Small British expat community in Cyprus devastated as homes collapse

Published:  3 Jul at 6 PM
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British expats living in the Cypriot hill village of Pissouri are being evicted as their homes are collapsing due to underground water courses causing giant underground sink holes and landslides.

The British expat community in Pissouri are mostly retirees and families, enjoying their time off in the sunshine amidst glorious sea vistas. The problem became apparent as early as 2015, but is now at a crucial point, with 70 homes either rendered uninhabitable or under immediate threat. One Briton’s swimming pool and front drive are now poised on an unstable slope some three metres from his door, with other expat owners in the luxury development now homeless due to the collapse of their properties.

The Cypriot government are well aware of the issue, with minister of the interior Socratis Hasikos telling residents government intervention would be forthcoming shortly after the problems began. To date, no action has been taken, as Hasokos resigned in 2017. One retired expat resident, former chartered surveyor Antony Walker, whose home is badly affected, told reporters no-one from the authority has even arrived to inspect the worsening damage. He said the developers of the luxury estate are being blamed for the ongoing disaster, saying each home had been built by individual developers at different times and explaining that construction doesn’t cause roads to collapse and homes to slip down the hillside.

Owners of the doomed properties are now banded together as the Pissouri Housing Initiative Group and are urging the Cypriot government to apply to the EU for a grant from its solidarity fund to stabilise the land. Property insurance hasn’t helped the affected home owners, as landslides are not covered. According to Antony Walker, many home owners are now suffering financial problems as they have mortgages and cannot afford to move to another location. The Cypriot government, he said, aren’t interested in helping the expat home owners.

This isn’t the first time expats have been caught in the same situation, with an expat family in Paphos now planning to take the government to court for allowing their property to be built on similarly unstable land. However, the affected homeowners in Pissouri are only considering legal action as a last resort, due to Cyprus’s sluggish legal system. It’s estimated a court case would take around 10 years to come to a conclusion, with some expat residents already in their 80’s.
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