What Rights do Joint Owners of a Property Have in Cyprus?
When dealing with immovable property or land law disputes between co-owners in Cyprus, all named co-owners on the title deeds or contracts have to appear in court as litigants in court as a necessary party for any decisions or resolutions to take place.
The existence of common interest does not prevent a joint owner from applying to the Court to claim his rights when the other joint owners may not show any interest. The extent of co-owners interest in a Cyprus property extend to rights regarding interest in the property, for land law disputes such as:
- Any accounts of illegal trespassing.
- Contract conversion.
- Tenant delay or rental payments in arrears.
A relevant example regards to the existence of a jointly owned property, which is rented and the tenant does not pay the rent. The filing of an action or an application for recovery of the rents due by only one of the joint owners does not give the tenant the right to raise an issue of non-joinder of the other joint owners as litigants and the Court may try the claim and issue a judgment for damages to the co-owner’s share.
When protection of the property is sought, the remedy available is for the common interest the property, but regarding the settlement of damages, the co-owner is entitled to compensation in proportion to his interest in the property. Non-joinder of the other co-owners does not constitute a failure of the action, since it is up to them when they wish to claim damages proportionally to their share in relation to other actions or disputes.
Article 9 & 10 of the Cyprus Civil Procedure Rules states that no reason shall be defeated as a result of the misjoinder or the non-joinder of parties, and the Court may in every matter or controversy so far as regards the rights and interests of the parties actually before it.
A Cyprus Judge may order that the names of any parties improperly joined be struck out, and that the names of any parties, whether Claimants or Defendants, who ought to have been joined, or whose presence before the Court may be necessary in order to enable the Court effectually and completely to adjudicate upon and settle all the questions involved in the cause or matter, be added. However no person shall be added as a Claimant without their prior written consent.
The right of a co-owner to receive his share from rental payments from a property rented in Cyprus was recently looked at by the President of the Rent Control Court of Limassol regarding a judgment issued in September last year, whereby a Claimant approached the court as a sole owner of a Cyprus property. However it later became evident that he was in fact a joint owner with others who all owned a percentage in accordance with their share.
The Claimants percentage share of the property was 25% respectively and had no separate title deeds stating this, claimed that he was a sole owner with absolute responsibility for the rented property. The court considered the applicable articles & case law and came to the conclusion that the tenant could not complain about the non-joinder of the other joint owners, and in this case, the claim should proceed proportionally according to the 25% shareholding of the premises.
It was found that as a joint owner, the Claimant had an actionable right under legislation against the tenant and he was not prevented from using it, even by if only in their own capacity. However, his claim could only be satisfied in proportion to his right. From the evidence presented and the information contained in the tenancy agreement, it was decided that the tenancy agreement was entered into in December 2000 and the property was not covered by the Rent Control Law as it was not completed since 1999.
Therefore the Claimants right could not be contested by the Rent Control Court. Consequently, the Court discontinued the proceedings and referred the dispute to be tried by the Cyprus District Court of Limassol, pursuant to Article 64 of the Courts Law, and ordered the Claimant to pay the costs accordingly.
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