Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Summer 2006 Issue 19

18 June 2006
Property is theft
There has apparently been a boom in property development in the occupied area of Cyprus since the Greek Cypriot rejection of the Annan plan.

It is no coincidence that this boom followed soon after the UK government made veiled threats that were taken by Greek Cypriots to border on blackmail, for daring to stand up for their legal rights. The UK government has turned a blind eye to the advertising for sale by estate agents and property developers of our properties all over London, whether in newspapers, in shop windows or at exhibitions. Lobby has led the community campaign to stop this. We attended exhibitions in London where Greek Cypriot properties were flagrantly being offered for sale. We were successful in disrupting the sale of these properties and preventing some estate agents from exhibiting them. But these actions are only the beginning. There is much more to do.

What can be done? To begin with all should and can complain to the relevant Local Authority Trading Standards department each time adverts for sale of property in the occupied area are spotted. Trading Standards are duty bound to investigate all complaints by consumers about misleading trading practices in their borough. They can force estate agents not to withhold important information about the property they are trying to sell. No estate agents willingly reveal that the property they are selling belongs to Greek Cypriots nor that the buyer may lose it or have to pay compensation.

Telephone numbers of some Trading Standards offices in UK areas where estate agents operate illegally:

Telephone numbers of some Trading Standards offices in areas where estate agents operate illegally:

020 8359 2606

020 7974 6925

020 8379 8515

020 8489 5134

Please don’t wait for someone else to ring them. If you see something that you believe to be misleading ring Trading Standards yourself. The more that ring to complain, the better. And remember, the department you ring is the one where the estate agent is based, not where you are.

Such adverts can also be brought to the attention of the UK National Association of Estate Agents. We are sure they would be very pleased to hear from anyone who feels their members are trying to sell stolen property.

Finally spare a thought for the Orams. This unfortunate British couple from Hove, near Brighton face the loss of their “dream home” in Lapithos after the Greek Cypriot owner took them to court in the Republic of Cyprus for trespass. They had built their dream home on his land. The Court ordered that they demolish their “dream home,” that they return the plot of land to the rightful owner and that they pay £10,000. If they don’t do this then legal action will be taken against their property in the UK and this could mean the loss of any properties they have here.

Mrs Oram is reported to have said “many of the British who have properties in the north are now very worried as to what will happen to them. Some of them have sold up completely in England and went to live in north Cyprus permanently!” It is not clear if the Blairs plan to follow suit following their imminent vacating of Downing Street, but following Cherie’s public support for the Orams there can be no doubt she is happy to support those profiting from ethnic cleansing, which must include her in this case!

The message is clear: property sales in the occupied area = theft.

Speak to Trading Standards and the National Association of Estate Agents, tell them about the Loizidou case and the plight of the Orams. Better still, remind them that there will be no solution of property issues in Cyprus until the 3Rs are implemented.