IN OCTOBER, MEP Daniel Hannan raised a written question in the EU Parliament concerning developer mortgages in Cyprus and evidence that developers, estate agents, lawyers and banks are habitually breaking the law.
He asked the Commission what action it would take against Cyprus to protect EU nationals’ rights who have been misled into buying property that the developer had previously mortgaged. He said:
“it is clearly a material fact that the property being purchased has a developer’s mortgage on it, and that in the event of the developer being forced into liquidation, buyers could potentially lose their homes. This fact is systematically hidden from potential buyers by developers” – and continued – “Cypriot banks even grant mortgages to buyers without informing them that the developer may also have a prior mortgage of his own on the property.”
European Commission reply
IN HER WRITTEN reply on behalf of the Commission published yesterday, Vice-President Mrs Viviane Reding noted:
“The Commission is aware that the purchase of immovable property in Cyprus has generated some degree of concern amongst a number of consumers”.
“In relation to the alleged infringements of Union legislation by real estate market operators in Cyprus, please note that these problems may be addressed by the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC2 which was transposed in Cyprus in July 20073, and has been in force in that State since December 2007.
Its provisions require that traders, including property developers, operate according to the requirements of professional diligence and that they display in a clear, intelligible and timely manner material information that consumers need to make informed choices.
However, only national authorities and courts are competent to assess, on a case by case basis, whether not informing consumers that there are title deeds on the property which is being offered constitutes a misleading omission in the sense of the Directive.”
(Click on the highlighted text to read MEP Hannan’s question on the subject of developer mortgages in Cyprus and the reply on behalf of the European Commission by Vice-President Mrs Viviane Reding).
Are we being deceived?
CLEARLY, the European Commission has failed to answer or even address MEP Daniel Hannan’s question.
His question had nothing whatsoever to do about “not informing consumers that there are title deeds on the property”.
It concerned the fact that “there is evidence of continuing, systematic and habitual infringement of EC law by developers, estate agents, lawyers and banks” … “it is clearly a material fact that the property being purchased has a developer’s mortgage on it, and that in the event of the developer being forced into liquidation, buyers could potentially lose their homes. This fact is systematically hidden from potential buyers by developers.”
I would not be surprised if this misleading and rather foolish answer was designed to deceive the European Union. But I am confident that Mr Hannan and his MEP colleagues will be asking some serious questions of the European Commission and of Cyprus in the days ahead.