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Cyprus: Title deeds to be granted to refugees living within British bases territory

The Sovereign Base Areas Administration (SBAA) has confirmed that a total of 970 plots of Crown land, totalling more than 170,000m2 across both the eastern and western SBAs are to be granted to refugees living there.

According to a press release from the SBA’s, this agreement is the result of both the SBAs and the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) working to find a solution that ensures refugees are not disadvantaged by the location of their houses.

‘The SBAA have consistently supported refuges building homes on crown land through the division of plots and granting of leases, many of which were built as far back as 1980,’ the release adds.

The ‘Self-Help Housing Estates’ scheme was introduced in Cyprus after the events in 1974, to provide housing to displaced people.

An equivalent scheme was also introduced in the SBAs to ensure those affected by the war had a place to live.

The transfer of land is not uncommon and has been happening since 2007 when the SBAs began mirroring the Cyprus’s decision to issue title deeds to all refugees residing in ‘Self-Help Housing Estates’.

In 2018, the SBAA became aware that some of the original refugees to occupy the houses had passed away, leaving descendants without legal title deeds on the property they lived in.

But thanks to the close working relationship between SBAA and RoC officials, a solution has now been found overcoming legal complications and the Ministry of the Interior will identify and transfer land on behalf of the SBAs.

Following the signing of the official grant, descendants of refugees with houses built on Crown land can obtain the title deeds and will have the same rights as others living within the villages of Achna and Frenaros in the east and Trachoni and Kolossi in the west.

Clare Simpson Chief Officer for the SBAA explained the importance of the ruling and how it had been achieved.

She said: “Protecting the interests of residents of the SBAs is a priority for the Administration. I am delighted that refugees, or descendants of refugees, will now receive a title deed for houses they have been living in for decades.

“I am grateful for the supportive partnership with the MoI, the RoC’s Department of Lands and Surveys, and District Offices for helping bring this issue to a conclusion, allowing refugees to be treated equally and fairly within the SBAs.”

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Famagusta Gazette