Under the title “Foreign buyers may lose homes”, Turkish Cypriot weekly newspaper in English Cyprus Today (28.06.14) reported the following:

“Foreign buyers face losing their homes after a court ruled that the Lapta site which they were built should be sold off to compensate its owners.

The homebuyers are appealing against the judgement by Girne District Court this month over a dispute between landowner Bulent Yuksebas and contractor taser Niyazi Hilkat.

Uk-born Mr Hilkat, a partner in family-run construction company Great-stone, had agreed with Mr Yurksebas to build a total 19 houses on the site, with 13 of them to be sold and the remainder handed over to the landowner.

Since 2006, the 13 properties were sold to foreign buyers – many of them – British, both holiday home-owners and residents – but none has received title deeds despite each handing over an estimated 150.000 British sterling. 

Now the court has ordered that the entire 19-donum site be sold to compensate Mr Yuksekbas, whose six houses were not finished by the developer before he quit the TRNC some year ago to return to Britain.

Nine people, representing five of the houses, were co-defendants in the case and on Wednesday lodged an appeal at the High Court against the Girne ruling.

The High Court yesterday issued an order that the sale judgement should not be enforced pending the appeal, according to information from the buyers’ lawyers, Peyman Erginel and Gunes Mentes.

Kathleen Harrison, one of the nine co-defendants, who bought from Greatstone in 2006, said: ‘We wanted to take part in the court case asking for the transfer of title deeds, but the court gave its verdict without referring to our claims. We are facing a huge injustice.’

She added: ‘What would you think if you went to the UK, bought a house and fulfilled all the conditions of the sale contract, and one day while you waiting for the title deeds you are told the court has ordered the sale of the whole plot – since the separate title deeds of the houses were not issued – due to disagreement between the contractor and someone that you have never met?’

Mrs Harrison said that the ruling showed up ‘a serious flaw’ in the TRNC legal system that she said would ‘have a negative bearing on the construction sector in particular and the country’s economy’.

She added: ‘We will continue to ask for our legal rights at appeal, at the European Court of Human Rights and in many other places.’

Marian Stokes, of the HomeBuyers’ Pressure Group, said the ‘dreadful situation’ had been going on for four years.

‘Those homebuyers have spent their money on those properties but they did not get title deeds. The issue should have been resolved between the disputing sides and those people should be given the deeds for their houses.’

Cyprus Today was unable to reach Mr Yuksekbas for comment despite several attempts. Neither Mr Hilkat, who did not take part in the court hearings, nor any other partners of Greatstone were available.”

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