The problem of abandoned buildings, which are considered dangerous, in the wider area of central Nicosia, is a headache for the municipality, which, at regular intervals, sends warning letters to the owners, urging them to take care of it. . However, this is not always possible, as either it is not possible to locate the owners or they do not respond, with the result that the municipality of Nicosia bears the financial cost of risk removal work. The Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK) reiterates once again the need to institutionalize procedures, with its president, Konstantinos Konstantis, saying that the will seems to exist and is expressed from time to time by the competent bodies, but procrastination is a brake./p>
Hundreds of cases
According to data provided by politis.com.cy from the municipality of Nicosia, in just three years, 330 dangerous or dilapidated buildings were declared. As the owners are directly responsible for taking all the necessary measures, at least one letter was sent for all the buildings and a second one followed in almost all of them. According to the existing procedures, if they do not respond and the danger needs immediate intervention, then the municipality undertakes the removal of the danger and charges the financial cost to the owners.
Of the 330 cases mentioned above, in 170 buildings the danger has been removed, either from works carried out by the owners, or after the intervention of the municipality. The cases of the buildings in which the danger came, after the intervention of the municipality of Nicosia, are 48. The cost, which is borne by the taxpayer, amounts to € 500,000 in the last two years.
Legislation does not work
Based on the data from the municipality of Nicosia, in about 85 of the aforementioned cases, administrative fines have been imposed on owners of dangerous buildings who did not comply. As competent sources from the municipality point out, today, if an owner refuses to carry out maintenance or even an annual audit, the legislation gives the Municipality the opportunity to intervene, with the consequence that the taxpayer bears the cost of maintenance or the annual audit of a private property. In practice, this means that while the benefits of owning a property remain private, the costs become collective. The law of course allows the local authority to charge the owners if it carries out maintenance work, but this does not work in practice. Most landlords do not respond, resulting in local authorities either suing for lengthy litigation or waiting for the property to be sold, licensed or transferred to be compensated by the landlords. In the meantime, the liquidity required for maintenance is essentially the responsibility of the taxpayer. Is there a provision for the imposition of an administrative fine by the municipality of Nicosia on the owner & # 8211; up to 20,000 euros – but at the same time he is given the opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Suggestions and procrastination
The president of the Chamber, Konstantinos Konstantis, described the municipality of Nicosia as an ally of ETEK, in terms of the effort to find radical solutions to the problem, speaking to politis.com.cy. However, he pointed out that the municipality's budget is not unlimited, so that it can intervene in cases where the owners do not take responsibility.
At a recent meeting of the Parliamentary Interior Committee, suggestions were made to the competent Minister, for the creation of a Fund from the central state, from which the municipalities will be financed, so that they can restore buildings within their boundaries that are classified as protected. In this way, our cultural heritage will be preserved, pointed out the president of ETEK. If, after a building is repaired, the owner shows up and requests it, he will have to either pay the cost of the repair or wait for the cost to be reimbursed by the person who repaired it.
Bill with them Provisions are now being discussed in Greece and it is a matter of days to be voted, Mr. Konstantis pointed out. He added that in countries such as Scotland and Italy, there is mandatory expropriation and mandatory auctioning of abandoned buildings when the owners are not identified.
Right to security
The suggestions made in Cyprus are based on solutions applied abroad, however the argument is made that in our country the right to property is strongly guaranteed by the Constitution, however Mr. Konstantis emphasizes that equally important is also the right to security. Citizens have the right to walk in the city and feel safe, he said, noting that, as car owners have been required to undergo a roadworthiness test, the same should apply to buildings.
< Mr. Konstantis acknowledged that there is the will from various bodies, such as the Ministry of Interior, the competent Parliamentary Committee and local authorities, however there is a delay. ETEK has prepared a 100-page report, which will be given to the candidates for the Presidency of the Republic, in the hope that they will include in their program a strategy for the settlement of all these issues.