewage of your house could take care of it. Usually it is blocked if children place a load of paper, or if women’s toiletries are placed. If let, you may realize that the tenants throw all sorts of things in the toilet including towels. In addition, check if your system is affected by tree routs. I just refuse to have the bin next to the w.c. other than for the above reasons.

No.2115
Q.: Bank of Cyprus is promoting itself in the U.K./international market. My question is, will the new investors be more aggressive than the existing ones?
Nicos K.


A: Time will show dear reader but in order to correct you based on my opinion I do not think that the existing administrator is over aggressive. It has a business to run mind you with loads of problems.


3/38028-td
5.12.2016

No.2120
Q.: What do we know about Cyprus dear Mr Loizou? We just arrived in our new retirement home and on the private streets of the project various lemon and other trees are planted.
Last weekend when we were walking within the project we picked 3 (yes only 3) lemons from a lemon tree on the pavement. We had a shock when the abutting home resident objected to us picking the 3 lemons saying (from what we understood he spoke in Russian) that the tree is his etc etc.
To whom does the pavement trees belong Mr Loizou, not that we will pick more lemons in future, but just for us to know if we did something “criminal”.
Constanza & Mark

A.: The pavement trees belong to the project and if public road belongs to the public/Municipality. You have done nothing wrong dear friends. I have a house within a large plot but for one reason or another our trees do not survive in our plot and I pick 5-10 lemons from the pavement tree which seem to thrive. It is beyond me how some people can call trees their own if they are on public pavements.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2121
Q.: One country with different hours Mr Loizou? How are we are supposed to get organized in a country with different hours?
L. & K.

A.: The official time is that of the Republic of Cyprus and that of the E.U. The Turkish occupied areas opted for another time, hence the problem.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/38030-td
6.12.2016

Νο.2122
Q.: We often say that God abandoned us in terms of rain. What is the situation now Mr Loizou?
H. Haris

A.: As far as I am informed by the Authorities the dams have 21% capacity only. So, wait for it to see if God listened to our church prayers and I will come back to you in 3/2017. Potable water will not be a problem as I am informed, no water cuts etc (this is good news to an extent).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2123
Q.: Examining your website and your facebook it seems that you have found a lot of interest for agriculture investments. This is good news since it helps newcomers for the industry.
J. Staron

A.: Yes I was surprised myself. Agricultural has a future. It is hard work and for certain product it has limited risk and capital. It may be that it is worth looking into it.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2124
Q.: Why you do not publish the whole of your Q+A with Cyprus Weekly Mr Loizou and Editor?
N. Costas

A.: It is all a matter of space
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2125
Q.: We were picking some beach stones from Pissouri beach. We were there and someone told us that it is illegal.
What is your opinion Mr Loizou?
Eleo & Svarkia

A.: Yes, he is right but then picking 10-20 stones at a time it will not be a crime.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38035-td
8.12.2016

No.2126
Q.: Further to your article on investment in agriculture, I have noted that a certain olive oil producer claims that “his olive oil” is the best in the world – giving the various reasons.
Is this not provocative for the other producers?
Lenia Xamas – Neo Chorio

A.: Yes it is and he might get himself into trouble. Had he said “Perhaps the Best olive …..” it could be okay.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2127
Q.: Our next door neighbor is repairing his house and he is creating a lot of noise etc. To be correct he warned us about the works and we agreed to put up with the nuisance. We did not expect however that they will continue working over the weekends as well. Are we being unreasonable to complain on this?
(name withheld)

A.: If it is just 1-2 weekends I could live with this. If more better check for how many weekends he is to carry out the works or ask him not to work over the weekends. I appreciate the importance of having a “calm” weekend and it is better to clear it now.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2128
Q.: I note the problem with barking dogs and I remember through your Q+A column that there is a gadget you say that when the dog barks it gets a small electric shock which stops the barking. How can we get this gadget since we depend on our neighbors for a good neighborliness?
K. & Eleni Shawn

A.: I will not give this dear readers, notwithstanding the fact that I have used it for my 2 dogs, some time ago. I feel now and looking back on it that I have been cruel to my dogs. It is just not on. Try to find other ways by telling off your dogs etc. After all what is a dog who is not allowed to bark – although I appreciate your stand.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/38044-td

No.2129
Q.: We have noted a new development project on Makarios Avenue, Nicosia, with plans to develop an apartment building of 30 floors. We also understand that the sales price is around €4.000/sq.m. Can the sales price be attained for Nicosia – unlike Limassol?

A.: Your information of indicatively €4.000/sq.m. is correct but permit me to have my doubts if it is sustainable. This is not Limassol and the provided facilities of this project are not for free and it will be added on the common expenses (doubtful of their payment by the buyers). I have sent a letter to the Minister of the Interior on the general subject of non collection of common expenses and I am awaiting for a meeting. Regarding the sales prices, Limassol not on beach apts have now a sales value of ±€7.000/sq.m.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2130
Q.: I note what you say about investment in general in agriculture and I note also the restrictions on the small holdings that are available. So, how can a serious investor be interested in Cyprus? Is leasing of land an alternative?
Nick Clarke

A.: It depends, if the lease is say for 10-15 years it may be okay, since if not it may not pay (in my own non-expert opinion). The church has large agricultural holdings in order to explore this possibility (as well as others).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38047-td
15.12.2016

Νο.2131
Q.: We have an outstanding debt Mr Loizou. The financier offered us a swap (debt for asset) deal and we are positive based on the proposal. Anything to watch out?
L. & K.

A.: Study carefully the proposal and if the swap is reasonable go for it dear readers. I am quoting a Cypriot saying that it is appropriate “the only one who is not sleeping is the interest charges”. Turn the page and start again.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2132
Q.: With the various marinas under way, including the recent Governmental decision to allow small marinas for hotels etc, one wonders if there are enough private boats to go around.
Lenos & Kate

A.: One of the reasons why there are not so many yachts around is the lack of marinas. This is not Greece or Turkey, but the coastal line is long enough to go from one marina to another (both for locals as well as visitors from abroad). Regrettably with the Egypt/Lebanon/Syria problems, Cyprus is isolated for this sport/enjoyment, but I hope that the time will come in the near future. Bearing in mind that the existing marinas, their cost is considerable (in Greece is around 1/3rd of what one pays here). Competition will bring down the cost in Cyprus as well.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2133
Q.: Private islands Mr Loizou? New projects such as Eden and other marina developments encourage their construction in the sea on which buildings can be developed. I do not find the reason why we could “sell” the sea for yet another development of real estate.
Harris Kakos

A.: I don’t agree with you Harris. If one looks at Dubai Palm island and the World. You will realize what the aim is. The more imaginative projects we have the better and provided there is demand for such properties I would go for it – The development of islands is an expensive job plus the high rent that the Government is asking for the “sea rights”. It may be one of the recent innovative ideas in the med addressing the affluent clients. If one looks at the Limassol marina sales prices, on breakwaters, their prices jumped by 50% over the last 6 months or so (none left). This sort of buyers and in addition to their investment, they are big spenders in general for the local economy.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2134
Q.: We are considering of buying a building plot and we are informed by our advocate that we should not postpone this since next year a VAT of 19% will be placed on such purchases. We do not want to rush into a purchase but the 19% increase in the acquisition fee is a lot. What do you suggest Mr Loizou?
Clairy & Simos

A.: The E.U. requirement for VAT on the land purchase is there and it is pushing Cyprus to adopt it. I am afraid the VAT on land acquisition will be adopted sooner than later. It depends on the law but at and it is not certain as yet if the VAT is 19% or 5% (own use).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38064-td
22.12.2016

No.2137
Q.: We cannot find a bottle of champagne lower than €25. Any substitute for the Xmas and other festivities?
Nicolas Krantos

A.: Any fizzy wine will do it dear friend. Use prosheco max €10/bottle. Similarly, if you want to impress your friends get caviar but it will cost you an amount that I cannot quote. If you go to any supermarket you do get similar looking but, not tasty “caviar”. It is not the same, but it adds to the whole ambiance.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2135
Q.: I understand that the incentives for added building density etc have been extendeded. What does this mean dear Mr Loizou?
H. Clark

A.: The incentive referred for an added 20% building density up to 12/2016, but has been extended to end 2017 and the parameters for the development are extended up to the year 2018. This is good news and we have reported before that this was to be expected.
As an additional info purchases concluded by the end 2016 (be it a sales contract) do not bear the capital gains tax. Transfer fees bear 50% discount notwithstanding the date of sale and the property tax as of 1.1.2017 has been abolished.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2140
Q.: Troodos in all its glory Mr Loizou. In your past adds acting as a promoter back in the year 1980 you stated that “you can ski at Troodos and swim at the sea 40 minutes away (copy of your add attached). How right you are but then the climate change does not bear you out nowadays. Yet for those who are winter swimmers will agree with you even now. I love this country for its diversity.
N & Nell

Many thanks. Lovely to look at our own add 36 years ago.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38097-td
10.1.2017

No.2139
Q.: Your recent article about the Cyprus economy and the MPs behavior finds me in full agreement, especially your ongoing pressure on the MPs to apologize for the “Heroic No” with no response.
Keep on Mr Loizou.
St. & Mrs

A.: Thank you for being a reader of Cyprus Weekly and your encouragement.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2140
Q.: Troodos in all its glory Mr Loizou. In your past adds acting as a promoter back in the year 1980 you stated that “you can ski at Troodos and swim at the sea 40 minutes away (copy of your add attached). How right you are but then the climate change does not bear you out nowadays. Yet for those who are winter swimmers will agree with you even now. I love this country for its diversity.
N & Nell

Many thanks. Lovely to look at our own add 36 years ago.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/38097-td
10.1.2017

No.2141
Q.: Are advocates on the take? We had a case where our own advocate suggested that in order to “strike a deal” we should pay something (approximately €2.000) to the opposing advocate. I was so much socked on this I could not believe it.
(name withheld)

A.:Yes, regrettably it happens. I have no experience of my own mind you. Shocking as it may be, you have to assess the pros and cons. I hate myself for even suggesting this to you.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2138
Q.: I am a T.C from the northern “occupied area” as you say. I want to touch base with you and explore the possibility of a cooperation in real estate in view of the pending political solution of the Cyprus problem.
(name withheld)

A.: If we have a solution and I hope we do, I have no problem to cooperate but at this point of time to do this it will be premature. Let’s wait for a month or so dear reader and we can talk again.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2136
Q.: Dear Mr. Loizou, can you tell me if the management company can charge me on the annual common cost bill for the empty apartments on my complex? The developer says all properties are sold, and we have our deeds. I am not happy to pay someone else’s bill, and if no one is in the property they are not using the amenities. Can I legally refuse to pay this extra fee on my bill and so deduct from the 2017 bill they send to me? It is an extra 25euro (my basic pension has dropped since Brexit).
Thank you,
S. Spot

A.: Common expenses must be paid notwithstanding if a unit is vacant or not. If your stand on this prevails, say only one apartment is occupied, it will mean that this apartment must bear all the cost of the project – Not correct.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38114-td
9.1.2017

No.2142
Q.: Can I ask for the extra 25euro which has been added to my common cost bill for properties I do not own to be removed from my charges? Am I with in my rights to deduct this charge myself from the next payment? Can I be taken to court if I do this?
Yours sincerely,
S.S.


A.:If you are indeed overcharged, then you write a letter to the Administrative Committee of your intention to deduct the €25. I doubt that this can take you to Court. I would not worry.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2142
Q.: Can I ask for the extra 25euro which has been added to my common cost bill for properties I do not own to be removed from my charges? Am I with in my rights to deduct this charge myself from the next payment? Can I be taken to court if I do this?
Yours sincerely,
S.S.


A.:If you are indeed overcharged, then you write a letter to the Administrative Committee of your intention to deduct the €25. I doubt that this can take you to Court. I would not worry.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38126-td
12.1.2017

No.2143
Dear Mr Loizou, my wife and I read with interest Your articles on the Cyprus Weekly. We own a property that we would like to sell, but with the condition of having the use of the house until we die. I would like to know if in Cyprus is possible to sell in usufruct of the property as a long term investment and where to go to inquire. Thank you very much for your time.
Regards
Antonio Basile


A.: I understand that you are referring to a life interest. This can be done and registered the same on the title. In theory, it can be done but this is a rarety in Cyprus. In some occasions and depending on one’s age and life expecting as is today, it may come next to nothing dear reader.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
 

No.2146
Q.:| You are well known and well connected Mr Loizou and I want to ask you for a favor in order to pass on to the Authorities about a problem that I have. Can I do this?
Lennon John

A.: I must know firstly the problem and if it falls within the sphere of real estate. Don’t think that I can do everything. I can just put forward your case with a supporting letter to go if I think it is worth it.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2145
Q.: I feel that I represent all the readers of your English column in Cyprus Weekly, to wish you all the best on your name day (St. Antonis).
Alan Starbucks

A.: Many thanks Alan for the 17.1.2017 name day which it happens also to be my birthday. At this “young” age of 67 I have no goals other than to have many appreciative readers. All the best.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2144
Q.: Sorry for coming back to you dear Mr Loizou. As I had said in my previous correspondence, the Bank has carried out a valuation for a swap deal, but thinking back on it, we feel it is too low. Can we object to it?
Nick Smith

A.: Yes you can provide your own valuation duly reasoned. The bank must provide two independent valuations and you can provide your own (there are specified procedures dear reader). Ask to be provided with the 2 bank valuations and you can take it from there. I think that you will find the bank cooperative.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

Νο.2147
Q.:I would like comparable listing price and selling prices for a property in Nicosia,Cyprus. In other words, how can I get asking and selling prices to get an idea how much a property is currently worth based on recent sales. In USA, this type of information is called "comps"-short for comparables.
By law, in the USA, this information is readily avaliable for the public and very detailed information for registered real estate agents.
Please let me know how I could get this type of information.
Much appreciated.
J. Brown

A.:This information on comparables is available only to valuers (such as us) and advocates who have a court case.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/38152-td
20.1.2017

No.2148
Q.: With the various reports that we read about soil subsidence in the Pafos region, shall we take out an insurance for this likely event?
A. Stillis

A.:Check the cost and if the insurance co will cover it. Before you embark to such an added cost, check the immediate area if it has any problem. These sort of problems do not appear in towns but more in ex agricultural areas which have become the subject of subsequent development.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2149
Q.:Following your advice and having a permit from the Forestry Department we sought tenders to cut down our eucalyptus trees (20 years old). My question to you is, should the value of the wood not be deducted from the contractor’s cost?
N. Vargossle

A.: Yes it should be. The wood could reach as much as the cost of cutting down the trees. Get an analysis of the contractor’s cost and discount the wood value unless of course you want to keep the wood.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2150
Q.: The police of Cyprus seems to be more interested in overspeeding rather than chase drivers with increased alcoholic blood content. I think that the alcohol problem in driving is a bigger problem than speedy. An excuse with this?
G. & Amanda

A.: If you are stopped for overspeeding they will check you with the breathalyzer and then God help you. Speed is the main reason for accidents and the second is alcoholic content. As far as I am concerned the limit that the alcoholic content is very low not exceeding 2 glasses of wine.
For your information for the older generation, police seem to target the younger generation and at the early (mainly) hours. So you have a chance to get away with it depending one’s age. I think the most dangerous drivers are those of some age who cannot respond timely, lose their direction, going into the other traffic route lane etc. Yes there is a prevailing law if over 70 you need a doctor’s certificate in order to drive. But you do appreciate in this country where everybody knows everybody the doctor’s certificate issue is a rule (a disaster).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2151
Q.: We have young children in one house which has a swimming pool. We want to make sure that they do not go near it and even worse go inside. We opted to use a glass fence pool which will cost us around €6.000 for a 4 m. x 10 m. pool size. Do you have an alternative suggestion Mr Loizou?
Lana Christophe

A.: Use the wire type with interlocking steel which can be easily placed and removed. It will cost you less than ½ of what you say. Not necessarily as good looking but you must consider the cost as well (but as effective as the glass panels).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2151
Q.: My neighbor is parking his work car in front of our house on a public road. It is there for more than a month and I do not like it. I cannot accept a van parked outside our garden. Any solution since I do not want to confront him with it.
(name withheld)

A.: Depending on the circumstances of your Municipality you can report the case to it. If it is there for some time, the Municipality can ask him to remove it. The car considering that it is there for some time it may be classed as an abandoned vehicle, which it can be possessed by the Municipality and sell it by auction. Bear in mind that public roads can be used for parking so you might have a weak case but no harm in trying.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38162-td
24.1.2017

No.2153
Q.: We have reached the bottom regarding the level of performance with reference to our high schools compared with E.U. standards. Yet we keep insisting of retaining the archaic system having teachers over 50 years old teaching young people and who object to anything whatever the Ministry of Education is trying to introduce. Do we have a future for this?
Lenia

A.: Bearing in mind that the Ministry of Education is runned mostly by teachers it is evident that “one teacher objects to another”. No chance to change whereas the numerous measures that are introduced must be approved by the MPs, whose quality is lower than one expected.

Having said this, it is no wonder why our educational standard is at the bottom, whereas some E.U. countries warned Cyprus that it may not accept our leaving certificates.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/38163-td
25.1.2017

No.2154
Q.: I note what you say about fire wood. Yet I understand that those who sell must have a license to do it. Is this correct?
Carlos & Jean

A.: Yes you are right. Those who sell firewood must provide their license prior to payment.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2155
Q.: Any news on the common expenses Bill (to be)?
Punto & Georgia

A.: Not so far. I will keep trying mind you. To ignore it, it will be a disaster for the buyers and the property market. I had a recent meeting 15 days ago with the Minister of the Interior who promised that he will look into it. I will not let him forget!!
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/38172-td
26.1.2017

No. 2156
Q.: I have been reading your correspondence with your readers regarding cutting down trees. Is the permit required for all or for a certain type of trees?
Costas Costa

A.: It applies only to a certain type of trees e.g. eucalyptus, pine and other forest trees. You need to apply to the Municipality or the District Office to ascertain the sort of trees in your area you are allowed to cut down. I find that the required permit is very reasonable bearing in mind the hand machines which cut down the trees everywhere in Cyprus.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2157
Q.: I have read your article about Platres and with the incentives given at the colonial times. Do you think that we can submit a claim for development by seeking similar incentives?
Nicos & Stella

A.: Not possible at all I am afraid dear readers.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
No.2158
Q.: Your views about another minor/maxi property crush is there as you say. I am worried.
Georgios Georgiou
(developer)

A.: The facts are there and I can only provide a prediction.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
3/38177-td
27.1.2017

No.2159
Q.: I know that the buildings should be 10 feet away from one’s plot boundaries. Yet I note that some subsidiary buildings are erected on the boundary of the plot. Is there a catch on this?
Lenia Charalambous

A.: I assume when you say subsidiary buildings means a garage, a barbecue etc. Υes they can be erected on the boundary but yet the distance of the 10 ft from a public road is required.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2160
Q.: I had had to report a criminal offence to the Police. This has been a traumatic experience having the Police postponing the interview and then I was met with a young chap with no experience. Being in the legal profession from the U.K., I wonder how on earth this country can go forward with such a situation (reported to the Police the case 9 months ago and I am still pushing the Police with almost daily to proceed with my case).
(name withheld)

A.: I agree with you because on our own experience the Police force has been reduced by 20% over the recent years and then we have those frauds that they keep coming up. I will write a letter to the Minister on the subject, but I doubt if this will bring any results.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


No.2161
Q.: Thank you Mr Loizou about the van outside our house. I have followed your suggestion and the van was duly removed.
Many thanks for your suggestion.
Lenon Truck

A.: Cyprus Weekly and myself are here to help all the readers dear Lenon.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38183-td
1.2.2017

No.2162
Q.: Dear Mr. Loizou,
Six months ago, my dear husband passed away. Everything we owned is in joint names.
My lawyer tells me I must go to Probate to get his name removed from the deeds, cars, bank accounts. Why must I do this? Bank accounts are joint and marked and/or. For personal reasons, I don’t want to do this. There is no third party involved.
He even wants to know how much money I have in the bank and how much tax I pay. This is none of his business or anyone else’s. I am told this could cost me up to €10,000. I get the feeling he is trying to rip me off.
I understand about the cars, for insurance reasons. Also, I will not be selling the house. Our wills are also made out to each other.
Your advice will be much appreciated,
Thank you,
(name withheld)

A.: Strictly speaking an administrator of the estate should be appointed who will carry out the procedure and distribution of the assets. Otherwise you could follow your suggestion if no other beneficiaries are involved be it not a 100% legal. Regarding the €10.000 fee required I find it excessive, but this will depend on the circumstances. Get another quotation dear reader so that you double check.
I am afraid I cannot be of much help without knowing the details, let alone that this is a purely legal matter of a somewhat specialized nature.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38211-td
6.2.2017

No.2163
Q.: I have read through the internet that Italy is following Cyprus’ example on permanent residency visas. More competition for us Mr Loizou especially that Italy requires a €100.000 property purchase as opposed to Cyprus’ €300.000 property purchase.
Georgia Dimou

A.: Yes, each country has its own scheme, but to be honest I do not know the details on the Italian scheme. The E.U. is starting to worry about this trend mind you and the purchase of passports/visas with investment is not 100% certain that it will be retained in the future. However the more countries embark on this, the more difficult will be for the northern Europeans and others to put pressure for its restructuring.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

Νο.2164
Q.: Portugal is planning to introduce a property tax, which for those units with sea view the tax will be increased by 20%.
Is this not a plus for Cyprus?
Nic Demon

A.: Anything that makes another competitive country more expensive, it is a plus for us. How can you determine an apartment with a sea view, or side view etc? A proposal that it will create more problems than that which is trying to solve (it reminds me of the Greek property tax situation – a mess). Having said that, Portugal is not such a direct competitor to Cyprus, be it it is very popular with Europeans, but, then, the never ending rain and wind is a plus for us (be it that we are running out of potable water – but then we cannot have everything!!). Bear in mind that our property tax in Cyprus is abolished as from 1.1.2017.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2165
Q.: I note about the marina and other seaside projects under way. My question is how on earth are we are going to find such rocks suitable for sea reclamation?
Nic Mat

A.: It is a problem but new technology suggests precast concrete cubs which do the work of the rocks. I hope we will avoid the Dubai Palm Island and the World, projects, lovely as they are, have destroyed the seabed by providing sand from the deep sea, in order to place it on the beach (there are other ways for Cyprus – see breakwaters which pile up the sand etc).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38214-td
7.2.2017

No.2166
Q.: I live and work in the Famagusta region Mr Loizou and I could not agree with you more regarding the “mistreatment” of the region by the Government in terms of low building densities etc. I will raise the matter with our Paralimni Mayor with your article in hand. Any objection on your side?
Andreas Xydias

A.: Not at all dear reader. This is the reason of our publications, to wake up and object.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/38215-td
7.2.2017

No.2167
Q.: I understand that the transfer fees have been halved for those transfers which take place up to the end of 2017.
How is this calculated Mr Loizou?
Emil Achill

A.: The transfer fees are halved for ever and not up to the end of 2017 dear reader.
The transfer fees are calculated as follows:

Value Fees Amount
Up to €85.000 3% €2.550
€85.001-€170.000 5% €4.250
Total €6.800

Over €170.000 8% on the difference

Now that it is halved the above table is reduced accordingly (by 50%).

Who said that delays on transfer fees does not pay?

Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38228-td
8.2.2017

No.2168
Q.: How is the E.U. going to be developed Mr Loizou? With the Brexit, Donald Trump enjoying the split up, France with its extreme right wing party and others, what will happen to euro?
Nicolas Papas

A.: What do I know dear Nicolas. I am a real estate person in a small island and I watch the happenings with concern. If Scotland goes its own way, the Catalans the same and so on this will add to the uncertainty. Let’s wait and see over the next months.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2169
I have noted your concerns on the subject of passports for cash. You expressed in your articles your views on the subject and you refer to the risks involved in the immediate future. Does anyone listen?
Nicos Abraham

A.: I can only submit my views and raise the issue when I have the opportunity to the Government.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38231-td
9.2.2017

No.2171
Q.: I am at a loss to understand how come the Government is to compensate these unfortunate home buyers at Pissouri village for the soil subsidence. I cannot find the logic behind this unless I am missing something here, since if this becomes a precedent we/the Government must compensate people for all sorts of events (the recent floods in Nicosia and Larnaca in addition).
P. Papas

A.: This is a difficult question to answer dear reader. The Pissouri project and others are supposed to have a building application duly examined by the authorities (Government) to check the civil engineer’s design (soil investigation included).
In such cases the architect/civil engineer who has carried out the design are the main to blame and the Government at a second stage (my non legal opinion mind). The contractor is to blame also if he has not followed the design parameters and if he has, I do not see how he is to blame.
Regarding the flooding there is a misunderstanding in my opinion. The drainage design (if there is drainage) is based on the ordinary rain fall and not on “storm water” which is the one which creates the problems. I read (on the subject) about Governmental responsibility, but how can this be when considering the floods of London, Paris, US etc that are having similar disasters (but I do not know how these cases are met in terms of compensation).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38241-td
13.2.2017

No.2170
Q.: Dear Mr Loizou
We live on a complex with a communal swimming pool. Are we going to have a lifeguard? We have heard this is going to be a new Cyprus Law. If this is so, surely this will not be feasible with so many communal pools in Cyprus and so few lifeguards.
Regards
Walter Hart

A.: If a project has more than10 units with a common pool, then you require a lifeguard during the hours of operation. I agree with you that it is not feasible both in financing the lifeguard as well as in practical term. The law is not clear since it refers to life guards for public pools (requiring a lifeguard) and not private pools. Some Municipalities interpret the word public for those pools that are open to the public and others do not (private pools do not require a lifeguard). It is a mess I am afraid and a relevant article on the subject was published some time ago by us. Better the administrative committee to apply to your Municipality on the subject to establish how is your pool considered. There is an attempt to clarify what is a public pool and we expect that the law should change and offer clarifications. Sorry for not being able to help you since I am myself as confused as the public is.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38242-td
13.2.2017

No.2172
Q.: Dear Sirs,
I have following question:
I own an apartment in Nicosia of 2bdr with one covered parking place (title exist) and would like to buy out additional parking space (one) from the neighbor in the same building who has 3bdr apartment and 2 parking spaces (he is not using any, no car, and not intended).
How could it be done from legal point of view, if at all?
Are there any special cases for purchasing parking places in polikatikia?
Is there special law for this in CY?
BR,
Andrey

A.: You can enter into an agreement to buy, but you need the okay from the local Municipality to have the parking registered in your own apartment. Once you have this you can then apply to the Lands Office to have both titles altered.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/38247-td
14.2.2017

No.2173
Q.: Dear Mr Loizou,
I have read your columns in the Cyprus Weekly for many years and as I find myself in a difficult and very urgent situation today, I thought of asking your opinion.
If you do not have time to give me a long answer it is fine, I just need to know one thing: is it possible to cancel an agreement for the sale of a house?
If it is, how can we do so and how quickly after the signing?
What happened is that we signed the agreement to sell our house last Tuesday (so I am worried that we must cancel within 1 week!), at the estate agent's office. The buyer signed too.
Now the agent refuses to sign a paper for our bank, to declare that he is indeed getting a commission from us because he did not intend to declare this business and pay VAT. He will only sign the paper if WE pay for his VAT (about 2000€).
Since this is out of the question, we would like to cancel the sale agreement for now.
How can we do this? And if we do, would we be free to sell the house to the same person later, through another agent maybe?
I would really appreciate your help, Mr Loizou, as I am very worried that we might get into a lot of trouble. Many thanks.
Kind regards,
S.L.

A.:This is a legal question mind you but I will try respond as best as I can.
A breach of sales contract gives the right to the other party-the buyer to take legal action against you for breach of contract. This might mean the placing of “a memo” blocking your property for any further sale and seek damages if the acquired price is lower than the market value (you might be called to pay the difference, legal fees and hardace in addition).
There is no time limit to cancel, should you so decide, but the soonest the better.
In my opinion you should tell the buyer of what is happening and give him a fair warning. On the other hand the “crook” estate agent (if he is indeed a registered one) has no leg to stand on. If he is a registered agent you can report him to the Council of Estate Agents and the Police demand and your money (if you got) back. You can report the same to the Bank whom I expect they will be understanding. You can keep any money paid by the buyer in an escrow account with the Bank and release once the deal is concluded.
Bearing in mind that legal estate agents commission bear a 19% VAT which you as a seller is responsible to pay. So, if he is a registered agent, he should provide you with a bill (+VAT) this is legally okay (agent’s fee and the VAT is tax deductible for capital gains mind you).
Using another estate agent to approach the same buyer does not mean that the “crooked agent has no right to claim his commission” if he is a registered estate agent. If not, no responsibility.
If the above is not clear give me a call.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38251-td
15.2.2017

Νο.2174
Q.: I noted with interest your views on the old Limassol port redevelopment and the objections to your opinion on the subject by some chap.
I could not agree with you more and I suggest that your readers should also read your Greek articles, which have much more information and views for all of us who do not understand Greek (my wife keeps me posted on the goings on in the Greek press – God help her).
Could you not repeat your Greek articles in the English papers dear Mr Loizou?
John Harris (British Cypriot)

A.: I am looking forward to a reader who has the time and courage to translate those articles for the non Greek speakers. I have tried it with translators but the translations did not represent what I was saying I am afraid. Any offers?
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2175
Q.: Can we ask you just about everything Mr Loizou and expect an answer from you, which we understand is without charge?
Chriss Triandafill

A.: The Q+A column refers to real estate questions my dear reader, but from time to time I attempt to expand in other subjects (something which I wish to avoid). The column has a mission, Cyprus Weekly and myself to help the readers to the extent that we can. Yes without any charge but within limits. The paper and the column in particular if it was published abroad (as an Austrian reader told us a few years ago) it would have been a “money spinner”. We are not after this at this point of time unless we can promote the Q+A column with a fee of €30-€50/per question (as a Danish reader suggested).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


No.2176
Q.: Are you losing your interest on us British Mr Loizou? I wrote to the column 3 weeks ago and I had no reply. Yet I note numerous Q+A in the Cyprus Weekly.
Nancy Graig

A.: Not in a million dear Nancy. I have chased up your letter and I have come up that you have sent your question on a different email than ours.
I reply within 5-10 days from receipt to each and every letter. Cyprus Weekly and myself make a point to be responsive as early as possible. I will reply to your letter today
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38272-td
21.2.2017

No.2177
Q.: The Pafos old commercial center reclamation is all the best Mr Loizou. But I think that it comes a bit late for the old center’s revival (bearing in mind its cultural capital of Europe year 2017) don’t you think Mr Loizou?
Stavros Stavrou

A.: In one sense yes, since it was supposed to be ready end of January. But it is getting there and contractors work overtime for the purpose. Problems regarding ancient finds, outdated underground service installations and the never ending objections on the job awards, are some of the reasons of the delay. Yes, I agree with you that it is late since in addition to the infrastructure, the doing up of the shops and then let are all behind. I expect next year will be the crucial year for the center’s revival. People/visitors is what is needed now. Hopefully the Municipality through the co-operation with tour operators and others can attract people/ tourists during the summer period to come. Having visited the works last week, I can assess that there will be a general uplift adding to its prospects. I am confident that the revival will happen be it not immediately and it will take a couple of years to get this area established.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2178
Q.: We often visit restaurants and especially the taverns offer in most occasions carafe wine. We find this quite nice and affordable (around €15/bottle/carafe). Yet local people and others seem to look down on this, preferring the bottled “names” which are approximately 50% more at least.
J. Kastro

A.: No particular reason other than local people by its majority feel embarrassed to go for the cheaper option in fear that they will be accused of being “cheap” etc. Regrettably we are spoiled and I do recommend (being a wine consumer) that carafe wine is very good value for money. It reminds me how one can eat with a reasonable budget and them the bill can skyrocket due to the wine cost. Take the fish meze. If you order the standard meze is reasonable, but if you dare order on charcoal big fish God help you!!
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2179
Q.: I noted two months ago in the Q+A column that a reader had one floor tile broken and could not find a similar tile to match. At the time you referred to your experience that you could not trace a manufacturer to find similar tiles. We now have a similar problem with 2 broken floor tiles in the kitchen. What solution can you offer to us dear Mr Loizou?
Kelly Michaella

A.: Get a good contractor/craftsman and attempt to remove the ceramic tiles which are usually behind the fridge (no one can note this removal) or even from the kitchen walls and the place them on the kitchen floor. We have tried this and it works, but we needed in addition to the craftsman and a lot of luck. Regrettably tiles which are well placed are difficult to come out. The craftsman should knock on the tiles to be removed and if the noise is “void” indicating that they are not well placed, you have a chance (who said that bad workmanship does not pay?).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2180
Q.: Our titles have not been issued as yet. We want to carry out some extensions of a small nature no more than the 60 sq.mts. allowed under the building amnesty. Our question is do we need to get the developer’s approval for submitting an application?
Nina Wordman


A.: No _ It is a way to by pass the developer who can be objectionable and even blackmailing the applicants. Mind you I do not agree with the procedure 100% and I note all sorts of extensions much to the objection of the neighbors etc.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
No.2181
Q.: Our neighbor has placed a huge satellite dish which not only it is unsightly, but it blocks almost our view. Can anyone do this without referring to others?
K – Pafos

A.: No – a permit is required if a satellite dish exceeds 3 meters in diameter. Caring neighbors is a rarety I am afraid.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
No.2182
Q.: I appreciate the maternity leave of 4 months and yet there is a proposal to extend it by even more. I ask you Mr Loizou, our employee is now having a child and she will be away for a long time. The shop we have is runned by my wife and myself and our young employee. What are we supposed to do in the meantime until her return?
J & K – Nicosia

A.: It is a problem my dear friends. On the one hand, I note your problem and I sympathize with you. Abroad (U.K. etc) the maternity leave can be extended to almost 12 months. So, if you are looking to find a suitable person for replacement, what are you going to do when the “mother” comes back? Is the new person going to stay in your business knowing that she is to go after 4 months? It will take you a couple of months to train the new comer the social aspect apart for both persons. Bear in mind that terminating one’s employment due to pregnancy is not allowed without cost/compensation. A most difficult situation especially for most small scale operations.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
No.2183
Q.: We read in the press and in the news that there are about 30.000 people unemployed or based on other reports 60.000 and yet you try to find staff in the catering industry and the odd jobs is almost impossible. So, it does not add up!! Your explanation please.
Lellos Vrachas

A.: I agree with you that it is a most odd situation. There is a large percentage of the declared unemployed that they have a job (undeclared) on the side yet getting unemployment benefit and the minimum income.
There is indeed a shortage in the tourist industry and for other jobs quality, whereas staff is a rarety. Some unemployed cheat the system, others are not good in their work and others become fussy. At this point of time we have the Pontiacs (ex-Russian Greeks) who fill some job vacancies. But even these people are running out and the seasonal staff we have had from Greece bearing in mind the tourist boom in Greece they are not easily found nowadays.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2184
Q.: What is this Mr Loizou, carnival time at Pafos? I have attended for several years the Rio carnival parade and more recent years the Limassol one. This year I decided to pay a visit at the Pafos carnival. What a disappointment Mr Loizou. This is more of a poor parade with no carnival spirit at all.
Georgio Allan

A.: Although I agree with you, give Pafos a chance dear reader. It needs the appropriate history and spirit to have the atmosphere needed.
A few yers ago the Nicosia Mayor Mr Lellos Demetriades, was asked why Nicosia has no carnival parade etc. His reply was “yes we can have a carnival parade, but then we will not have the Limassol people to support it” – A wise answer. Give Pafos a chance and maybe in 3-5 years it will get the spirit needed. Aglantzia Municipality is trying (Nicosia) to build up a similar parade, but it is not, in my estimation up to it at this point of time.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/38305-td
1.3.2017

No.2185
Q.: Dear Mr. Loizou,

Your column in the paper has helped many people over the years and I find
myself in need of help.

Last year I took advantage of the Government's offer to insulate my home
(outside walls and inside ceilings) and claim re-imbursement from them.
Work commenced on February 8 and took ten days. I completed all forms and
paid everybody. Copy quotation attached and approval to the tune of 35%
attached dated 6th November, 2016 from Government which amount to only 35%
not the 50% advertised.

My problem is thirteen (13) months have now elapsed and, despite me
furnishing original receipts and copy bank statements to prove I paid these
bills, I have still not received re-imbursement and am now being told that
there is a problem because I paid cash???? I have proof of payment which I
have furnished them with being receipts and corresponding withdrawals (bank
statements) from my bank. Surely this is not legal. They cannot withhold
this money when I have done nothing wrong and can prove payment of all bills
submitted.

Can you please advise me what steps I should take to reclaim this money to
which I am legally entitled?

If you decide to publish this would you please withhold my name and address.

I look forward to hearing from you as any advice you can give me would me
greatly appreciated. My husband is vy sick with Parkinson's disease and I am
in need of these funds. This, however, is by the way and has no bearing on
the legality of this transaction. I am under a great deal of stress at the
moment and to have the Government renege on payment promised is really not
acceptable.

Kind regards
(name withheld)


A.: I note what you say in your letter. Presumably the Government wants to have the Bill for the payments, with the name and ID number of the recipient. Proving that you have paid is one thing, but also proof of the Bill, names of the contractors etc should go together. Let me know if I got it right.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38323-td
6.3.2017

No.2186
Q.: I note what you say for the Famagusta area Velvet Revolution and your disappointment of inaction by the local Municipalities.
Has anything come out of it?
N. Karageorgis

A.: I am in tοuch with some Mayors of the district who want to discuss my views. Let’s see how it goes dear reader.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2187
Q.: How right you are Mr Loizou about the Sotira beach weddings. We are now having a number of requests for this beach venue to the extent that the Municipality cannot cope.
Ninos Kattos

A.: There you are my dear reader. I hope I was of some help.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2188
Q.: I have been following your article on the Fishing Harbor and the comments made by various people. I did not seem to note your response.
Michael Yiannos

A.: The paper did not want to use its space for the purpose although I have responded to those who disagree with me.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

3/38362-td
16.3.2017

No.2190
Q.: We have noted what you say about seasonal short lets and the “free” income that these lets can produce. We have a private house with all our belongings etc and we want to let it for at least a year. We are asking for €12.000/year and with all the furniture/equipment of top quality and pool. The house is at (X) village and it is in tip-top condition.
What is the difference if we decide to venture in short lets?
Regards,
Mike & Andrea

A.:Seasonal lets can create a problem regarding maintenance and tenants behavior/ no. of people occupying the property etc. It is known that tenants with wet suits coming off the pool sit on the couch, whereas the a/c is operational at all hours. Yes you get a higher income with short lets, but seeing that your house is fully occupied and in tip top condition as you say, I would opt for the lower income and 12 month let period.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38335-td
20.3.2017

Νο.2189
Q.: Dear Sir,
I have 2 queries and would appreciate your feedback:
1. I intend to build a house in the Limassol suburbs near Palodia. There is a restaurant next door and they have built a venue for concerts and parties there. This is just about 2 minutes from where I intend to build. Are there any laws about noise restrictions because he will have music, speakers etc.
2. Are there any laws regarding barking dogs in Limassol. My next door neighbour has 2 dogs and from the moment they leave the house until the moment they return they are constantly barking non stop. This has been going on for the past 10 years and is really driving us crazy.
We have approached our neighbours nicely but they said nothing doing.
Would appreciation your expert help.
Many thanks.
A.N.

A.: In both cases if the restaurant/dogs create a nuisance you can report the matter to the Police/or take your own private legal action.
For the restaurant and provided it has a permit for the purpose, it will be a matter of fact and for the “judge” to decide if it does create nuisance for your future house to be.
Regarding the dogs there are a couple of court decisions recently that penalized the owners for the nuisance with a substantial penalty.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38370-td
20.3.2017

No.2191
Q.: I have now learned that the restriction on development of a single house within agricultural areas has been removed. So what is the situation now dear Mr Loizou?
Harris Paul

A.: It means that development can take place for a single house in agricultural areas provided it has access and of a minimum size of 4.000 sq.mts. It is good news for those who bought agricultural land on the expectation of house development and then found out that they cannot do it. I will need a couple of weeks dear reader in order to ascertain the new parameters. In any case, it will be easier to build now than under the previous regulations. I will let you know.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
No.2192
Q.: Do you think that the Larnaca port project will happen Mr Loizou? I have property near the port and its development will affect most positively my own property and of course the town as a whole.
Andreas Lambrou

A.: I wish that it happens, even after 20 years of waiting (permit me to have my reservations). The problem is not only the sheer size of the project, but more importantly the Larnaca people (pressure groups) who do not know what they want. So even if we have interested parties, we will have to wait the response from those pressure groups.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
No.2193
Q.: We have followed your advice Mr Loizou and venture to invest in development land at the Protaras/Famagusta region. We were told by various agents in the area that prices are going through the roof. Is this as a result of your recent articles you think?
Tony Lambrou & Helena
A.: I wish that I have such an influence dear readers. I just recorded what is happening at this point of time. There is a most positive future for the region as circumstances stand at present. Winter tourist demand has increased by approximately 25% over the past 2 months, whereas the interest from the German market cannot be met (lack of beds), notwithstanding the 15% increase in bed capacity for the region over the last year. Land is one product to invest as well as shops on busy roads with a positive future (as the tourist numbers increase). See also our article on villas to let – Most interesting. A hotel operator at Protaras has recently bought 50 small villas in the region from a financier, half completed, in order to venture in this business (and this was the result of our reports as the buyer told us).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
No.2194
Q.: Regarding the Ayia Napa marina dear Mr Loizou, don’t you think that the main investor being an Arab, the village will be hosting them causing some sort of upset to the locals?
(name withheld)

A.: You remind me of the Dutch elections dear reader. I take it that you are not a racist, but I can tell you that Arab buyers are big spenders, cause no problem in their behaviour, so I do not share your concern. Various nationalities have their own peculiarities. Germans for example do not particularly like a resort where Russians are, whereas the British market has an objection to see other British of the lower end living in the same hotel etc.
Bear in mind that any foreign investor of a big scale is most welcome (see Chinese – Israelis etc) and I expect that they will bring their own customers from markets unknown to us. Now that Cyprus Airways is dead and buried all sort of operators have approached Cyprus. The problem might be with the Brexit notwithstanding our long standing excellent relations.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2195
Q.: Your article on investing in agriculture has received a lot of likes and I am following your advice to plant prickly pear trees. I now know that there are local plants with little water requirements, low cost and good returns etc and other investors are following your suggestions, some part of my own family.
Johan Hass

A.: Agriculture of such nature require little investment, especially if one leases suitable land for the purpose as opposed of buying. Agriculture, which, we, as locals, seem to ignore (based on the past experience) this form of investment is of a low cost nature. If one is to examine the income producing for certain agricultural investments, supply cannot cope with demand. Areas to examine regarding colokasi is the Famagusta region, as well as for strawberries, whereas the expected halloumi demand, might worth looking into the creation of goat farms but on a professional basis (large investment).
Regards,
A.P.Loizou

No.2196
Q.: Why is your Q+A column reported in Cyprus Weekly only and not in other papers/sites? Are you in an exclusive partnership of some sort?
George Gakes (London Cypriot)

A.:Yes we are in partnership to achieve the goal to help the readers – nothing else whereas the reaction we get from the readers are most encouraging to continue.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou
________________________________________________________________
No.2197
Q.: We have just come back from a super cruise trip at USA where we visited various small islands in the Caribbean which appear on the TV as being like paradise. What a disappointment Mr Loizou. Not clear waters, lovely seaview and picturesque islands but that is all. “Let’s go home” I told my wife “what is this”? No personal services most expensive on shore facilities etc and looking at the poor native people we did not like.
Alexander (non Cypriot)

A.:I do not like to blow our own horn for Cyprus dear reader, since I am not unbiased on the subject. I have read your elongated letter and the cost of €20.000 for 2 weeks in 6 star boat. I still feel that local and foreign people in Cyprus have not visited the island away from the tourist places as restaurants and agrotourism. I have decided to have every Sunday an excursion exploring rural Cyprus (restaurant based).
* First week – Ayia Varvara village – Nicosia. All the best. Price for 2 people with wine €40.
* Second week – Yourri village. Local family tavern with all sorts of meze dishes - Cost €30 for 2 – with wine.
* Fikardou village – A preserved village with magnificent architecture. Worth just to visit the village. The food is reasonable/good. Cost with wine €38 two persons.
* Ayia Anna – offering meze and other food (sougla, moussaka, spaghetti in oven etc) plus wine to go. Cost €38 two persons.
* Ayii Vavatsinias village – Nothing to talk about, but the restaurant is runned by a family – head is Chloe. Just to get into the spirit of the family is worth it. It reminds me of our own family (my father and mother) who runned an establishment at Platres - Cost €25 two persons.
All prices including carafe wine.
Sweets, coffee and presents free.
Stay in Cyprus dear reader and explore the place.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou



3/38373-td
22.3.2017

Q.: Thank you for your kind reply. Unfortunately the police are no help at all regarding the dogs and he trouble is if I go to the local municipality of Agios Athanasios, I don’t want to give my name as do not really want bad relations with the neighbours even though they are not considerate about us not being able to enjoy our home or have any visitors.

Regarding the other matter, can you let me know how can I find out if this restaurant has a permit. It is called Do Re Mi (Santa Irene) near Palodia. Would I contact GOT>

By the way, we sold our flat in Larnaca through your agency and thanks for your service.

Anne-Marie


A.: Many thanks for your reply. You must visit the local Town Planning Office with the plot/site plan of your own house and indicate to them where the restaurant is to be built and examine the situation and the stipulated terms of the permit if any.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38382-td
24.3.2017

Νο.2198
Q.: I have read with interest and with some worry that my neighbour can build another floor. Surely the 20% building density increase cannot apply for an added floor.
Mark Philips

A.: It applies only if the local planning zone allows the added floor i.e. it is permitted 2 floors and the neighbour built only one.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2199
Q.: I intend to send a letter to the local Planning Authority objecting for any allowance to be given to my neighbours, which will cause my reduction in privacy.
Nic & Tereza

A.: No harm done to do it dear readers. Send a copy of your title/sales contract and the site plan showing where your property is. If successful, please let me know so that we can inform other readers as well (I doubt the outcome mind you).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2200
Q.: I have heard about a certain local bush locally known in Cyprus as “aorati” which are low lying having approximately 1 meter height, green in all season and required little water. We are thinking of using them in our garden to keep it green on the one hand, yet not blocking our views and having no borehole water it helps.
Pieris Panos

A.: You are correct in your description. These sort of forest bushes are found mainly in the Famagusta region. I have checked with our own gardener who agrees with your information. These sort of bushes can be bought from nurseries. I will be planting 6 plants in a small patch we have in the garden. My main worry is if snakes etc habitate underneath since it is difficult to see what is happening underneath.
Regards,
A.P. Loizou

No.2201
Q.: We have two homes Mr Loizou. One near the seaside and another in Nicosia. We planted Cypress trees in both and at the same time. The seaside ones are now 8 mts. height and with a 2 meters in diameter (with the branches) and the Nicosia one has reached around 4 mts. and within 1 meter radius. The reason please?
Nicos Levil

A.: Regrettably this is how it goes. The seaside areas with the milder weather and the humidity seem to help the trees grow. You must examine also the soil quality of your Nicosia house if it is rocky etc (if it is you will not see your trees grow I am afraid). Rocky and shallow soil grounds are difficult to accept trees ordinary and it is good that you have opted a forest tree. Of course, the best tree for the purpose is eucalyptus tree, but this causes all sorts of other problems (avoid it).
Regards,
A.P. Loizou


3/38387-td
29.3.2017

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