Property Complaints Office

Protest

Protest

This article is not a warning not to buy property in north Cyprus; it’s about what happens in the rare cases when things go wrong. The current government have focused on improving the construction industry but at the moment they do not seem to be countering a view that the judicial system and the Property Complaints Office set up in 2007 had seriously failed homebuyers. Some of these homebuyers seem to also be questioning whether the Homebuyers Pressure Group (HBPG) set up in September 2005 had effectively pressured the government of the time into solving the thousands of cases they claim they had been approached about. In fact, some feel that the HBPG are intolerant of other homebuyer groups who actually do put pressure on the government.

It was interesting following up some of the 30 cases which the www.trnc-pco.com website was monitoring at the time. Although this programme only looked at around 10% of the total cases it does give an idea of the measure of failure of the Property Complaints Office set up by the previous government. Those involved in Case 27 (Latchfords), Case 40 (Kocinski) and Case 48 (Clarkes) formed their own action group; the Aga Buyers Action Group (ABAG.) Sandra and Greg Kocinski bought property in 2003 and even won a court case against the notorious builder Gary Robb in 2006.

“In April 2006 a judgment was granted in our favour by Senior Judge Gulen Ozkamil against Gary Robb. To date Akan Gurkan, Vahib & Co (London) and Gunes Mentesh have been unable to enforce the Judgment. The British High Commission are now monitoring the case.”

We’ll let ABAG continue with their story of what happened after they were formed, but remember that these are not necessarily the views of the newspaper:

During the latter part of 2007 we visited the TRNC and had meetings with high level officials. Marian Stokes, the spokesperson for Homebuyers’ Pressure Group (HBPG) was out of the country at the time, but we made every effort to follow the guidelines laid down by that organisation and duly visited the Property Complaints Office (PCO) as it was then called. We handed in four files, ours and those of 2 other AGA Victims in front of a UK Government official who happened to be visiting the PCO at the time.  We were met there by Neceibe (a Turkish Cypriot government lawyer) and during that meeting various promises that the problems would be handled as a matter of urgency were made by the PCO staff. A copy of the file regarding Suz Latchford’s (Case 27) property purchase was also handed over to Hasan Sungur who, during various meetings and meals shared with him throughout the week, had promised his personal assistance.

After our visit, several emails were received from HBPG and Hasan Sungur (PCO) informing us that in an attempt to find a solution there had been numerous meetings and correspondence with Serap Destegul (representing the government)l, & Kutsel Tokatloglu (A Director Of Aga Development).

In one email, dated May 31st 2008, Hasan Sunger assures ABAG that the PCO had obtained a guarantee from Kutsel concerning their properties. In another email, dated June 19th 2008, Marian Stokes of HBPG promises “I will do whatever it takes to get all your money refunded as quickly as possible.”

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