Rightmove gets it wrong for North Cyprus?

Rightmove is an online UK estate agency with over 1,000,000 properties on its books. I suppose it is heartening for the TRNC to have such a major company list North Cyprus properties without any concern that they are selling properties without internationally recognised title deeds but, more importantly, the company is actually recognising the right of the TRNC to sell these properties.

While all this is interesting, the focus of this article is on HOW Rightmove is promoting the sales of these properties. The company’s North Cyprus section [1] does say that “buyers should be aware of potential risks” but when quoting “Mustafa Sener, a property lawyer in Kyrenia” they, in my opinion, make a major mistake in saying that buyers should “seek a property with a Turkish title deed, which indicates ownership by a Turkish Cypriot before 1974. This title is internationally recognized and carries no risk to the buyer.”

The reason this is a mistake is that while ex-pats will happily be sold these properties, the local procedure of taking several years to first grant them “permission to purchase” and then to issue title deeds in their name could mean that a long period after paying for the property they would be refused permission to purchase under a rule that appears to say that only citizens can buy these properties.

This fact is hidden and is confused by ex-pats saying that they have been granted permission for pre-1974 Turkish Titles. What they don’t say is that they were granted these titles before the current rule seems to have come into play. Whilst anecdotal evidence suggests there is a trend of refusal, local lawyer Naomi Mehmet is more diplomatic on LINCS [2]:

“Is the TRNC giving PTP to pre 74 Turkish Title deeds? I know there is no law preventing foreigners from purchasing these deeds but are you experiencing refusals? Any reason as to why so many are being refused?

“… as a firm, we have recently received some applications for PTP on pre-1974 Turkish title being refused. The reason given by the Ministry was that the application had been rejected on ‘security grounds’ which is not really specific. We have also had some other applications on non-pre-1974 Turkish title rejected on the same grounds. If is difficult, therefore, to speculate whether there is a pattern of rejections for pre-1974 Turkish title. I would not say that we have yet received enough rejections on pre-1974 Turkish title to say that there is a definite pattern emerging. Interestingly, our applications fore pre-1974 foreign title have been granted”.

Despite this, a search of Rightmove’s Northern Cyprus section reveals nearly 400 properties, the majority of which have no mention of this safe per-1974 Turkish Title!

[1] http://www.rightmove.co.uk/overseas-magazine/buying-in-northern-cyprus

[2] http://living-in-northern-cyprus.com/review/2009/12/legal-advice-3/#PTP%20Turkish%20pre%2074%20Title%20Deeds



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