Warning against squatters!

Achtung

by Ralph Kratzer

Note: The blogs of  tfrnorthcyprus and cyprusscene want to be absolutely neutral in their contributions, that is why we do not mention any names of persons or companies in this article! (Instead of the names you will see “…”)

On our partner website “northcyprusforum” I read the following post written by an English forum member several weeks ago:

Please be aware the following is a factual account and home owners in North Cyprus (especially ones who don’t live in their villas all year round) should I hope find our story helpful.

We have had a villa in North Cyprus for 8 years (and love it!) but for the past 6 months we have had a squatter and thief in our villa. The squatters were “…” (an indoor smoker) his wife “…”, a baby, their dog and some senior family members. The baby was even born in our villa! We only just got this man out after discovering his existence in our villa just 3 months ago. It has been horrendous physically, mentally and financially. To add insult to injury, Mr.”…” and his family stole many items from our villa and caused property damage.

Our Property Manager “…” says our squatter “stole the keys from her office”. However “…” was aware of this squatter in our villa since his arrival (after all a Property Manager should be regularly checking a villa). We were told of Mr.”…” and his family were in our villa by a neighbour (3 months after he had arrived). Our neighbour thought we had renters in our villa. We were shocked and thought our neighbour had confused our villa with someone elses. No we had squatters! My bowel cancer was diagnosed within a few days of hearing this news and we also have a younger child, so we could not fly across to fix the huge problem. “…” admitted her lies but wasn’t helping either. When the illegally connected electricity was turned off by the electric company, Mr.“…”  moved out within 5 days (last week) and presumably has gone somewhere else? He paid us nothing and our utility costs alone are £4,000 and with the thefts and property damage, the full extent of Mr.“…” ’s illegal existence at our villa will exceed £8,000. Mr.“…”  paid us no money and evidently tells people I will pay you lots of money once I get money transferred from Turkey and a deal goes through etc etc etc. Please be aware he will not pay you.

I don’t want anyone else to suffer this emotional, health destroying, financially destroying situation. So please, if you have a villa and come across this individual please be aware of the lies and the fact he is known to the police for some years (I am guessing he leaves a trail of damage to property and unpaid bills behind him). If you need to know what he looks like, please look on the internet as his photograph is listed publicly on Facebook and other websites. Understandably we no longer use “…” for our property services.

Now actually the accused squatter then answered a few days ago as follows:

This article is completely wrong. I signed a contract with “…” Investments Ltd. Manager“…” . I paid to her 4.750 GBP while we were putting our signatures to contract. And she gave us keys of the house. Also I still keep the contract. After two months, one day she came to our house and told us that she didn’t say anything to the owners about this contract and money. I asked her why… Her answer was exactly like that : The owners didn’t give any money to her for 2.5 years. And she deserved that money which I gave her… She cried and bag us to leave the house just for 20 mins. coz somebody wants to see the house. And this couple came from U.K. She told us they are the owners clients… She told us she has 3 children and her husband run away etc… And she didnt want to say that we made a contract. She cleaned the house.. thats funny but all true… and we left the house for 20 mins. Me, my wife, our baby and our dog. After she offered us that we wont give any money but when owners will come we should leave the house… we didn’t accept. By the way we have documents, we gave one month rental price more to her. And electric bill. But she didn’t give to the electric company. So I don’t want to write very long… Meanwhile a lot of things happened. At the end we said that we want to leave the house coz the owners wife has cancer. Our last day the owners friend name Mr.“…” and “…” came to house. And checked every inc of the house. Not anything missing. Mr.“…” knows . He told us that he doesn’t like “…”, he doesn’t trust her and so many things… We gave keys to Mr.“…” . He and his wife was very polite to us. Thats the story… our old neighbors Mr.“…”  saw our contract and payment documents. Also we went to police. But like every Cypriot people they didn´t care anything….“…”@hotmail.com is my mail adress. Everybody can ask me anything about this subject… I have a lawyer in North Cyprus. “…” knows him… She is a liar. We liked her, but after read this article we understood that she played with us. Sorry “…”! Enough…

So what is the conclusion from the above mentioned story?

Haus_1I personally as the Secretary of the TFR (The Foreign Residents in the TRNC) know a lot of people who do not live permanently in their homes in Northern Cyprus.

I would like to give our readers the following advice from my own experience:

What can the owner of a house or a flat do to avoid squatting?

  • Have good contact with your neighbours. I would never give the key of my house to somebody I do not know or I do not trust. When I leave my property for a long time I ask one of my neighbours to keep an eye on it and look after it from time to time. I know most of my neighbours, English and Cypriot, and I would put my hand in the fire for them. Neighbours are the ideal watchdogs, because they have your house in sight.
  • If you don´t have a good relationship with your neighbours, ask friends or acquaintances to keep an eye on your property.
  • If you have neither neighbours nor friends, look for a reliable professional caretaker. There are several companies in Northern Cyprus offering this kind of service. View the adverts in the newspapers for that.
  • Always leave your overseas phone number with the neighbours or with your friends, so they can call you immediately if something seems not to be right with your house/flat.
  • Ask the authorities (Municipality, Police) about the laws and rules regarding abandoned property. What you can do to avoid squatting and what if it should really happen? The Police Headquarter in Girne is very helpful in giving advice.
  • Ask the Municipality to turn off and seal the mains water line for the time you are not here. I know that the Alsancak Belediye is practicing that. No squatter wants to live in a house without water.

What can you do as a neighbour of a temporarily empty house or flat, when you know the legal owners?

  • Keep your eyes open for signs of squatting.
  • Get in touch with the new residents and ask non-binding questions about the owners. From the answers you can possibly conclude if they are lawful tenants/guests or illegal squatters.
  • Call the Property Management, if there is one, and inform them that the new people who moved in are not the original owners.
  • Call or visit your local police station if something strange seems to happen in the neighbour´s house.
  • Write down the license plate number if the squatter has a vehicle.

If any of our readers has had similar experiences or can provide good advice, please don´t hesitate to leave a comment for all our other readers below!