Not being an expert in the field of property, but, like everyone else, hearing what is said and being somewhat confused, I spoke to the Making North Cyprus Better movement, which is one that deals with property problems in general rather than individual terms, in an effort to find answers to put in print.
Talking with them, I was given an update on who they are, what they do, and an update on some of the problems which are the ones that act as potential deterrents on anyone buying at the moment. There are those who say it is a buyers market at the moment, and several estate agents report healthy sales, so to those who ask the question 'Is it a good time to buy?' I would suggest they read what Malcolm Mitcheson and Gultac Ozsan shared with me, speak to some estate agents, and to home owners, and then decide for themselves.
Firstly, a reminder as to what MNCB for those who are unaware:
"What does MNCB do, and how does it operate?
MNCB is described here to show how it is designed to fit in the TRNC picture.
Our main Objective: MNCB movement are a small group of people who love North Cyprus and are attempting to help make it more prosperous by attracting more private individuals to invest. We want to attract more people to invest in property and lifestyle in a way that enables the incoming wealth to be spread widely across the North Cyprus Community.
Our main efforts are geared to influencing the "powers that be" to amend property & residency policies, laws & processes to encourage a wide spectrum of investment in North Cyprus. We cooperate with any Group who share this approach. MNCB supports specific groups who have become victims due to the vagaries of the existing laws and processes. We work with group leaders and their lawyers by helping to develop holistic strategies. A group strategy normally includes Legal, Business, Media, and Government influence aspects.
MNCB members work entirely voluntarily and they are retired senior members of Business, Banking and the Judiciary. MNCB counsel is available to organisations or groups searching for genuine & reasonable resolution of injustice.
More can be read about this group at www.mncb2011.com or one may make contact through the joint secretaries by e mail as: Malcolm Mitcheson - [email protected]
Gultac Ozsan - [email protected]
Property Statement as at July 2014.
As mentioned above the group works to try to get changes in the law, where necessary, to ensure the property sector is one in which people can trust, and there are specific current problems which are causing concern one of which is the Great Stone Development. Here follows a statement concerning the recent Girne courts judgement on this development, which has brought into sharp focus the gross injustice of the present North Cyprus Lower Courts to deliver justice to home buyers.
As MNCB states "The Lower Court has again totally ignored the equitable, contracted & human rights of home buyers. This Judgement is not final is highly likely to be overturned eventually. The background information on the Great Stone issues is detailed further on, and it should be noted that this is not the end of the Great Stone story, the Judgement has been appealed, on strong grounds, to the TRNC Appeal Court and may go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
In the meantime (in its view) it is a matter of time and excruciating uncertainty for the home owners. This suffering is unnecessary. The Government should act.
This latest Judgment begs again the question, how much longer can the Government allow grave injustices such as this continue before intervention. Whilst Government inaction continues, MNCB hope that Great Stone buyers and their Lawyer will have the stamina to continue the fight for Justice.
The Property Laws of North Cyprus, in the view of experienced property lawyers, are being wrongly interpreted and require immediate amendment. Up until now the Government has just not got a grip on this issue. All that's required is law amendments to make the law apply the same way as in other European countries.
The Law amendments required are very simple, experts have spelled it out in detail. All that is required, is for the Government to act without wasting time.
Successive Governments appear to be hiding behind the excuse that there are more pressing things to do. This excuse is wearing thin, just why does the Government allow these injustices to continue. The Country is an investment Pariah for many. This depresses the North Cyprus Economy and continues to reduce the standard of living of Cypriots. It affects thousands of home buyers, both Cypriots and Expatriates. We sincerely hope the present Government will act now.
Successive Governments, who whilst in opposition have promised they will urgently fix things, to date have not delivered the changes when elected. MNCB have at various stages had promises from Presidents, Prime Ministers & others, yet to date the injustice continues.
Great Stone although all different in detail is caught in the same legal fog as Amaranta, Kulaksiz 5, Harmony, & Olympus, and thousands more too numerous to mention. The Lower Courts to date have not upheld TRNC's own 11/78 Property Laws or the laws of Contract, and tolerates with impunity unjust enrichment by errant Banks, Landowners & Developers. We ask when will the Government finally act and stop this Injustice."
Great Stone Development - Situation Summary
For those unfamiliar with the problems of the Great Stone Development in lapta, here follows a summary given by MNCB:
"The Great Stone Development in Lapta consists of nineteen villas.
The Landowner of the Great Stone Development agreed with the Development Company to sell the land for the construction of nineteen Villas, valuing it at £300,000, in consideration of the landowner being paid by the building of six Villas on retained
land after the remaining thirteen were sold to third parties.
From an early stage in the project the Landowner placed a Charge of £300,000 at interest over the bare land. The house buyers had a clause in their contracts allowing for payment of compensation for any delay in completion and an undertaking that on completion they would have unencumbered Kocans.
The Developer has not fulfilled his contracted obligations to the Landowner and the 13 Villa buying Third Parties. The development company is insolvent and has no means to
complete its contracted obligations.
The total development cost was estimated at £1,400,000. It is estimated that there is still outstanding £450,000 of works plus taxes of around £250,000 to complete the project (£37,000/ per Villa). So in overall terms the Developer has completed an estimated 60% of its contract obligations to villa buyers and an estimated 66% of its obligation to the Landowner.
The Landowner has already received, for his bare land, a consideration of 6 part completed villas valued at £400,000 plus and sought another £650,000 plus in compensation from the villa buyers, or alternatively has threatened to repossess the thirteen plots and part completed Villas sold to the third parties. It is contended that this is unreasonable and grossly unfair to the villa buyers.
The Courts Judgement which completely dispossess the home owners is fundamentally flawed.
The questions are: what is reasonable behaviour in these circumstances, and what is an equitable resolution. The house buyers initially put forward a proposed equitable resolution for completion at the demise of the developer but this was rejected by the landowner. He has sought through the Court to take back the land and all the built properties for himself.
Surprising the Lower Court completely ignored the considerable investment of the house buyers and granted the claim of the Landowner in a Judgement that beggars belief. The judgement is in direct contravention of equitable and human rights of the buyers and has granted the Landowner unjust enrichment he sought.
It is contended that from any reasonable perspective the Landowner & Villa Buyers all are all victims of the Developers demise, and if anything, the house buyers have suffered pro rata more and therefore their damages need to be recognised too with losses equitably shared amongst all the remaining contracting parties.
By any equitable standards the Judge should have acknowledged that the parties involved need to negotiate an acceptable settlement for both sides. Based on information received, if the majority of buyers agree, a possible equitable proposal could be:
The development could be completed at an estimated cost of £700,000. Kocan's can then be transferred to the third parties with the cost shared pro rata amongst the nineteen beneficial owners of Villas with owners not agreeing to an equitable proposal having the option of contracting out , with their villa taking a first charge of the completion cost at interest providing all other charges are removed. With this proposal cash no upfront cash lump sum would be required until the property is sold."
So the question remains 'Is this a good time to buy?' For all the failings of the past that are still being fought, one has to bear in mind that there are hundreds, if not thousands of properties, new and re-sale which have no difficulties surrounding them, and can prove to be an excellent purchase to bring the reality of living in 'paradise' into the lives of the many who dream of coming here. One must also bear in mind, that if the reality of actually living here is not quite the Paradise dreamt of, those very properties can be re-sold in the normal way with none of the problems facing the sites mentioned above.
There are many stories of happy purchasers, who would not swop their island home for anywhere else. So the question raised must be answered by the potential purchaser themselves.