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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Public still being conned by illegal estate agents ]

Public still being conned by illegal estate agents

WE HAVE written in the past about illegal estate agents in Cyprus and their unchecked behaviour, which contributes to the wrongs of the local building industry. This illegal practice is widespread and in particular Paphos is suffering from the numerous illegal estate agents, whose numbers surpass by far the legal ones at a ratio of three to one. The unsuspecting public (mainly foreign) is suffering because of their activities, whereas cheated buyers have no recourse.

The inefficiency on the part of the police has encouraged these illegal cowboys not only to set up, in full view, estate agency offices on the high streets, but also to print brochures, advertise locally and abroad, hold auctions and place full billboards along the motorways. Others, get a “cover up” in the form of a franchise and set up offices both in the Turkish held sector as well as in the Republic controlled areas, selling property owned by Greek Cypriots in the Turkish held areas to anyone who makes them an offer. We must cry “shame” to those Greek Cypriots who participate in this type of franchise, who, for profit, are happy to be related to the same organization that sells the unfortunate refugees’ properties. So, everybody is on it, mainly British and Cypriots (be it the latter to a far lesser extent), all for a quick dollar.

The estate agents law has been recently changed in order to regulate these illegal estate agents, but, alas, 99 per cent of them did not bother to apply for such registrations, because they do not want to be monitored and thus be responsible for their actions.

The recent example of an auction where a so called auctioneer “kept” the deposit paid by the unsuspecting buyer (now in court) is a case in hand, as is the recent fraud by an illegal estate agency against a British couple, who paid him £80,000 for a house which was never passed on to the developer.

The Minister of Interior has undertaken an investigation on the subject, but, by the time this investigation is completed (if ever) how many more unsuspecting people will lose money? You must be aware of the 60 home buyers at Paphos, who were promised by an illegal British estate agent “The Heaven” in that they were required to pay only 25 per cent down payment with the rest to be repaid through the project (through his own company) own lettings. These unfortunate 60 people, found out, 16 months later that such a project never existed (we were told by one of the buyers that the British police cannot intervene because this is an illegal act done in another country!). The local estate agent who collaborated with the above crook (British and regrettably locally licensed estate agent) is still free and about (yet) selling property to his compatriots!!

We must tell you also of our recent experience of a (regrettably again) British unlicensed estate agent selling houses at the Famagusta region, having a glossy brochure, using the Larnaca Phinikoudes promenade, the Ayia Napa beach and Limassol’s old city harbour (castle area) to promote his project in Sotira village. We represent in court one of the unsuspecting buyers and this case will see the public view very soon. It is not just the British: another project with 46 houses has been built on the beach without a permit by a well-known local developer and because of this, there is no electricity, but electricity is provided through a generator. So despite the fact that we have a fair share of solicitors, buyers find themselves buying property which is, for example, mortgaged (not wrong in itself) but not being able to secure a bank release. All these make the lack of titles for thousands of properties a “minor detail”.

In the meantime the whole page adverts will keep appearing in the local press so the heartache and financial ruin people will continue to increase. This EU country, although well ahead in these matters of places such as Greece, Italy and Spain (where they confiscate property without compensation) must learn not from those who are in a worse situation than Cyprus, but from those who are better. In this context we expect the Cyprus Property Action Group and the British Embassy to take the lead in informing foreign people (out of which 70 per cent are British) through not only their website, but also through publications, who are illegally practicing estate agencies.

Antonis Loizou & Associates Ltd – Property Valuers & Property Consultants. www.aloizou.com.cy, ala-HQ@aloizou.com.cy


(Source: Cyprus Mail)



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