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33° Nicosia,
23 September, 2018
 
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Land registry case pending for 34 years

Ombudsman tells director either take action or let the courts decide over bungled case

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The Land Registry office in Nicosia is in the hot seat following a report by the Ombudsman’s office in connection with a case that has been pending for 34 years.

A case file regarding a plot dispute was supposed to be handed over to the director at the Nicosia Land Registy office for a solution, but this hasn’t happened for 34 years according to the Ombudsman, Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights Maria Lottides.

The dispute in the case emerged after a plot of land in Arediou was sold in 1981 and three years later the buyer requested a topographic map of the real estate in the area. But he couldn’t locate his plot anywhere on the map and a new case file was created at the Land Registry to correct the mistake. In 1985, officials went to examine the area on site along with the owner whose name was registered officially and the buyer, who also filed the complaint.

Officials explained that two plots were registered in 1973, along with topographical details such as boundaries, and references to an existing road and a river. But the registration of the two plots was inadvertently not updated in the master plan, which was still showing one single plot of land.

He couldn’t locate his plot on the map and a new case file was created at the Land Registry to correct the mistake

The original owner, who sold a portion of her land to the buyer, agreed to a correction of the records. The buyer, who also initially agreed to have the case file examined and corrected, later maintained that the plot he had bought covered the entire land.

But the registration report was nowhere to be found on the day of the onsite inspection, so the land survey official drew a new map based on the two titles at hand. The official also wrote in her report that the area of the plot registered to the buyer was incorrect. The registration report was later found and then officials embarked on a mission to collect witness statements to resolve the issue, with the buyer insisting that he had paid 300 pounds for the entire land, not just the plot registered under his name.

Three more inspections took place until 1994 and another one 24 years later, in 2016.

The Ombudsman wrote in her report that the complainant had a legitimate issue in that he was unable to make use of his land, given that the Land Registry office adopted the view since 1985 that there was a mistake in the records which was not caused by him. Lottides also made clear that the Land Registry office made the original mistake in 1973, calling on the current director to adjudicate on the issue according to the power vested in him by Cypriot law.

The commissioner is basically calling on the director at the Land Registry to take action, either by either correcting the mistake or rejecting the complaint and allow for the matter to be settled in court.

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