The Northern area of Cyprus is under military occupation, with more than 40,000 heavily armed Turkish troops, since 1974.

It has experienced a property “sale” boom over the years, but the vast majority of the properties affected by this boom are owned by Greek Cypriots who were forcibly expelled from their homes by the Turkish military invasion when 170,000 Greeks Cypriots were forced out of their properties. These displaced people, and their descendants are still prevented by the Turkish armed forces from repossessing their homes.

Disturbingly, this occupied area has become a haven for unscrupulous business people to make a quick profit from illegal “sales” and development of Greek Cypriot land and property. (At the time of the invasion in 1974, around 82% of the land in the North was owned by Greek Cypriots).

Furthermore, many properties in this boom are being built as low quality buildings that will have problems in cases such as earthquakes. Also, the natural environment and archaeological sites are being destroyed to make room for unbridled development.

It must be noted that anyone engaging in the “sale”, “purchase” or development of Greek Cypriot owned property in the occupied North, without the consent of the legal owner does so illegally and at his own financial and legal risk. Such people are considered trespassers and can become a target for civil law suits in the Republic’s courts.

The rights of restitution of the homes of Greek Cypriot persons have been recognized by the European Courts of Human Rights. The court has found Turkey guilty of depriving Greek Cypriots of the use of their properties. The government of Turkey is obliged to make compensation and allow the refugees back to their properties.

To date, Turkey has not done this, thus violating fundamental human rights principles.

Governments of several countries, including the USA, UK, Russia, France, Spain, Hungary and Canada have issued special advisories with regard to property transactions in Northern Cyprus. These warnings alert prospective customers to the potential serious legal and financial consequences resulting from involvement in property development, sales, renting or other transactions of properties belonging to displaced Greek Cypriots.

While low prices are attracting certain buyers to the Turkish north of the Island, would-be purchasers should be aware that buying property in the North brings with it risks not in existence in the South, most notably the issue of clean title.


AIPP awaits verdict from European Court of Justice on Northern Cyprus

The Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) has received the opinion they sought from a senior barrister in London regarding the sale of properties in northern Cyprus. The opinion was discussed at the January Board meeting.
The AIPP is aiming to formulate a policy on the region, which best serves the interests of all potential purchasers and the industry and is in line with the organisation’s remit to ensure its members work honestly, legally and professionally. 
Before approaching the barrister, the AIPP also invited the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus and the Representative of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (‘TRNC’) – both based in London – to submit their views, relevant information or documents. 
‘All Board members had read the QC’s opinion in advance of the Board meeting,’ confirmed Paul Owen, Chief Executive of the Association. ‘After a relatively short discussion, all were agreed on the next course of action.
‘The QC has provided detailed insight into all relevant issues but with one important caveat,’ continued Owen. ‘His opinion highlights that the Orams’ case, a high profile legal case involving the purchase of property in northern Cyprus, is under appeal and due to be heard soon in the European Court of Justice. It was agreed that it would be imprudent to formulate the Association’s policy on northern Cyprus when a verdict from the European Court, a verdict with significant potential impact in this area, could well be imminent.’
The AIPP has requested details on the likely date for the appeal and awaits news.


Times Online, February 20, 2009

Legal problems with Northern Cyprus property

Following a ruling by the European court, British owners face huge damages

Kasia Maciejowska

Britons who bought holiday homes in Northern Cyprus may be forced to pay thousands of pounds in damages to the original Greek Cypriot owners of the land, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The judgment, expected later this year, will conclude a case that began in 2005, when a Cypriot court ordered a British couple, Linda and David Orams, to demolish their villa to pay compensation to Meledis Apostolides — the Greek Cypriot legal owner of the land. Like many other Britons, the Orams bought the land from Turkish Cypriots who took ownership illegally following the Turkish invasion of 1974, when an estimated 170,000 Greek Cypriots fled their homes. The case was referred to the EU court after the Orams opposed the ruling. The Advocate General, whose opinion is usually followed, has backed the Greek Cypriots. If this opinion is upheld, damages to the dispossessed population could be enforced against any assets owned elsewhere in the EU by non-Greek property owners.

EU court rules: Orams must demolish Cyprus house


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