If you can't establish a committee (the minimum number of members is one) I suggest you approach the Land Registry for assistance. The following is taken from the Department of Lands & Surveys Citizens' Charter:
"The Director of the Department of Lands & Surveys has the power and/or the obligation to intervene in matters concerning the management of any jointly-owned building only upon an application lodged with any District Lands Office and upon payment of the relevant fees by the applicant/owner of any unit."
If we set up a management committee is there a legal process that we can use to remove the undesirables from the complex, this has been a problem for the last few years with the developer and i'm sure other letting there apartments to anyone.
I applaud your tenacity nickcnet in standing up for your rights. Perhaps you should be naming the Maintenance company and their lawyers, so that other committes can steer clear of them.
Linlieglen - many thanks for your words of encouraging support. This is much appreciated - and I hope that others will feel encouraged to fight their corner in what seems like the pernicious battle of getting justice for themselves and their families.
From the postings on this Forum across the years, the issue of maintenance payments at complexes seems to be a running sore that blights what should be a posititve experience of living in what I believe is a delightful country.
At this time we have instructed a lawyer to deal with the management company and their lawyers in trying to resolve the disagreement we have about what we believe is the illegal way costs are being shared and consequent demands for payment being made. For this reason I feel it would be inapropriate to name the management company or the lawyers concerned. That said, there are lessons to be drawn from our dreadful experience which has now entered its third year of operation. Previously we 'enjoyed' our maintenance being handled by a family member of the developer - followed by several years of self management by owners.
Similar to the anecdotal evidence of other Forum members, we have suffered from owners refusing to pay anything and disputes arising about operational aspects of what should be routine maintenance at the complex.
I dare say that were the management company and their lawyers named there would undoubtedly be cheerleaders emerging to praise them! I can only go by what we have lived through and suggest that the key is open, regular and transparent communication by your committee about the process you go through in appointing an external management company - and due diligence in selecting any lawyer acting on your behalf.
For example, it is not good business sense - or legal (?) - to appoint a company on the basis of going to just one supplier. You need three to get a measure of what the market has to offer. Also, make sure your committee is acting with the consent and agreement of all owners - and they have fully consulted everyone on what they are proposing to do on your behalf.
We feel that we had no choice and were not properly consulted with disclosure or terms of business or service level agreements being proposed. When challenged, a committee member said that the advice I had been given about cost sharing was wrong and that imposed by the new order was 'acceptable' !!!
The thing that bugs me is that the lawyer that comes in tandem with our maintenance provider is an additional cost . Obviously there may be occasions when the services of a lawyer might be required - BUT this can surely paid for on a 'needs be ' basis from the Reserve Fund?
I know that, in the larger scheme of things, being screwed for a few hundred Euros a year doesn't compare with troubles going on in lands not too distant from this island - BUT it affects our home, how we live and is unjust.
Readers of this Forum will be very familiar with the repeated questions to Nigel about how cost should be shared. We too have asked the same questions but have been at the receiving end of verbal abuse and bullying by one committee member for having the temerity to do so. The unkindest cut of all is being told by that committee member that Nigel Howarth doesn't know what he's talking about and I should effectively 'butt out' and not ask questions of a legal nature. For the record, I know that Nigel is arguably one of the most knowledgeable and experienced people when it comes to matters to do with Cyprus property. Consulted by international bodies for his expertise, I trust Nigel 150%. The irony is that another committee member asked Nigel a question on another topic a few weeks after I was verbally abused.
Having consulted four independent lawyers who agree with Nigel's observations on sharing of costs at complexes, our position is clear.
Regarding the lawyer you use, simply exercise the due diligence which, in my opinion, was lacking in our situation. Ask any lawyer you might be considering if they ARE or have EVER been on this list of English-speaking lawyers published by the British High Commission in Nicosia. There are many good lawyers who don't appear but it would be interesting to know if a lawyer who was listed has been removed?
Linlieglen - I hope this somewhat exhaustive response to your posting is of help.
If only it was just noise the complex has been taken over by Gypies who have stolen water tanks & Solar panels destroyed lifts and basically completely trashed the complex, when owners have called the Police on many occasions the police have had to retreat to their cars after being attached by the gypies, it is no longer possible to even stay at the complex let alone rent or sell or apartment.
Many thanks for your reply, i'm not sure even the district Police will be able to help apart from when there is a disturbance, i am really looking for a legal route that can be taken to bring the complex back to some sort of safe community that my family and i can stay in.
Nigel ... a follow up question on this topic .....
If the way costs of maintenance have been shared between owners is proven to be incorrect i.e. illegal, what is the position of existing and / or past Committee members who sanctioned the illegal charging ... including those who may have since moved away and are no longer owners ?
In other words, if they did not do due diligence when agreeing how costs should be shared, what is their culpability towards owners who have been overcharged or pursued through the courts and (uncontested) enforcement judgements given?
The major issue with the way communal fees are calculated is that the sizes of the units are not known until their deeds are issued. So in many cases people are charged the same or by the number of bedrooms.
Once the deeds have been issued the Management Committee can work out the correct fees for the units.
The fees could have been challenged at the General Meetings or agreed changes could have been made to the Regulations (which would then have been deposited at the Land Registry.)
You'll have to seek legal advice on whether it's possible to sue current or passed Management Committee members for incorrect charging.
(In answer to your earlier question about lawyers being removed from the BHC list. Yes some have been removed! I asked BHC's Zoe Woodward the reason why one particular lawyer had been removed, but she would not say. Zoe returned to the UK a couple of years ago.)
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