A NUMBER of my constituents have raised concerns regarding the lack of protection of citizens’ property and legal representation rights when purchasing an immovable propriety in Cyprus. Various cases of fraud in the Cypriot housing market have been recently highlighted in the Cypriot press and on UK television.
The chronic delay in the issuance of title deeds and loopholes contained in the Specific Performance Law create serious problems for purchasers regarding ownership, finance, re-sale and other matters. Developers, retaining their title deeds, are free to reschedule or extend existing mortgages without the buyer’s permission.
In the event that the developer becomes insolvent, citizens who have legitimately bought property in Cyprus may see their homes repossessed.
I am aware that the Commission has already responded to questions put forward by my Parliamentary colleagues on this subject (Joint answer to Written Questions E-6513/08, E-6793/08 and E-0110/09) but separately, albeit related to this, it has also been brought to my attention the difficulties associated with seeking legal remedies to the problems described above. Accusations have been made that some lawyers engaged to deal with property transactions deliberately or neglectfully fail to perform the relevant checks. Further, on 13 January 2010, the Cypriot Parliamentary Human Rights Committee heard that lawyers were refusing to represent members of the public who wish to take civil action against other lawyers.
Is the Commission aware of the lack of protection regarding property rights and legal representation rights in Cyprus? What action does the Commission propose to take in order to properly protect EU nationals’ rights?
Further reading: Cypriot legal and property rights written question to EU Parliament