ANNOUNCEMENT: UK Adviser is now PA Adviser. Read more.

Warning for expat homeowners in northern Cyprus after UK court ruling

The UK Court of Appeal has upheld a decision forcing a British couple to hand over their northern Cyprus home to its former owner who fled during the Turkish invasion of 1974

|

The UK Court of Appeal has upheld a decision forcing a British couple to hand over their northern Cyprus home to its former owner who fled during the Turkish invasion of 1974.

The judgement provides that orders made in the Republic of Cyprus court be upheld and registered in the UK. The decision also banned any further appeals to the UK’s Supreme Court.
 

Linda and David Orams had fought a lengthy legal battle to save their "dream home". The ruling will mean the couple now has to surrender possession of the property, destroy the villa they built there and pay the legal costs borne from the London and Luxembourg proceedings to claimant Meletis Apostolides.
 

The decision also means the couple will have to pay rent for the period they occupied the disputed land.
 

Cypriot property woes

The Cypriot property market has had a tumultuous few years. In 2006, at the peak of the divided country’s property boom, authorities struggled to keep up with title deed applications, and as a result many owners in southern Cyprus have been left with no evidence of property ownership.
 

More recently, the weakening sterling has discouraged many UK investors in the south, who it is estimated at one point made up 50% of overseas buyers, from purchasing property in the region and has forced others to simply sell-up and go back to the UK.
 

The resulting slump has seen sales in the south, which is more popular with expats, fall by around 90%, with only 1,761 sales to overseas buyers recorded in 2009, against 11,281 in 2007.
 

Nigel Howarth, a UK expat who runs property website www.news.cyprus-property-buyers.com, said the ruling would be of concern to those in a similar position to the Orams with properties in northern Cyprus but could encourage buyers back to the south.
 

“The UK Government does warn people against buying property in Northern Cyprus so I believe the Orams took this risk knowing very well what they were getting into,” said Howarth.
 

“However, this ruling could act as a positive for southern Cyprus which has witnessed a tremendous fall in overseas buyers. As there is not a property price index here it is hard accurately equate but property prices have suffered greatly due to the drop in overseas buyers.

"In Paphos, which had been the most popular destination for UK and other overseas buyers, we have seen sales slump by around 73% from its peak.”

Latest Stories