The Refugee Committee has asked the Turkish Cypriot Property Management Service to freeze the rent review process until the issue is examined ex officio
Rapid increases were recorded in the rents of commercial properties by the Turkish Cypriot Property Management Service in Limassol. Approved tenants sent letters to Parliament, and the Parliamentary Committee on Refugees discussed the issue on Tuesday, asking the Agency to freeze the rent review process until the Agency's new rent calculation criteria come to the relevant committee.
The Chairman of the Committee, AKEL Member of Parliament, Nikos Kettiros, said that the Parliament received many complaints from displaced people, mainly in the city and province of Limassol, about a rapid increase in rent prices imposed without warning by the Property Management Service. As he said, in letters from citizens, there were cases where the rent increased from €150 to €2,800 and in another case from €30 to €999.
“We have asked for an ex officio examination of the issue to see how the Service calculates the increase in rents,” he said, noting that the Commission itself had previously called for rationalization of the rents of Turkish Cypriot properties. “We have never been, nor will we be, in favor of these rents that were imposed in the past, of €20-€50. Streamlining is to impose the increases that must be imposed, but at reasonable levels,” he said.
As he noted, with the way the state is acting at the moment, it actually contributes to the increase of rents in Limassol. “When the state comes to an area where there were machine shops to impose increases of up to 1000%, to take the rents to €2,800, imagine the private person who is very close where they will get the rents”, he said, underlining that the issue of the rent increase in Limassol it will get worse.
The market rent, as determined by the Property Management Service, based on the assessments of the Land Registry, is based on comparative sales data. Mr. Kettiros noted that sales of apartments in the area “possibly by oligarchs to obtain passports, possibly for money laundering for cases that are being investigated,” are being used as data to impose market rent on people continuing since 1974. “be aluminum workers, engineers or pelicans. They did not change the use of their real estate. When they change it, the amount of the rent will also be revised”, he noted.
He noted that when we ask for a reasonable rent increase and not a rapid one, this can be considered populism. “We asked the Service until the criteria are submitted, which they tell us will be submitted for nine years, they told us they will bring them next month, until they bring them and we can see them concretely, to freeze the process.”
When asked about this, Mr. Kettiros said that the director of the Property Management Service, Giorgos Matthaiopoulos, confirmed that the process will be frozen until the new criteria come to Parliament.
DISY Member of Parliament, Rita Superman, said that there was a steep increase in rents from the Property Management Service, which increased tenfold. A car workshop, from €126 per month is required to pay €999. It is logical that this business, like many others throughout Cyprus, faces the risk of closing down, he said.
“The government must first of all review the criteria, so that there is a reasonable increase, but also to inform the affected in advance or even to provide alternative solutions. Displaced professionals who never received the corresponding return for their businesses and properties in the occupied territories should at least be treated more humanely,” he noted.
As he said, “we asked for the process to stop, until to have the criteria in the Parliament to discuss them”.
The MP of DIKO, Christos Senekis, said that the review of the rents of the specific properties was deemed imperative by the Property Management Service, due to the significant increase in the value of the disputed areas and the need to protect equal and healthy competition.
He noted that the calculation of the revised rents was based on 80% of the market rents in the area, as mandated by the Service's operating regulations.
“The very low rents charged in previous decades are certainly not they justify the sudden occupational death of the displaced, who continue to practice their diligence in the rent-reviewed property,” he noted.
However, he said, the issue should be addressed comprehensively, on the basis of factual data. “The Property Management Service should receive reasonable rents to be able to effectively carry out its mission for the benefit of refugees, but where there is an objective inability to pay the rents, there should be substantial help from the state for the professional relocation of those affected”, he noted.