Land Registry confirms some sales of occupied property

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Director of Cyprus Land and Surveys Department Andreas Christodoulou has said that officially no transfer has taken place of Greek Cypriot occupied properties to individuals from EU countries or to companies whose shareholders are EU citizens.

However, he added that a small number of Greek Cypriot occupied properties have been sold to Greek Cypriots.

Christodoulou said that transactions concerning immovable properties in the occupied areas were made only by Greek Cypriots to their children or other relatives and by Turkish Cypriots to their relatives.

Interior ministry decides

Christodoulou said that in April 2005 a Greek Cypriot applied formally to the Land and Surveys Department to sell five plots of land he has in the occupied town of Kyrenia to a British company and that his application was forwarded to the Interior Minister who will take the final decision.

He explained that, according to the law regarding the safety of the state, the Interior Minister is the one responsible for giving the approval for transactions of Greek Cypriot property in the Turkish-occupied north to a person who is not Greek Cypriot.

He said that as the Cyprus Republic does not exercise control in the occupied areas, the Department cannot approve such transactions, and that each case must be approved by the Interior Minister.

Invited to say if a Greek Cypriot can sell his occupied property to another Greek Cypriot, the Land and Surveys Department Director said that this is allowed and that there have been a small number of such transactions.

He said that these transfers to physical and legal persons can take place as long as the shareholders of the legal persons are Greek Cypriots.

Invited to comment on purchases of properties with private contracts, Christodoulou said that these contracts are not submitted to his Department for the transaction and so he could not know if they exist.

He noted that for the time being he could not tell what will happen with these contracts if the Cyprus problem is solved, noting that if such contracts are submitted to his Department they will be sent to the Interior Ministry for the final decision.