IT IS believed that over 50,000 British buyers of Cypriot properties are yet to receive their Title Deeds and are thus not the legal owners of their homes. Under Cypriot law, Title Deeds and full legal ownership cannot be transferred to buyers until developer mortgages are settled in full.
The consequences of this for buyers are far-reaching and include being liable to high property charges; being burdened with huge legal fees; being unable to sell the property, and being encumbered with the mortgage of a developer who has gone bankrupt.
In light of this Mr Karim has co-signed, with his Conservative colleagues, a letter to the EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, asking for the EU to take action against unscrupulous property developers who are selling properties without giving information as to the ownership of the Title Deeds.
The letter to the Commission requests:
1. The Commission to confirm that, in its view, the practice of withholding property Title Deeds is, in all circumstances, an unfair commercial practice and thus an infringement of Directive 2005/29/EC (on Unfair Commercial Practices).
2. The Commission to confirm that the law applies to all current cases where Title Deeds have not yet been transferred, regardless of when any sales contract was signed.
3. The Commission to recommend that the withholding of Title Deeds or legal ownership of immovable property after purchase be added to Annex 1 of Directive 2005/29/EC, which lists 31 “Commercial practices which are in all circumstances considered unfair”.
Commenting on this issue, Mr Karim said:
“As the Conservative Legal Affairs Spokesperson, I am very much aware of the problems regarding outstanding developer mortgages in Cyprus and the far-reaching consequences these are having on British individuals who have supposedly bought their homes outright.
“I am also acutely aware that the worsening economic conditions will only serve to exacerbate the problems caused by developers going into liquidation and therefore heighten the risks involved when buying a property in Cyprus.
“Along with my colleagues in the Conservative Group, I have continued to raise this matter with the European Commission and within the European Parliament. I believe that continued pressure should be put on the EU Commission to act on, and intervene in, these wrongful practices by unscrupulous property developers, which are affecting thousands of EU citizens every year.”
To read more information about this issue, visit the Cyprus Property Action Group website.
About Sajjad Karim MEP
Sajjad was first elected to the European Parliament in 2004 and was re-elected in June 2009. He represents more than 7 million residents of the North West of England – covering Cumbria, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire.
In 2009, he was promoted to the Conservative front bench in the European Parliament as the Legal Affairs Spokesperson.
While visiting India as part of a European Parliament Committee on International Trade delegation, he was caught up in the Mumbai attacks in the lobby of the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel.
Sajjad qualified as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 1997 and became a partner in several specialist law practices across the North West of England, including his own practices in Pendle and Manchester.
His first taste of political life came when he was elected as a local Councillor on Pendle Borough Council in May 1994. He served in this role for eight years, during which time he held many key chairmanships.