Holiday rentals news - Greek Cypriots can reclaim land - possible impact on holiday home owners

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Industry news > Miscellaneous and celebrity news > Greek Cypriots can reclaim land - possible impact on holiday home owners

Greek Cypriots can reclaim land - possible impact on holiday home owners

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Greek Cypriots can reclaim land - possible impact on holiday home owners
Greek Cypriots can reclaim land - possible impact on holiday home owners
Owners of second homes in Cyprus could be affected by a ruling by the European Court of Justice. It was ruled that a Greek Cypriot refugee can claim back land, now owned by a British couple, he was forced to flee when the island was divided in 1974.


The move, described as a landmark ruling by The Guardian, could have ramifications for owners of villas in Cyprus. Those with properties on the north of the island could find that the decision encourages other refugees to claim back land.

The ruling came five years after Meletis Apostolides, who was forced to flee his home, turned to the Cypriot courts to reclaim his property, which had been sold to a British couple. The couple, Linda and David Orams, were originally ordered not only to return the land to Apostolides, but also to demolish their home. The Orams subsequently appealed to the high court in London, which ruled in their favour.

As a result, Apostolides took the case to the European Court of Justice, which overturned the previous ruling. "I am very much pleased," said Apostolides. "The decision is what we expected."

Clarifying the verdict, the European Court of Justice said: "The recognition and enforcement of the judgements of the Cypriot court cannot be refused in the United Kingdom. The fact that the land concerned is situated in an area over which the government does not exercise effective control...does not preclude the recognition and enforcement of those judgements in another member state."

Approximately 200,000 Greek Cypriots were forced to flee their homes when the Turkish army invaded the island and seized the northern third in 1974. At the time very few Turkish Cypriots lived on the island, but the invasion prompted many to move there, taking land belonging to the Greek Cypriots.

Many of the seized properties were sold to foreign investors, particularly Britons. Around 6,000 UK citizens are thought to own holiday homes in the affected territory.

This story was brought to you by holidaylettings.co.uk, the UK's No.1 for holiday homes worldwide.

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29 April 2009 
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