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Title Deeds













Pre 1974 Title Deeds

North Cyprus Title Deeds

Due to the non recognition of the Turkish Republic of Cyprus, TRNC, by the international community, it is legitimate to raise the question of the legal standing of Title Deeds which a property purchaser will acquire in North Cyprus.

Although the TRNC administration or government has guaranteed all TRNC Title Deeds issued by the Land Offices or Tapu, there are several commentators who claim that all TRNC Title Deeds are not equal. In particular they refer to pre 1974 Title Deeds as absolutely safe or providing the gold standard against which all other Title Deeds should be judged.




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Foreign or International, that is non Turkish, ownership pre-1974: -
This Title Deed would have been held in the name of a foreign owner of land, eg a British, Dutch or German passport holder at 1974. Therefore, the land and any property which stands on it would not have been owned by and then abandoned by a Greek CYpriot who fled to the South in the partition of Cyprus during 1974.

Property of this type is not common. There are cases of British servicemen who bought land prior to 1974 in North Cyprus, often when they retired after serving at the British bases in South Cyprus. This category of Title Deed has traditionally been highly valued and can provide the quickest route to purchase as there is no requirement for the approval of the Council of Ministers.

The prices for such land with this type of Title Deed are high if not exorbitant. The other feature of much of this land is that it is often in unattractive locations. Although it is difficult to generalise, if a donum of TRNC Title Deed land is selling for around £30,000, then if that land had an Foreign or International Title Deed, then the price would be more than £60,000.

Turkish Cypriot owned pre-1974: -
Property in this category can be registered in your name after approval has been sought by the Council of Ministers.

Foreign buyers have been traditionally restricted to the ownership of one donum of land per person - a married couple count as one person. However, it has always been possible to register the first of a series of purchases in one name, eg Mr Jones, and the next in the other, eg Mrs Jones or the lady's maiden name. However, since 2009, this restriction has been relaxed and foreign buyers can now take title to up to 5 donums of land. Again, if a husband and wife make separate registrations, this effectively becomes 10 donums, which is more than 3 acres.

The process of awaiting Permission to Purchase can take from 6 months to several years. However, you can take legal occupation of the property during this time, although the Title Deeds remain in the name of the previous owner. A purchaser's TRNC lawyer would normally require a Power of Attorney from the vendor to deal with the land on the purchaser's behalf in the interim.

However, during 2010 the TRNC Land Office has exhibited reluctance to register this type of deed in the name on a non TRNC national, and this has led to severe disappoint. A number of reasons can be given, some more cogent than others. Therefore foreign purchasers should take care when considering pre 1974 Turkish Cypriot Title Deed land.

Again, properties and land with this type of North Cyprus Title Deeds are rare, expensive and often in unattractive locations.

On cloud 9 with the Nebula

So, are these rare Title Deeds worthy of consideration ?

The attraction of pre 1974 Title Deed land has always been the fact that it cannot be claimed by a dispossessed Greek Cypriot, who fled from North Cyprus in 1974 in order to reside in the South. The corollary of this is the fear that a dispossessed Greek Cypriot, or his heirs, may claim TRNC land which does not have pre 1974 Title Deeds.

A brief examination of the facts undermines and repudiates this myth. There is only a single case in which a dispossessed Greek Cypriot has managed to force a purchaser from a house. This is the celebrated or infamous case of Linda and David Orams. It should be noted that, even in this case, the dispossessed Greek Cypriot managed to force the Orams to leave the house and land, but he has not been able to take possession of the house and land.



Avalon of Arthurian Legend

In conclusion, the search for the Holy Grail of pre 1974 Foreign Title Deed land is a misplaced effort, based on a delusion of security. As the prospect of unification of the island under a phase 2 Annan style Plan gradually fades away, and reality begins to dawn, purchasers will be amused at those people who paid exorbitant prices for pre 1974 Title Deed land.

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