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Houses in agricultural areas in Cyprus

7 May 2017

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Houses in agricultural areas in Cyprus

We always believe that Governmental decisions on the subject of real estate (and others) should follow deliberations with developers/local authorities/owners etc, so that all views are heard. Regrettably the Technical Chamber (ETEK) who is supposed to be the advisor to the Government for technical matters is not up to standard (it is runned by Governmental employees who take the initial decisions in the first place!!).

We wrote on the subject in the past on the change of the Governmental planning policy in building one’s home within agricultural areas (outside development zones) and the anticipated problems, social and economic matters that this change of legislation would have brought about.

After 3 years and within wider public and other pressures, the Government has decided to cancel this strict restriction which means that the previous state of affairs would prevail, much to the public’s relief and that of the financiers.

Notwithstanding the now more liberal measure, there is a basic difference from the previous policy i.e. there is no more as of right to apply for a house development if one has access. The new interpretation given is that the local authority may (if it so thinks correct) to provide the permit. In this context and from what we have understood (no clear answers received pending clear instructions from the Ministry) it means that:

  • Any plot, provided that it has a public or private access (i.e. a right of way) can secure a permit with the prevailing building density i.e. mostly 10%.

  • Plots within Natura, land consolidation (under discussion) areas, industrial/animal farming etc cannot have this benefit.

  • The “applicant” plot must be near the development zone/or to have surrounding development.

  • The proximity of the plot to the development zone should not exceed 500-1.000 meter run.

  • The plot is to be used as permanent residence and up to a maximum of ±240 sq.mts.

  • Public electricity is to be provided as well as water supply (be it potable water from a borehole).

  • The social criteria introduced in the previous policy will no longer count, neither the previous requirement of the applicant being “local” etc.

These and other restrictions mind you are submitted with full reservation based on what we have understood by various planning officers who provided us the information with their own reservation, since they have no guidelines to go by themselves.

Restricting development in agricultural areas, is a good measure, but to change the regulations from one day to another is bad. A certain grace period ought to be given to owners/financiers (who place these plots in mortgage as a security) and for those whose value is depreciated to take some sort of precautions (e.g. to secure a permit and complete the house say within the next 5 years). A similar measure applied in the U.K. back in the 1950’s, when the Government introduced planning zoning and provided compensation for those whose values has been discounted. Not possible in this country with the economic situation and what we suggest is one alternative.

We always believe that Governmental decisions on the subject of real estate (and others) should follow deliberations with developers/local authorities/owners etc, so that all views are heard. Regrettably the Technical Chamber (ETEK) who is supposed to be the advisor to the Government for technical matters is not up to standard (it is runned by Governmental employees who take the initial decisions in the first place!!).

For those readers who have suffered damage under the previous regulations there is an opportunity to act to protect the value of their asset and more importantly to secure their investment dream.

We hope that this article is read by as many people as possible, so that the damage to the owners is reduced as much as possible. We will have to keep an eye on the new expected regulations and we will come back to you.

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