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North Cyprus property sales are still hotly disputed

Recent media coverage of the High-Court case brought against British expatriates David and Linda Orams has once again kicked up a cloud of dust over the North Cyprus property market.

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On March 30th 2010 the Orams’ North Cyprus property conflict officially reached its conclusion in the British Supreme Court, with judges upholding the High Court’s previous decision ordering the couple to demolish their villa in Lapithos on the island’s north coast, and pay compensation to the land’s dispossessed Greek-Cypriot owner Meletis Apostolides.

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The judgement carries far-reaching consequences for North Cyprus' homeowners

The court’s decision has much wider implications than the dispute over the ownership of a single villa, as it spells disaster for the expatriate owners of around 1,400 similarly disputed homes across the TRNC. What’s more, the judgement is rather predictably being used in some circles to spread the word among overseas homebuyers that North Cyprus’ property sales are unsafer than ever, when the reverse is in fact true.

In a landmark judgement on March 5th 2010, almost four weeks before the verdict in the Orams case, the European Court of Human Rights officially recognised the TRNC’s Immovable Property Commission as a legitimate means to arbitrate Greek/Turkish Cypriot landownership disputes.


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Stemming the tide of follow-up lawsuits

In effect, this judgement forestalled a flood of similar lawsuits once the verdict in the Orams North Cyprus property case had been announced.

But whatever the case may be, the simple fact remains that although there are, as before, significant risks attached to buying the wrong piece of land, or a property on it, there is now an unprecedented level of transparency on the TRNC’s real estate market. Finally, the prospective homebuyer has the ability to clearly distinguish between a legitimate purchase, and one which will potentially lead to financial ruin.

But the Euopean Court's decision does little to relieve the Orams' North Cyprus woes

While developments in the courts of Europe may have made purchasing real estate in the TRNC a safer proposition for future buyers, they may appear catastrophic for other homeowners like the Orams. North Cyprus does after all contain a great many properties which belonged to Greek Cypriots prior to 1974, just as the Republic of Cyprus still holds substantial tracts of land previously under Turkish Cypriot ownership.

But things are not quite as they might appear, since the courts’ rulings effectively restricts dispossessed landowners on both sides of the dispute to either seek redress using the TRNC’s Immovable Property Commission, or to wait for the Cyprus issue to be resolved once and for all diplomatically. Future one-on-one land disputes being taken to the European Courts now seem unlikely in light of juristic developments.

Meanwhile, although the Orams have begun to comply with the judgements by filing the application to have their villa demolished with the TRNC’s government, the powers that be seem disinclined to issue the relevant permit, so it looks as though this legendary conflict has just turned yet another major corner. We’ll keep you posted as and when things happen.

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The Facts about Cyprus

In light of the prolonged finger-pointing about the evils of North Cyprus' property ownerships, and the validity of title deeds issued by the TRNC, it's interesting to note that the Nicosia British High Commission website now features a rather prolonged list of things to look out for when buying property in both north and south Cyprus.

Aphrodite tells you what others don't, so if you're interested in getting the real facts about Cyprus, our site is littered with them.
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Disclaimer. Please note that the information given on this website is displayed for guidance purposes only. It does not replace the need for professional advice, either legal or otherwise. E&OE

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