Properties worth millions registered ‘zero value’

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Expensive properties are sold for millions of euros but are recorded as having zero value with the Land Registry, meaning the state is missing out on sizeable tax revenues, according to opposition party AKEL.

Citing a 400-page document, AKEL MP Andreas Pasiourtides told the House’s Interior Committee that hundreds of properties appear to have a total value of just €22,000.

Pasiourtides claimed the list includes hotels, shops, and apartment buildings presented in the general evaluation of the DLS as having zero value.

He made special reference to a Larnaca hotel which sold for €8.5 mln, but according to the Land Registry, it had no value.

He claimed that many real estate in commercial cores of cities were also recently sold for millions while appearing to be worthless.

Pasiourtides argued that such sales –officially listed as “zero-value” – might lead to a significant loss of state revenue through missed taxes.

He said neither local authorities nor sewerage boards have the right property values to be able to tax property owners.

Also, the Inland Revenue Department does not have the market values at the time of the transaction, so that it can compare and impose the Capital Gains Tax.

The AKEL MP asked the Land Registry and the authorities involved to identify these properties, appraise them, and assign their true value so the state does not lose more revenue.

Responding to the MP’s claims, Land Registry official Varnavas Pashoulis told the House that although there may be isolated cases of real estate being valued at zero, their numbers are small and “definitely not in the thousands”.

He explained that the legislation stipulates that estimating properties is carried out every three years for equality regarding new developments.

Pashoulis argued they had been idle properties since 1980, meaning that no transfer, sale, or other activity has been carried out.

“That means their value is not updated.”

He said the process is completely transparent, and the value of properties is available to the public online.

Chair of the House Interior Committee Aristos Damianou, also an AKEL MP, asked for “zero-value” cases to be submitted to parliament for review.