Reading time
7 min
23 November 2020

How cozy houses and luxury villas in Cyprus turned into a heap of stones

What would you think if you took a look at houses below? Is it Idlib or Aleppo in Syria? Is it the consequences of the Beirut explosion?

Marauders are in this area at night.

They take away everything of any value: doors, furniture, appliances.

This house was lucky as the next house was not damaged, and the neighbors are looking after the property of the former residents.

And this is the road leading to houses:

Yes, they look like photographs from the battlefield. And no, there was no war.

These are houses in the paradise village of Pissouri near the sea in sunny Cyprus.

Pissouri is a truly idyllic place. A summer breeze blows over the hills by the picturesque bay, which means it never gets too hot here. There are fertile fields, vineyards, olive groves and orchards. The air is filled with the scent of rosemary and thyme, sunrises are tremulous and gentle, and sunsets are fantastic.

This area has long been chosen by Brits. For some reason, many of them prefer to settle precisely in these areas, in the immediate vicinity of the British airbase located in Akrotiri, the land which is a sovereign overseas territory of Great Britain.

Several hundred English families purchased houses and villas in Pissouri. Many of them put all their savings into it. Some have completely burned all the boats, when they sold their properties in England.

Look at this cute "house from a postcard" built and decorated in the style of the Greek islands.

And they would have lived here happily for ever, but in 2012 a strong landslide had occurred on the territory of the village. The earth literally "sagged" just in the place where there were dozens of houses (Limnes district, which means "lakes").

Houses cracked, walls and roofs collapsed, communications (electricity, water, sewage) ceased to function.

The life of the owners of wonderful houses by the sea turned into hell and an endless (and fruitless) struggle with the Cyprus authorities. They had to urgently look for another place to live as staying in the houses was life-threatening.

The owners of these houses are overwhelmingly British retirees who decided to spend the rest of their life in a warm climate near the sea. Many of them have invested all their money in Cyprus property, selling their homes in England and spending all their savings.

Someone, for example, an elderly married couple Peter and Kate, have lived here for about 20 years.

The soil movement continues until today and now it is moving approximately 8 cm per month. Peter shows the 'progress' of cracking.

Someone moved not so long ago. But all these people are now united by a common problem: they partially or completely lost their property.

And for many of them it was not a “summer house”, but their only home.

The victims of the landslide went through all the circles of hell: numerous lawsuits, appeals to government agencies, the involvement of international journalists, all this did not bring any result.

The owners of the ruins and their lawyer, Elina-Giorgi Zoe, took a tour of the ghost houses.

In general, being there is life-threatening, and it is not recommended to even come close without a helmet. You can come inside, but at your own risk: at any time, the roof or a wall may collapse or the floor under your feet may fall. There are a lot of dangerous arches, columns, and stairs.

Here's what happened to the pool:

Here they were going to live happily for lots of years:

And now the house looks like this:

There was once a cozy kitchen here:

And this was a beautiful room in pastel colors with windows where you could see an orchard...

It is possible that the developers knew about the geological features of this area (underground waters and dangerous rock) and deliberately sold houses to foreigners in order to protect themselves from problems. It was dangerous for them to sell property to locals. The population of Cyprus is just over 800,000, so everyone has common friends.

Of course, nobody should live in dilapidated houses: it is life-threatening.

Insurance companies do not cover such cases.

People who bought comfortable houses in the Cyprus paradise, lost their property and money and became homeless. The British media wrote a lot about this.

It was once a stylish room in blue...

In the rainy season, the houses are cracking faster.

The owner of this house has been getting to his home along this road during recent years:

He has a homemade ladder:

And here's what happened to his pool:

The first crack in the foundation appeared in the summer of 2017. By the summer of 2019, the pool collapsed into a sinkhole.

And these are the houses of their neighbors ..

Nobody bears any responsibility for this.

The general world practice is that in the event of natural disasters, the state pays the compensation for damage to victims. However, this rule does not apply in Cyprus.

Moreover, after eight years and many lawsuits filed by residents of the houses against the developers and the government of Cyprus on July 24, 2020, the case finally got off the ground.

The Cyprus Interior Ministry issued a press release presenting a project to stabilize the soil in the area to prevent further rock collapse.

The widening reach of the collapse is clearly seen in this yard:

A magical place, isn't it? Sea view, silence, air, smell of herbs ...

Let's take a closer look:

Even closer:

In this area, at a depth of about 40 meters, it is planned to create a super-strong "base" with a modern rainwater drainage system.

The feasibility study will be completed in January 2021, and immediately after that a tender will be announced for companies to implement the project.

The project will cost approximately € 33,000,000. Completion of the work is scheduled for the end of 2022. This is an unprecedented project in Cyprus. Specialists from the Ministry of Transport and Public Works are working on it together with foreign experts.

Now comes the most interesting part.

The land will be expropriated by the state. Upon completion of the work, a sports center will be built on this site.

It remains unclear what practical benefits this idea brings to owners of destroyed homes. The expropriation of land should imply the payment of compensation sufficient for people to purchase new housing. However, the press release of the ministry is silent about this, and if they don't do it, it will be the largest legal robbery by the government of Cyprus against buyers of Cypriot real estate.

Apparently, it will be so.

The minister said it would be irresponsible to talk about compensation at the moment, stressing that the government is focused on stabilizing the area and resolving a chronic problem - The head of the Cyprus Ministry.

After all, Cyprus is part of the European Union, a former British colony with a modern constitution and legislation:

  1. The land cannot be seized by the authorities.
  2. The project on strengthening the soil and creating a drainage system for € 33,000,000 is just 'easy money' for corrupt politicians and developers.
  3. Who needs a sports center in Pissouri, where less than a thousand residents live, and mostly farmers and British pensioners.

How can Cyprus deal with property buyers like this? After all, this is a complete mess!

Yep. But they really can.

This is exactly the real case. Over the past 8 years, some of the home owners have already died.

We do not know whether there is a precedent for expropriation of land from legal owners in international practice.

But even a person who is completely ignorant of jurisprudence understands that in return for the seized land, people must receive something: monetary compensation covering the cost of land, houses, lost property and their rental costs over the years, or land plots elsewhere + monetary compensation.

If these people don't get it, it will be just a robbery and will hit hard on the reputation of Cyprus in the eyes of potential property buyers, already tarnished by the passport scandal.

We have repeatedly tried to obtain an audience with the head of the Ministry of the Interior of Cyprus, Mr. Nicos Nouris, as well as with the head of the municipality of Pissouri, in order to get answers to our questions.

However, these attempts were unsuccessful ...

Let's hope that justice will prevail, and the claims of the owners of the houses destroyed by the landslide will be fully satisfied in the very near future.

Looking for an apartment, house, villa for rent or property in Paphos or Limassol? Contact the DOM real estate Cyprus. The company's specialists will help you find the perfect home for free. Follow the link.

Read more:

  • House or apartment in Cyprus - what to choose? (link)
  • Golf in Cyprus - courses and reviews (link)
  • All about real estate Cyprus (link)
  • Accommodation for students in Cyprus (link)
  • Buying property in Cyprus to live with children (link)
Source: DOM LiVE
Photos: DOM LiVE
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