HBPG Meeting in Economy Ministry

Thursday the 1st July 2010

ATTENDEES:    Economy Ministry Undersecretary Omer Aydan Koseoglu - Chair

Construction Association President Soner Yetkili

Bar Council President Hasan Sonmezer

Bar Council General Secretary Feyzi Hansel

Land Registry Director Mr Huda

Interior Ministry Projects Planning Manager Mehmet Yulaf

Mehmet Uluc, Economy Specialist & translator

Other translator

Anne Charlesworth, HBPG Buyer representative

Sheila, HBPG, Aga & Hz Omer Buyer representative

Marian Stokes, HBPG Spokesman

Apologies:       Interior Ministry Undersecretary Hasan Islamoglu 

AGENDA          Helping the Economy:

Cooperation and working together

Kocan Guarantee

Building Licences

Building Quality Inspection

On-Going Disputes:

Disputes between landowner & builder

Disputes between builder & buyer

Lawyers:

Incorrect Advice

Fees

Complaints

Court:

Court Case awareness

Court Judgements, Memorandums, Sale Orders and Injunctions

Up to date Information

General Issues:

Outstanding Permission to Purchase approvals

Permission to Purchase refusals

The immediate future:

Cooperation and working together

 

This meeting was convened following a previous HBPG meeting with Economy Minister Sunat Atun and his Undersecretary Omer Aydan Koseoglu. 

Mehmet Uluc opened the meeting by asking Marian Stokes what the complaint is.  Marian said that the HBPG were not there with complaints but with solutions for many of the construction related problems and to achieve a formula for all parties to work together towards solving the current property purchasing issues.   She stressed that cooperation was already forthcoming from the Construction Association and Bar Council. However, assistance and cooperation from the government is also vital if we are to achieve a stable construction industry and economy. 

The issue of Kocan guarantee was discussed at length.  The HBPG wants all kocans that have not yet been transferred to buyers to be held by some authority, i.e. Interior Ministry, Land Registry, Construction Association, until such time as the buyer has paid all their contractual payments and are in a position to take title. 

Soner Yetkili stated that his Association have drafted a new law which would give buyers a “temporary” kocan immediately upon them making the first stage payment.  Under this law parcelisation must be completed and a separate kocan issued for each property.  This would allow construction companies to borrow working capital on any unsold properties, the loans would be repaid as and when these properties were sold. The law, which has yet to be approved by Parliament, would also protect buyers who have not yet received their title deeds. 

Marian pointed out that it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that building licences are in place before any construction work is commenced.  Everyone at the meeting agreed that this is a major concern and also agreed that new laws would only protect future buyers and that the purpose of today’s meeting is to find a solution for the current issues. 

Marian stressed that lawyers had not protected their clients at purchase time and, when disputes arose, their only solution is advising buyers to take legal action.  She also stated that, from her experiences, these lawyers did not undertake any proper investigation into the problem and were merely interested in making money.  Feyzi Hansel and Soner Yetkili agreed with this statement and Feyzi again stressed the need for proper arbitration before considering Court action.  

Feyzi also stressed that, last January, he had asked the HBPG to ensure that buyers submitted factual complaints against lawyers in Turkish to the Bar Council.  This has not been happening.  Also, at the January meeting with the Bar Council they had requested the HBPG to take legal action against at least one it’s members. Feyzi asked if this was happening and Marian pointed out that court action is expensive and the HBPG does not have this resource. 

The issue of on-going Court Cases and their outcome was also discussed at length.  Marian pointed out that the Construction Association should be aware of all Cases which involved it’s members.  Marian asked if information regarding all Court Cases, Injunctions, Court Judgements, Memorandums and Sale Orders could be made available to the Construction Association, Bar Council and HBPG.   

Everyone agreed that lack of factual, up-to-date information is a major issue in North Cyprus and stressed that this issue must be seriously addressed. 

It was agreed that a Task Force would be set up to meet on a bi-monthly basis to work through all the issues. This would comprise of Soner Yetkili, Feyzi Hansel and/or Hasan Sonmezer, Marian Stokes and any other parties who would be relevant to the topics for review at each meeting. 

Mehmet Uluc asked Marian “what do you want from the government?” Marian replied that cooperation from the government is vital if the Task Force is to be successful.  In return, the Task Force would bring money owing to the construction industry into the TRNC banks for distribution to construction companies, suppliers, etc. The entire economy would benefit from this. 

Marian stated that there are two current major issues that only the government can solve – Permission to Purchase and Gary Robb owned land.  Marian asked Sheila Owens to outline the PTP issues on the Aga Hz Omer site as they covered all the problems that buyers are encountering in this area. 

Sheila stated that there are 65 properties on the Hz Omer site.  Some of the buyers have been granted permission to purchase approval, others have been refused permission and many have been waiting for 6 years for a response from the Council of Ministers.  The refused permissions appear to be on an ad-hoc basis and the response from the government is that the area is classified as a Strategic Protection Zone.  Sheila asked why some buyers had been granted permission on this basis and their neighbour had been refused.   

Over the past 9 months Mehmet Uylaf informed the Hz Omer committee that they must be patient and “wait”.  Sheila stressed that some buyers who bought on third party landowner land had been granted a Court Judgement to receive their title deeds.  However, many of these have either been refused or are still waiting. 

Mehmet Uluc said that this issue could be presented to the Task Force for investigation. 

Marian stated that, some years ago, the government had issued Gary Robb with a Kimlik card which allowed him to purchase more than one donum of land in his own name. In January 2009 Gary Robb was deported back to the UK and his Kimlik car was subsequently cancelled. It appears that no provision was made to safeguard the kocans in Gary Robb’s name to enable transfer to the buyers.  As the government had caused this situation Marian requested that the government find a solution. 

It was agreed that the first Task Force meeting would be on the 15th July at 1430 in the Economy Ministry.  Mehmet stated that Marian must provide an agenda one week in advance of each meeting and must attend the meeting fully prepared. 

Marian thanked everyone for their time and the meeting closed at 1620. 

 

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