Leptos Estates protest in south Cyprus – 2nd May 2010

Leptos Protest - 2nd May 2010

The Leptos Property Action Group (LPAG) protest in the south went ahead yesterday, with over a hundred protesters marching along Paphos seafront demanding their Title Deeds. Considering that, according to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, there are supposed to be 100,000 outstanding deeds this turnout shows that the vast majority of people seem to be apathetic about this issue, despite some people waiting 30 years for them. However, those who bought from Leptos Estates seem to still be angry with the company.

Many protesters were incensed at the closure of the Cyprus Property Action Group website following a writ against Denis O’Hare, the website’s owner. The CPAG website was a focus point for property issues and a thorn in the side of developers who are being allowed to take advantage of the fact that until the government transfers Title Deeds to the buyers the developer is able to use them to raise mortgages as ongoing finance for their businesses.

Leptos Estates response to Cyprus Mail’s article entitled ‘property action group is gagged’ was:

In those publications (CPAG website) numerous of our company’s projects were described as problematic due to issue of separate title deeds for the properties therein. However these properties had separate title deeds actually long before those publications. Any third person reading those publications would be dissuaded from purchasing any of the properties described in this article. More than that, these publications harm directly all our customers who want to sell such properties.

In other words, CPAG was wrong about some of the Leptos properties but not all. Leptos used the fact that the accusations about them were poorly worded in order to close the website down. In return they poorly worded their own response in order that it was not clear that in some cases CPAG were right, for example in the case of Lydia and Malcolm Rattue whose allegations can be found on a copy of the banned CPAG website at www.3cyprus.com.

One possibility for the lack of turnout was that many property victims felt intimidated by developers who could blackmail property owners using the title deeds they held to force them into keeping quiet. Meanwhile, because of the decline in the construction industry it is becoming more likely that construction companies will fail and banks will call in mortgages and property owners will become homeless.

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