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Time for a property commissioner

It is time for a property commissioner to be established in Cyprus with executive powers to push the relevant government departments to enact much-delayed property laws.

THE increasing number of public notices issued in the local press regarding banks’ claims against mortgage defaulters, is worrying and calls for the immediate establishment of a Property Commissioner in Cyprus.

There is no doubt that any political party in power or the opposition would have no difficulty to find people to fill the post. Naturally, they would have to be the ‘right’ people for the job and not just some party has-been who did not make it on the candidate list.

The Commissioner would need to have executive powers, just like the regulators of certain sectors of vital economic activity (telecoms, post, transport, broadcast), but to learn from the mistakes of establishing the Environment Commissioner, a crucial office which has been undermined by the present and past administrations as it has insufficient staff to deal with the huge workload of legislative changes and inter-ministerial coordination.

One of the main issues that the Property Commissioner would undertake would be to push the relevant government departments or parliament to enact the much-delayed laws on the dreaded Title Deeds, but it would also monitor the situation with lax mortgage facilities provided to buyers with a poor credit history, simply to keep the property developers afloat.

The problem now is that the Ministry of Interior throws its hands up in the air saying it passed the proposed bills to parliament and could do nothing more, while the MPs say it is all delayed at other government departments or draft legislations are inefficient.

Up to now, banks have been acting against developers who default on their mortgages and then extending the action to individual buyers (who had no involvement in the mortgage) instead of going after the developer’s guarantors which logically, legally and ethically they should do.

The new twist, inferred from the latest notices in the newspapers, is that when an individual buyer defaults on his own mortgage the banks are now going after the developer as well! The individual buyer will then simply say “go after the developer’s guarantor, not me”.

Either way, not a good advertisement for the Cyprus property market or the banks.

Time for a property commissioner in Cyprus

Readers' comments

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  • out of the frying pan into the fire says:

    James Lockhart is right. What can you say ?.

    Once again get onto your MEPs.

    Or here is another idea perhaps Nigel could sell the story of buying in Cyprus to a television company as a comedy script.

    People I talk to are not sure whether to believe me or not, the situation is so bizarre it’s a comedy a tragic one. And the tragic part is there are still overseas buyers , buying !.

    O well once again, get onto your MEP.

  • James JH Lockhart says:

    For a Commissioner to be appointed with real powers and funding you would need to overcome the following:

    AG (Attorney General)
    Lawyers
    Developers
    Banks
    Estate Agents

    oh And then get all the deputies who are lawyers to vote for a Commissioner.

  • Martyn says:

    Sounds like a complete shambles, do they not realise the longer they wait (to take action) the bigger the problem will become, the less attractive Cyprus becomes as a holiday/retirement location, the longer it will take for the country to recover from the severe impacts of the ‘credit crunch’ and subsequent recession that is far from ‘over’ and still bugging a large number of countries, many of which are serious competitors of Cyprus and better organised, generally, to adapt, innovate, perform.

  • Stuart says:

    No-one who has any interest in property development in Cyprus is going to want to appoint a Property Commissioner are they.

    Which developers want to see an end to their unscrupulous, money-making activities, always assuming the Commissioner would have the slightest influence over them anyway.

    Don’t hold your breath on this one!

  • EleniP says:

    Dee you are so right….unfortunately!

  • geoffcy says:

    IF we had an AG who knew what he was doing and IF we had lawyers who were honest then we could have a little hope.

    The trouble is we have neither so while we have crooks and con men in charge we have NO hope.

  • Dee says:

    Let’s think, who have we got who we can trust…….em…..

  • Ronaldos says:

    Let us not get confused here: when an individual buyer defaults on his mortgage payments and the title deeds are still in the name of the seller or the developer, the bank HAS to go against the both of them. The one as debtor, the other one as registered owner of the collateral.

  • Bob Briggs says:

    The Property Comissioners will have their work cut out, dealing with this scum!

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