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Ex-pats in danger following Cyprus land ruling

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Thousands of UK property owners who invested in homes in northern Cyprus could face losing their properties following a damaging court ruling this week.

The case concerns Meletis Apostolides who fled his Cyprus home after a national invasion from Turkish troops in 1974. Years later, Mr Apostolides returned to his land only to find that a British couple had spent their lifesavings building a holiday home where he once lived.

The Cypriot refugee took Linda and David Orams through Cyprus’ courts in a landmark effort to reclaim his land and, following recent support from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and London’s Court of Appeal, Mr Apotsolides has won the land battle.

The Court of Appeal’s ruling this week forced the Orams to fully comply with a 2004 judgment originally given in Cyprus. The couple will have to demolish their home and return the land to Mr Apostolides, they will also pay damages and monthly rent until they have left the area.

Mr Apostolides’s solicitor said after the judgment: “This creates a new legal framework in those cases where foreigners are trespassing on such properties.”

British and Greek Cypriots estimate that there are up to 5,000 Britons living on land in the self-declared Turkish Cypriot state of Nicosia in northern Cyprus, whose original deeds are held by displaced Greek Cypriots.

“The rulings will be a source of concern to many other property owners in northern Cyprus,” said Mrs Orams.

“It’s very disappointing. Obviously it’s a blow to us, but we’re not going to let it ruin our lives. We’re strong; we’ve dealt with this for over five years now.”

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Written by Andrew Hodges

January 29, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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