Property Disputes in Cyprus
Information on the legal system in Cyprus with regards to property disputes and the correct legal steps to be followed. Details on the types of property disputes that most commonly arise, and how to resolve them...
There are many different possible property disputes which might occur. It is advised that those involved in such a dispute contact a qualified lawyer. The most common property disputes in Cyprus are discussed in brief below.
Disputes Between Landlord and Tenant
The relevant legislation governing such disputes is the Rent Control Law 23/1983. Tenancy disputes are one of the most common types of property disputes in Cyprus. The cause of disagreement is often an increase of the rent. The rent is specified in the agreement between landlord and tenant but when the period mentioned in the agreement has expired, landlords have the legal right to seek to increase the rent. If the tenant disagrees with such an increase, the dispute might end up in Court. According to Cyprus law the maximum increase which can be imposed every two years should not exceed 90% of the average rent price in the area where the property is located or an increase of 8%.
Another issue which often arises is a tenant who does not wish to leave the property after the expiry of the time period determined by the tenancy agreement. In Cyprus a tenant who stays in possession of the property after the expiry of the initial period is called a Statutory Tenant. It is very difficult to evict a Statutory Tenant. There are very few reasons a Court would accept for the eviction of such a tenant, such as non-payment of rent or the the landlord requiring the property for his own or his family’s habitation.
Another type of dispute regarding property is nuisance disputes. The governing law is the Civil Wrongs Law (Cap 148). A common example of such a dispute relates to complaints over noise.
In such cases, the person whose right to enjoy his property has been compromised due to a neighbour’s actions may apply to Court for an injunction order and/or damages, depending on the circumstances. The Court in reaching to a decision has to balance the rights of both parties to enjoy their properties.
A less common type of property dispute is trespass. Trespass is the unlawful entry to another person’s property and/or damage to his property. The Civil Wrongs Law (Cap 148) is the relevant law. A claimant in Court in such cases will usually seek an Injunction to prevent the trespass from continuing and will often seek damages which may have occurred due to the trespass, such as the loss of the ability to rent the property. Although trespass is not common in the areas controlled by the legitimate government of Cyprus, trespass is common in the occupied area of Cyprus and there are several claims in Court against foreigners who illegally bought houses owned by Greek Cypriot refugees from Turkish Cypriots who are not the legitimate owners of the properties.
Although not very common, sometimes the boundaries of a property are disputed. Such disputes are referred to the Land Registry for a decision. The Director of the Land Registry has the authority to decide such matters after he receives an application from the disputing parties.
The Land Registry will place land markers on the disputed land which will serve to demonstrate what the boundaries are according to the records of the Land Registry. If one of the parties disagrees with the decision of the Land Registry, he or she will have 30 days to appeal the decision. The dispute will then be decided by the Court, which will either uphold or overturn the decision of the Land Registry.
Property disputes are relatively common in Cyprus, in particular tenancy disputes. Besides the property disputes discussed above, there are several other types of disputes which might arise. In the event of a property dispute, consult a lawyer so that he or she can advise you on the appropriate legal route which needs to be followed.
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