In accordance with the Immovable Property Law in Cyprus the ownership of a plot may be held by more than one land owner in the same way as the English Anglo-Saxon land law. The share of co-ownership may vary and can be distributed by the principle owner at his discretion.
When there is no share specification on the land and it is not indicated on the Title Deeds between the co-owners then each co-owner is entitled to equal shares on the plot of land.
It has been ascertained that the most crucial issues arising from the undivided share distribution of land is caused due to disagreements between co-owners and how the land will be divided in favour of all the involved parties. Usually, the co-owners differences are determined by financial disparities, use of the land, selling of the property and/or other personal disputes. As a consequence many land areas remain unused for many years.
The Immovable Property Law Cap. 224, resolves the divisional conflicts between the plot co-owners. According to the law, the Director of the Land Registry Office undertakes the main role for the resolution of this type of dispute outcome. An application to the Director of the Land Registry Office must be lodged by any of the legal co-owners requesting for the separation of ownership of the plot.
The Director of the Land Registry Office separates the plot and on the final separation division the Director arranges a draw for the implementation and delegation of the plot according to the separation.
According to the Immovable Property Law the Director of the Land Registry Office and/or his representatives can progress with prior notification of an on-site inspection with the attendance of the involved parties to examine the division of the land. If a co-owner is absent the examination will progress as pre-arranged in his absence.
Likewise, in situations in which there are not any disagreements between the co-owners, the Director can allocate the plot as per the wishes of the involved persons.
A co-owner that possesses a share that is too small and cannot be allocated on the plot is valued by the Director of the Land Registry Office and the remaining co-owners will pay out the small co-owner. The Director is entitled to notify the results of the distribution to the co-owners.
Nevertheless, if a small co-owner disagrees with the separation of the land he is entitled to take legal action against the co-ownership of the plot.
Similarly, it is possible to submit an application for the partition of an undivided plot by a majority of 60% of the co-owners of the plot of land. This provision overcomes the obstacle created by certain co-owners that hold a minimum percentage of the share of the plot.
The Immovable Property Law allows for the division of plots located in residential areas and on plots with a minimum of 600 sq meters.
The Director of the District Land Office’s decision is published and the relevant parties are notified of the deadline in which they are entitled to progress with legal action or an appeal against the decision if the parties do not accept the Directors decision. Whoever wishes to appeal the decision has the right to apply to the District Court.
Recently, a dispute was resolved over a large plot of land in Nicosia that had remained untouched for years due to an ongoing distribution disagreement between its co-owners. The issue was resolved according to the Immovable Property Law and the involvement of the relevant district Land Registry Office.
The purpose of this legislation was not to fragment the plots but to provide its owners with the freedom of avoiding lengthy judicial and non-judicial processes.
The content of this article intends to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought on each particular case.
For any further information, please contact Mr Savvas Savvides.