North Cyprus Property | Kyerson Homes ‘Contract De-Registered’


North Cyprus Property | Kyerson Homes ‘Contract De-Registered’

We all read with disbelief the story Jan McDermott told us. Inspired by Jan’s courage we have another story from another victim of the Kyerson Homes scandal.

Despite the promises of a better tomorrow if we all registered our Contracts of Sale under the Estate Agents Act 2008, we now know that these Contracts we PAID to register can be de-registered without our knowledge or consent, just like mortgages can be taken out after purchase on unsuspecting victims’ properties by their former owner or indeed memorandums put on your property because of the former owner’s debts, also without your knowledge or consent. Does anyone else see this as unfair and unjust?

“This unhappy saga actually began well, in an olive grove in old Kyrenia, almost 9 years ago to the day. We had decided after several very nice holidays in N Cyprus, and a lot of thought, to look into purchasing a holiday home there. We saw several places, one or two which were completed and some which were not (including Amaranta valley, which was just an empty hole in the ground then). But having done our research, we settled on an off plan purchase of an apartment to be built in old Kyrenia. It was to be in a lovely spot, just 10 minutes or so from the centre of town and the old harbour. There would be a pool and the apartment was to be part of a gated community with security etc. We understood the potential for “political” issues as regards any Greek Cypriot land claims but felt that we had done enough research to ensure that these would not be a problem. As it turned out this was the least of our worries. We also understood the process of applying for permission to buy but again felt that the inevitably long time that this might take should not prevent us from going ahead. So, having appointed a well-respected advocate, and spoken with what seemed to be a professional and efficient local estate agent we signed our contract, and a local construction company moved on to the site and work began towards the end of 2004.

At first, things went smoothly and things were happening quickly. Building stages were reached, photographs were provided as evidence of progress and stage payments were made until we had eventually parted with £41 000. The buildings were up and the site really began to take shape. But then delays started to creep in and quite soon all works came to a halt. The first problem, we were told, was that the workforce – largely from mainland Turkey – did not have work permits and all of them were sent home. We were told that this was common to a lot of building projects at the time. But subsequently, although further work was done, the rate of progress never recovered. We continued to travel to N. Cyprus for holidays but much time was spent meeting with lawyers, builders and landowners trying to establish the truth behind what was really going on. I have lost track of all of the things that we were told over the following months and years. I recall the builder, Tayyar Ogurlu of Kyerson Homes, blaming the landowners for putting obstacles in his way but to be honest, he came up with so many excuses (as did his son, Jason) that it is unlikely that much credence can be given to anything he said. As time went on he left the Country more often, either for Turkey or Canada, for various reasons. We understand that he suffered poor health and one cannot help but wonder whether it was our money that was paying for his treatment! Anyway, we did what we could to keep up the pressure but despite promises, and despite an emergency call from Kyerson to get us to Kyrenia to choose bathroom fittings, paint and tiles; very little more work was ever done. We kept in touch with our own advocate, who also acted for the primary landowner, Arife Seckin, but over time it became increasingly clear that relationships between the landowners and the developer had broken down completely. Ironically, our permission to buy was approved!

I cannot recall how the next stage came about but in 2008 (I think) we were put in touch with another contractor Meric Eruklu (New Clouds). I believe that he may have wanted to enter into an arrangement with Kyerson to get the site completed, but it came to nothing. Similarly our lawyer had tried to broker an agreement with a 3rd party contractor, again to complete the site, but that too came to nothing – something to do with the transfer of a second plot of land, which could not be agreed upon.

In 2009, there seemed to be an opportunity for us to reach agreement direct with the landowner. By this time the original developer had virtually disappeared from the scene although there was clearly an unresolved dispute between him and the landowners. Arife Seckin’s son in law seemed to have taken things over by then and we met with him and his wife two or three times. It seemed that they were willing, indeed anxious, to complete the site (which by now was smaller since one of the original four blocks, on land belonging to someone else, had been fenced off, completed and sold). But of course the landowners wanted money (there were tales of unpaid architects fees, and planning application fees and problems) and as soon as we suggested that perhaps, if we were putting money in up front (and we had almost got to the point where we would have done that), then land title might be transferred things went very quiet. Also, of course nothing could really have been taken forward until the landowner’s dispute with the developer could be resolved by the Courts. We were just stuck in the middle, and could do nothing but watch from the sidelines.

Dates are a little hazy but in 2010 a change in the law seemed to suggest something that for once might be in our favour. We could, we were told, register our contracts with the Lands Registry. This would mean that no-one else could use the title to the land on which the buildings stood to raise money etc., and neither could it be sold. This, finally we thought, would provide some protection even if it took years for the matter to be resolved. Unfortunately we had underestimated Arife Seckin’s daughter (who I believe allegedly may be employed at the Lands Registry Office) and son in law, Kemal Ozturk.

I do not know whether the dispute between Tayyar Ogurlu and the Seckins has been resolved. I suspect that it has in view of the more recent developments. There have been times when all of our sympathies have been with the landowners, believing that all of the problems stemmed from the developer Kyerson Homes. They did, after all, have a great deal of money from stage payments yet clearly spent much less than they received. But with hindsight, in my own mind, I keep coming back to a conversation that I had with Tayyar Ogurlu in 2006 or 2007 when he first mentioned problems with the landowners (or rather the landowners daughters) and can’t help but wonder whether we may have got it wrong, even in part. But now of course it matters little. The result is that Kyerson (Tayyar Ogurlu) had the money, the landowners still have their land and what is on it, and we have nothing. The only certainty therefore is that we are the losers.

The most recent developments, at the end of last year and into 2013 have actually been the most difficult to cope with. We (all of the UK purchasers) had spent so long keeping up the pressure, keeping our hopes alive, and refusing to give up, finally came up against the criminal greed of Kemal Ozturk, the landowner’s son in law. Although we were assured (in fact by the staff at the Lands Registry itself) that “it just couldn’t happen”, and on the say-so of Kemal alone it seems, our contract was simply de-registered, effectively removing whatever rights we might have had to our property. He apparently denies all knowledge of us as purchasers, even suggesting that the development was being done without his knowledge or that of his mother in law. All ridiculous of course. This is the man who just a couple of years previously was prepared to get the site completed, with our money of course.

It is worth noting that the Seckin family have completed one of the blocks and now occupy it themselves. Earlier this year we saw him there – he refused to speak to us, indicating that he could neither understand nor speak English (unlikely). All he could say was “speak to lawyers” – very convenient.

So, here we are., £41k GBP poorer, with nothing to show for it and no rights to anything that we have actually paid for. Kemal is a liar and a cheat and doubtless is just waiting for the day when the site can be completed and/or sold and he can “clean up”. And what seems to be a corrupt Lands Office and an apparently inept Government, and slow moving and unreliable judicial system all stand by and let it all happen. I can still recall standing in the Lands Registry office on the day that we were first given an assurance that our contract could not be deregistered only to be told minutes later that on checking, deregistration had in fact taken place. Needless to say, I asked how and why this had happened and was not surprised by their reply – the “TRNC shrug”

I had the opportunity, earlier this year, to start going through the courts in an attempt to get some justice and other friends are doing just that. But after initially saying that I would join them I have decided against it. Whilst I have spent many many hours, and spoilt holidays, just trying to find a way through this mess (and not just for me) and refusing to accept that I have lost my money, I decided – for my own sanity and to avoid any further stress for me and my wife – not to take any further active part. Even just writing all this down (and I have probably left as much of it out as I have included here) has brought back so many things that to be honest I would rather not remember. We are retired now and have a life that we have worked very hard for. One might argue that giving up simply means that landowners have won. Well someone has, and it isn’t me. But why should I let some greedy, lying lowlife like Kemal Ozturk spoil the many good things in our lives. It is one of those occasions when one would like to sit the man down and ask him why, when he stood to make so much money anyway, he has chosen his current path. But then, we already know the answers to that don’t we?

I do still follow what is going on in TRNC, particularly via the original Stop the Blackmail in North Cyprus forum – I can’t help it I suppose! And maybe, just maybe I shall have the immense satisfaction of seeing the Seckin family (except Arife herself perhaps, she seemed just a sweet old lady) get their just deserts. If I thought that any sort of negotiated settlement might be available then things may be different but given the sort of person we are dealing with I really don’t see that as a realistic prospect.

Stephen Smith
2 September 2013″

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