THE House Legal Affairs Committee’s effort to conclude two of five bills that hope to put an end to the title deeds nightmare in the property market has been delayed by a number of questions raised during recent discussions.
One such point of dispute is how to make it a criminal offence for a property seller to mortgage a property he or she has already sold as it will be obligatory to present the property’s sales contract to the Land Registry Department before any such transaction can take place.
A new meeting has been scheduled for next week, said Committee Chairman, DISY’s Ionas Nicolaou, after Monday’s session.
Nicolaou said the effort was to find a balance between the rights of the seller and the buyer, as determined in the sales contract that was signed.
This, he said, would resolve all the problems that have led to the crisis in Cyprus’ property market over the past few years.
“One matter that arises is the ability, within a period of six months from when this legislation comes into effect, to submit all sales contracts to the Land Registry, which haven’t yet been submitted,” Nicolaou explained. He added that this was independent of when the contract was signed.
But most importantly, he added, this would lead to “the creation of criminal responsibility in the event that a property seller takes out a mortgage on the property, without first confirming if the sales contract he signed was submitted to the Land Registry before applying for the mortgage”.
This measure, said Nicolaou, would protect buyers from property sellers who may sign a sales contract one day, then go and mortgage the property the following day, resulting in the mortgage having superiority over the sales contract.
Next week’s meeting is expected to shed some light on a number of issues.
The current system has left hundreds of overseas property investors at the mercy of developers who went out of business due to the current worldwide property and economic slump.