Living under a cloud in North Cyprus

There is a lot of publicity given to victims of home auctions. Although I have immense sympathy and support the victims at every opportunity, there are hundreds of people affected by other issues. This article first appeared earlier this year on HBPG site and is published here in a revised form to try to reach a wider readership.

We bought our future home in the sun early in 2005, expecting completion as per contract in early 2006. We sold our home in England and arrived in North Cyprus in January 2006 moving into our half finished home in May 2006 rather than continuing renting. Our home is still not complete; we use tankered water and builder’s electric which is 3 times normal cost. In fact we estimate that to date it has cost us about 10.000tl in additional cost of electric.

The original developer left the country in early 2007 leaving us with the above issues plus he had not paid the land owner so along with others on the site we had to pay more cash or potentially be thrown off the site. Unfortunately 2 of the 4 owners on site refused to pay any extra either for land or for building work to be completed. Their argument was they had already paid and the government would sort things out for them.

We signed another contract with a builder to complete our home but this has proved to be a total nightmare. We felt that he knew the site and had the house plans so was our best option.

His completion date was June 2008!!! I am sure a large number of others will have had the same experience of excuses with builders, this being the best I think. “I have stage payments from other site coming next week and I will be straight on to yours”!! The payments arrive, no problem. But you never see any work done.

We had some additional work done but are still awaiting electrical work, ferforje, painting, mains water and electric all included in the contract price. We have paid extra to make the house safe with some fencing and gates.

Our neighbours have paid a large sum to have stone walls completed, driveway made and repairs to extensive damage made to house by building workers.

The site labour has been from Turkey, on occasions we have had to supply tools for them to do work they were set to do. On two occasions at Bayrams we had to lend them money to buy food because they had not been paid. Considering the builder is a member of the Construction Association the above points would be enough to doubt his membership credentials. The next point must condemn the whole system. When talking to building workers who had to live, in April in a partially completed house with no electric, no doors and windows their abuse is obvious. I asked why they had to keep returning to Eastern Turkey, their homeland and the answer is because of visas ie they had no work permits.

We have been threatened, had our electric supply sabotaged on at least a dozen occasions but we have to stick it out, (a) this is our home and (b) we sold everything in England.

It is impossible for us to ever get water or electric supply connected because the builder did not pay for the site building permits as he promised us and our solicitor. He assured us that all permits were in place and electric projects submitted. I wish we knew then what we know now and had gone to check. It is so easy to do so but people are still coming here and not making those basic checks. Talking to others it is apparent that solicitors may check for the existence of a building permit. However there are two stages the applying for and the actual paying for! Most people and probably solicitors simply see there is an application number but do not realise this permit may not have been paid. If not paid any building work is illegal. This is our experience, check your details at your Belidyse or Kaymakamlik, just take your front page of contract.

The cost of the Building Permit for our whole site is 20,000TL and rising. You are not able to pay a proportion for your own plot, it is all or nothing. We have since found that the same builder has at least four other sites with no Building Permit so he owes an awful lot of money and he hopes the buyers will eventually give up and pay it!

We have considered paying the building permit cost with our neighbours but (a) how do we get our money back for the other 4 houses and (b) even if we pay for the permit there is no guarantee we will have our water connected or an electric project approved.

We have written or spoken to everyone from Dr Eroglu down over with the same response as most others we know. It has certainly become more obvious in the last few months that these people seem not care. Well they should care, their own country is going down the drain so fast due to their inaction it is getting to the point of will the last one to leave, please turn the lights out. Turkish Cypriots both here and in the UK are seeing their homeland being dragged down into the mire and for what reason – GREED!!!!!!!

Because of the way the law is interpreted here we all have to be very careful in the way we show our frustration. We loved living in Northern Cyprus, the people, the climate, the scenery; we even accept the quaint ways of doing things in government departments. We certainly have no intention of leaving yet as quite a number are now contemplating. All we ask is for the government to do something about this problem that they have allowed to happen. Most changes required to solve the majority of issues are simple and straight forward. In addition by sorting out the bureaucracy there would, within weeks be millions of TL arriving into the exchequer that are held up by ancient laws and regulations.



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