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Interview with Paul (Pavlos) G. Efthymiou – Paphos Lawyer

Lawyer in Paphos

We recently had the pleasure to speak with Mr. Paul (Pavlos) Efthymiou, the owner of the legal firm Paul (Pavlos)G. Efthymiou L.L.C, @ 3 Kinyras St. Gloria house Office 301 in Paphos.

A practicing Lawyer since 1989, he has seen the remarkable development that has taken place over the last 20 years in Paphos. Being one of the experts in the conveyance business we asked him to give us his insights into the current situation in Cyprus and Paphos, in particular, which has been the center of most activity in recent years.  Here are some of the main issues we recently discussed.

Cleo: First, I want to thank you for giving us the time to sit and give us your opinions.

Paul: I am very happy to do this.

Cleo: What is the current situation of the property sector in Cyprus?

Paul: The past twenty years it has been a real rally about building and selling properties in Cyprus. The number of people that invested in properties is thousands. In fact, the building industry together with the tourist industry has been the two lungs of the Cypriot economy.

In the recent 3 years, the Cypriot building industry has been a victim of the global financial problems. Many of the small developing companies suspended their plans for any future projects and the large companies, follow a more conservative policy as their future plans and their overheads. The property owners that have a need to sell have also been victims because of their inability to sell due to the fewer number of buyers. Basically, the way I see it is that although we are an island we are far from being protected from the same things that affect everyone else in the developing world. We are all in the same market.

Cleo: There is much controversy regarding title deeds in Cyprus. Can you shed some light on this subject?

Paul: There are 2 types of properties in Cyprus. The first type has the title deeds available when the property is purchased. The second type is those that are part of a title deed of development, with the individual deed, being the subject of technical steps, which cover the building and subdivision procedures.  The Purchasers who are buying from the first category of properties can complete their procedure fairly easily and quickly. Those that buy from the second category of properties have under the current legal system to wait for a long period of time in order for the deeds to be made available and be transferred into their names.

This subject has been an important and serious issue that negatively impacted the conveyance business; we saw a huge drop in this type of work.  The Cypriot authorities are aware of this issue and this is the reason they have brought through the Ministry of Interior various legislations in order, on the one hand, to simplify the procedures in securing the deeds, and on the other hand, to increase the security and confidence of the purchaser. The laws are also currently under discussions at the House of Representatives.

Cleo: What about the security of the buyers in Cyprus?

Paul: In Cyprus, we have laws and procedures which secure the interest of the buyers.  These laws give the option to the buyers to make a choice of developers, agents, lawyers, and property.  Each of these professions has laws and regulations which determine the frame of action. Despite the weaknesses in the current legal issue regarding the issue of the individual title deeds in projects of properties, there are still available means through which the buyers’ interest is fully protected and secured.  The relevant searches should take place at the beginning of each transaction, should determine if the property in question is possible to be the subject of the contract of sale and to be transferred in a secure way, without any legal impediments in the buyers’ name.

Cleo: Can you share your thoughts about the issues concerning the occupied north of Cyprus?

Paul:  There is an ongoing inter-communal dialogue between the two communities, with the intention to reach a viable solution, uniting the country, the people and the various institutions.  A settlement of the political problem would definitely influence positively all aspects of life, including the property market. Large areas situated by the sea which are not being used in both sides of the country would open for development and the dynamic on the property market is unpredictable.

Cleo: I know that your office is one of the more successful ones in Paphos, can you share with us which nationals are the main buyers of property in Cyprus? Is it still the British or Russians?

Paul: Despite the fact that purchasers coming to Cyprus represent different nationalities, the large number of them are from the U.K. The drastic changes in the British economy, reflected negatively on the number of people that have been coming the last 3 years to Cyprus.  A landmark crossing point at which positive developments are expected to take place in the year 2012 when the U.K. will be accommodating the Olympic games. Additionally, there are thousands of properties that are available for sale by people, most of which bought the properties during the rally and were overpriced and are now selling them at a very good price. We have seen many properties being sold at real bargains even for a bad market.

**If you have any questions for myself or Mr. Efthymiou please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to add to this conversation by posting our readers’ questions and answers.

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