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EC replies to legal rulings on Cyprus swimming pools

Antonio Tajani, the European Commissioner for Enterprise & Industry, has replied to a question raised by Arlene McCarthy MEP concerning the licensing of swimming pools in Cyprus and legal proceedings taken by the authorities against some owners.

AS WE reported on 4th March, the authorities in Cyprus have taken legal proceedings against the owners of shared swimming pools in private development complexes because they failed to apply for a swimming pool licence.

In a written question to the European Commission MEP Arlene McCarthy highlighted the fact that Cypriot regulations are no longer applicable as they have been superseded by EU regulations and called on the Commission to ensure unfair legal proceedings against pool owners are halted and that the correct European standards are enforced.

On Wednesday, European Commissioner for Enterprise & Industry Antonio Tajani replied to Ms McCarthy’s question.

EN
E-001470/2011
Answer given by Mr Tajani
on behalf of the Commission
(23.3.2011)

The question concerns a conflict between national regulations and a European standard. The European Standard for swimming pools, EN 15288-2, appears to conflict with Cypriot law on swimming pools.

European standard EN 15288-2 was developed and adopted by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN). Each CEN national member, which includes the national standardisation body of Cyprus, must implement the European standard by giving it the status of a national standard and withdrawing any conflicting national standard(s).

However, a CEN member may be confronted with the situation where it has to implement a European standard that does not comply with its national legislation. As the application of European standards is generally voluntary (unlike legislation), in these circumstances the CEN member is entitled to request a derogation from the mandatory replacement of the national standard by the European standard. This derogation is effected through the application of a so called ‘A-deviation’, to be included in the informative annex to the European standard.

It is not clear whether the national standardisation body of Cyprus has requested an A-deviation with respect to the European standard EN 15288-2. However, even if this was not the case, national legislation would prevail over the European standard in the event of conflict. In the absence of EU legislation applicable to the safety of swimming pools, the obligation to seek a swimming pool licence will have to be assessed by the Cypriot courts.

Further reading

Written question and answer to the European Commission E-001470/2011:  European Standard for swimming pools and its application in the municipality of Paphos

Readers' comments

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  • Robert Briggs says:

    Why are these scumbags taking criminal / legal proceedings against the buyers. Be rest assured, they will not be locals!

  • Unbelievable says:

    I would love to see a case go to court. For the Cypriot courts to impose a European Enforcement Order, only to find out the UK resident doesn’t own a bean in the UK.

    That would be hilarious and a Big 2 fingers up the Cypriot system :-)

    I bet when the Cypriot Developers and Lawyers are eventually taken to court for fraud and embezzlement, they will declare themselves bankrupt.

    They will say, “we have no property or funds for you to take”

    Mark my words and see what happens a year from now.

    Play the game people….play the game !

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Thanks Nigel. A massive campaign of non-payment of mortgages on deedless property should only be entered into then by those without UK property.

    If you can be evicted for non-payment of the developer’s mortgage against your property, even though you’ve made all of your mortgage payments, it makes sense to not throw good money after bad by paying your mortgage, especially if the total loan against your property (the money you’ve taken out against it, the initial loan the developer took out plus any further advance he may have taken out after it had been developed) is more than what it’s current market value would be.

    Alas, we’ll not know until it’s too late though. The banks won’t disclose the amount of the developer’s mortgage against our properties UNTIL they are just about to repossess (as not being the legal owners, we don’t have the right to that information).

    For those of us with no title deeds and property in the UK, we should seriously consider stopping all mortgage payments. It may put added pressure on the government through the banks, but I doubt it. For those with property in the UK, we are in the hands of the Cyprus authorities.

    Oh dear…

  • @Odd_Job_Bob – Yes.

    If the mortgagee succeeded in getting a court judgement against you in Cyprus, it could apply to a UK court to have that judgement enforced through what is called a “European Enforcement Order”.

    The mutual European Enforcement Order legislation states that if a judgement is obtained in Cyprus then it can be enforced in the uk automatically. I.e. There is be no opportunity to defend the case in a UK court, it is simply a case of requesting a court to enforce the judgement made in Cyprus.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Serious question: if you were to stop paying your mortgage on your property in Cyprus, COULD a Cypriot court make a claim against a property you had in the UK?

  • Unbelievable says:

    @Nigel,

    A good honest lawyer would surely tell his client, they have found multiple ‘breaches of contract’

    Does anyone know of a Cypriot lawyer advising their client that they have found a breach in their sales contract, so nothing to worry about – you can backout and claim all your money back.

    I bet NO Cypriot lawyer would ever do this and the Cypriot courts would never allow hundreds of cases to be heard.

    Dirty, Cheating, Greedy, Selfish Cyprus.

    Carry on digging a deeper hole Cyprus. If we all decide to stuff the mortgage repayments and see how far you can really push people – then Cyprus would really be in the s###h####.

    Banks do not want the hassle of repossession and the developers don’t have cash to purchase repossessed property. Who they gonna sell it too anyway?

    No one is going to pay full market value for repossessed property with NO Title Deed or Final Certificate.

    Does anyone know how many properties have actually been repossessed by the courts?

    This is something Cyprus is really dreading. It’s not the same as UK repossessions. UK house has full Title Deed, no strings attached and easy to sell to a large market. Mortgage companies take out an indemnity insurance policy so they should be able to recoup their monies.

    Cyprus can not afford to have 40% of the housing market repossessed. It will stuff everyone….You, Me, Banks, Developers…the lot.

    So if the big boys (on a little tiny island) start to threaten the masses…smile and say,

    “Come on then. I have no property in the UK and no money in the bank. I can however pay you back at £10 per week. Are you OK with this arrangement?”

  • @Unbelievable – Another couple of questions that need to be asked is:

    1) How developers managed to get building permits for developments that did not include the facilities required for communal pools?

    2) Why they failed to advise potential buyers of the costs associated with operating a communal pools?

  • Ian says:

    So…..If I’ve understood the gist of the letter- A ‘nation’ member of the EU can adopt those bits of legislation which suits them, and claim immunity from those that don’t by virtue of conflict with ‘National Interest’.

    Laughable. What DO we pay these politicians to do for us ??

  • Unbelievable says:

    Without a Title Deed, surely the house occupier is a ‘Tenant’

    The person who holds the Title Deed, is the legal owner of the land and anything that sits on it.

    So stuff the Cypriot courts. Go ask the Title Deed owner for cash relating to fines..

    If however, you are dragged to court and the judge declares that You are the legal owner of the land even without current title deed, then this sets another precedent, hopefully in your favour :-)

    Touché

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    I know, I know, let me answer this one please Sir!

    On the basis that the Buyer pays the property developers IPT, the Buyer can now pay fines caused by the PD for non-compliance with building standards, the Buyer will have the opportunity to pay off the PD’s defaulting mortgage, the answer has got to be: the Property Developer!

    Did I get that one wrong? Oh dear…

  • @Andrew – A good question to which I do not have an answer. I know that a number of buyers in Paphos have been taken to court, but I do not know whether their properties have been issued with Title Deeds.

  • Andrew says:

    In the very likely event that people having shared swimming pool facilities have not yet been issued with separate Title Deeds, then who receives the fine. The errant developer or the hapless property dweller?.

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