Bill to Reform Turkish Cypriot Property Management

Proposed Bill Seeks Fairer Management of Turkish Cypriot Properties

In a significant move to reform the allocation and management of Turkish Cypriot properties, the Cypriot cabinet has introduced a new bill aimed at modernizing the state’s approach to these assets. Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou announced on Tuesday that the proposed legislation would bring clarity, equality, and meritocracy to the processes involved while safeguarding the interests of refugees.

The new approach is designed to assess applicant eligibility through a transparent scoring system that considers socio-economic status and family composition using “clear, objective and measurable indicators.” This marks a departure from past practices where the guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties, traditionally the interior minister, had considerable discretion—a situation Ioannou noted led to abuse and exploitation.

Under the proposed changes, applicants seeking residence in Turkish Cypriot properties will face new scrutiny. Any privately-owned property held by them or their family within the Republic or occupied areas will be taken into account for the first time. Additionally, the real housing needs of an applicant’s family will influence the granting decisions to ensure they are based on actual needs and capabilities.

When it comes to agricultural land, eligibility will hinge on whether an applicant owns land or has a profession in the occupied areas. To prevent over-accumulation and promote equitable distribution, a cap will be set on the amount of land one can be granted. For commercial real estate, an applicant’s income from professional activities in the real estate in question will be a crucial determinant for eligibility.

The minister expressed confidence that these measures would “significantly reduce the injustice” previously faced by Turkish Cypriot real estate owners. The initiative to improve the management of these assets has been underway since August 2023. Ioannou revealed that out of 3,211 properties leased for professional purposes, audits have uncovered lease violations in 416 contracts, with steps already being taken to recover these properties.

As Cyprus continues to navigate complex property issues stemming from its divided past, these reforms indicate a commitment to fairness and transparency in handling one of the most sensitive aspects of the island’s legacy.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News for further updates on this developing story.

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