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Reprieve for couple in danger of losing their home

The couple who retired to Cyprus and who were deceived into buying an apartment that was already mortgaged have won a reprieve from their misery as no-one bid for their property when it was put up for auction last Sunday.

TWO RETIRED charity workers who faced eviction at the weekend have won a reprieve after nobody turned up to the repossessions auction of their home on Sunday.

Ken and Mary Hudson, both 72, were on the brink of homelessness because the former owner had sold them the flat in Larnaca while he had an outstanding mortgage, which meant the bank retained the Title Deeds.

When the former owner, who formerly ran a kiosk in Larnaca, stopped making payments the bank informed the Hudsons their home would be repossessed.

Had a buyer arrived at Sunday’s auction, the Hudsons would either have been evicted or be forced to reach an agreement with the new owner – despite paying £24,000 Cypriot pounds (€41,200) eight years ago, and being informed by a notary that the property was theirs.

Mary Hudson said yesterday, “We went up to the cafe where the auction was being held – It was full of men playing cards and smoking under the no-smoking signs. We waited for about half an hour but no one turned up.

After about an hour, Mary said, the auctioneer informed them that he would write a report to say there were no bidders, which would be sent to the bank.

For now we are safe at home, but nothing has changed legally.

The no-show means the Hudsons are in legal limbo, with the prospect of eviction with the sale the property looming. However, in practice, this process could now take up to two years, while the case waits to be re-examined. “The auctioneer said it might be a couple of years before the bank looks at it again.

Asked about their next steps, Mary said that they would write to the Interior Ministry, requesting that they change the law to allow banks to retrieve money from the mortgage payers, rather than from sale of the property to a new owner.

People have tried to change the law before. If the government did (change the law) it would make a huge difference. It could revolutionise the whole (property) thing.

Before they do anything else, however, the Hudsons will take a holiday in the mountains to rest after the ordeal.

We’re going to stay in a friend’s house in the mountains and sleep I think.

Readers' comments

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  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Jon. Good point about Phileleftheros. But why suddenly after all these years does it report this particular case when it has been silent on all the mountain of previous cases? Presumably because it is known as being almost a government mouthpiece. When the govt says jump, they ask only ‘how high?’. And why is the AG instructing the police to act in this case when he has blocked all the many previous ones? Could it be that the AG is now aware that his actions are monitored and reported internationally? To be seen to be acting on this case could be window dressing to cast attention from all the rest. Or, perhaps it’s because this time (with more in the pipeline) Cypriots not foreigners are the victims and they have extended families and friends who vote.

  • James says:

    Did the house have a reserve on it? The Hudsons should have gave a bid of 100 euros, you never know, they might have bought their home back.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    In reply to Denton Mackrell, Mickey and others, the Cypriot psyche indeed operates in a way which equates any criticism of ANY part of the mechanics of the state to be a slur on the nation as a whole and will be vigorously resisted – even if the position is indefensible. Logic, morality or fair play simply don’t come into it.

    Those who’ve made their home here have assumed, wrongly as it’s turned out, that basic legal standards and general ethics exist here and that safeguards will ultimately win out. Not so. It’s all the more disheartening when people naturally adopt the same procedures that they would have done if they’d still be living in their mother countries, contacting lawyers, Law Societies, police, Ombudsmen with teeth, vociferous MP’s, etc. until justice is served.

    The basic defence that the authorities use here is to be SILENT. Exhaust the victim until he gives up, leaves or dies. THIS is the reality. Playing the game by set rules is not part of the agenda here. A different strategy is required.

    What is particularly disconcerting is the recent ruling by the European Commission: a Pontius Pilate reaction or body swerve at best. I’m afraid that I don’t have any solutions in my arsenal and there are others who are far better qualified than I to give further advice.

    Although I’ve had many letters published in the Cyprus Mail, I recently had an article about the treatment of refugees by successive governments published in the Greek language newspaper Politis. This was a first for me and I intend to repeat this. Although my name is British, my mother was Greek Cypriot, my grandfather was a well respected politician in the 1930’s and I’m fairly well versed on the subject that is Cyprus. Perhaps more of you should take the trouble to write and submit letters to Greek papers and the Cyprus Mail. (Yes, it’ll need somebody to help with translation but make the effort).

    Yes, as Denton writes, until the Greek press – and the Cypriot populace – starts to make some noise, the government will continue its tried and tested policy of silence. What one has to understand is that Cyprus is still a young, modern country with no developed culture of dissent or questioning of authority: lawyers, doctors and ‘professionals’ are still deemed to be Gods here.

    In my view, the key to all this rests with two men: the President and the Attorney General. It is they who are the only ones who can make a difference and perhaps stronger representations to them would be a start.

    Don’t give up.

  • Matt says:

    Form an Action Group !

    200 members @ £1000.00 each = £200,000

    Select a Team of UK (Greek) Barristers and a small team of Cypriot Lawyers from different companies. Let the UK Greek Barristers take control.

    Sign an agreement that legal teams have no ‘conflict of interest’ with whoever they deal with in Cyprus!

    £1000.00 is a small fee to pay if you’ve invested over £100,000 in property.

    See how the Banks, Lawyers, Developers & Courts like it then !!!

  • jon frazer says:

    @Denton Mackrell. The Greek language paper Phileleftheros is currently being sued by K+M Famagusta Developers for 2,000,000 euros for libel according to reports on this site (QV) taken from the Cyprus Mail.

  • graham cockroft says:

    What a mess, Cyprus needs to wake up and re-write the book on property law as there`s obviously a couple of pages missing relative to ‘honesty’.

    This practice of retaining deeds and double dealing has been rampant for years and until its resolved DO NOT BUY PROPERTY IN CYPRUS.

    I can only advise Ken and and Mary to lock their house up tight whilst away, they might find a squatter in it when they get back, then what ??

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    Rona is right. The Greek language media should indeed have been covering all this calumny over the past few years. I am aware that many letters and missives have been sent to them, but the whole subject has been ignored. Could it be that they operate a self-censorship on any topic that could be taken as critical of the authorities, a bit like the tame US media most of which who cannot distinguish between constructive criticism and national disloyalty?

    Perhaps now that more Greek Cypriots are being hit by the Title Deeds/property fraud issues e.g. Froiber, K&M Famagusta, we may see the editors of the Greek language press showing a bit more backbone.

  • mickey says:

    I thought the Cypriot legal system was based on the UK model for historical reasons. If so, how can any solicitor acting in a property sale NOT have to inform the buyer where a mortgage exists over the property being sold?

    On top of that, how can a mortgaged property be sold without the buyer’s written agreement to effectively taking over partial legal responsibility for that mortgage?

    It’s unbelievable that if this state of affairs is legal under Cypriot law then, as a member of the EU, Brussels does not intervene to force the Cyprus authorities to put things right equitably immediately. Otherwise, Cyprus is operating in a fashion no better than a banana state in this respect.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    Has anyone heard any whisper as to which bank it was? BTW I hear the victims of the Froiber collapse are fighting back against repossession by the banks. Another well known developer is reported to have stopped progress and completion of a number of sites and is only keeping afloat by taking on government social housing construction work. Other high profile developers are openly advertising their properties at heavily discounted prices, possibly at zero margin or even at a loss. A sign of conditions moving from appalling to scary.

    The big question: with the Cyprus banks not getting mortgage income from defaulting developers but also unable to sell repossessed properties in this flat market, just how safe are depositors’ funds? Who would trust the account holders’ protection scheme?

  • Rona says:

    The problem is that we are not getting the truth “out there”. Only English speaking people who are affected by these insane laws read this magazine and the Cyprus Mail.

    Most Cypriots are unaware of what is going on. We need to make more noise in the right direction and IMHO this magazine and the Cyprus Mail are not that.

  • Bob Briggs says:

    Who did this to the Hudsons are total scum!

  • colin biggs says:

    Does the Cypriot government not see the damage that they are doing to any possible property recovery on the island by not dealing with these antiquated non EEC laws and practices?

    By doing nothing they are leaving the market static with long term potential of a complete crash if there are large numbers of default/bank repossessed properties coming onto the market in the future. this will lead to:

    1/ a complete mistrust by buyers.
    2/ a complete over-supply of property on the market.
    3/ a downward spiral of property prices.
    4/ massive unemployment and reduction in tax revenues.
    5/ the downfall of the government, massive contraction of the economy and years of future austerity for the country.

    Solution – act now to wrong the rights of the past to prevent the woes of the future.

  • Jim says:

    Does anyone know the name of the bank involved?

  • Simon says:

    Name & Shame ! Drag them through the mud and get the truth ouit there ! Once the property industry stagnates the developers & bankers themselves will be obliged to change the law from the nepotistic system they have crafted for themselves.

  • Peter says:

    This is only the start. There are another 100,000 to go after this one.

    The only way this mess will get sorted is with EU intervention, which must happen sooner or later, hopefully sooner.

    Until then the building industry in Cyprus is dead in the water.

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