REPRESENTATIVES of over 50,000 British buyers of Cypriot properties, who have yet to receive their title deeds from the property developers and are thus not the legal owners of their homes, want MEPs to campaign on their behalf to end this scandal.
The scam is that developers fail to inform potential buyers that the title deeds for their homes will be withheld for an unspecified time and that the land on which their property is built has only been mortgaged by the developer.
The consequences for buyers are that they are liable to high property charges, burdened with huge legal fees and unable to sell the property.
But what is worse is that if the developer goes bankrupt, they will lose their home despite having paid in full for it. This is because the title deeds and full legal ownership cannot be transferred to buyers until the developer has settled his mortgage on the land in full.
Given the worsening economic outlook for Cyprus and its property industry, the risk of developer default and the repossession of these homes can only become much greater. The developer debt has doubled in size in the last three years and now stands at nearly six billion Euros.
The MEPs have been asked to jointly sign letters to the European Commission and the British Government as well as the Consumer Protection Service, the agency that enforces the European Union’s Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices law. In their letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, the MEPs request immediate action.
“The undersigned trust that you will agree that British citizens need to be afforded more consumer protection against the unfair practices of Cypriot developers.
“We therefore respectfully urge you to ensure that the Office of Fair Trading’s priorities include investigating the illegal practices of Cypriot developers as soon as possible, including taking the appropriate measures to ensure adequate consumer protection.
“We have written to the Chief Executive of the OFT and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with the same request. It is important to remember that EU member states could be liable to pay damages to individuals who have been adversely affected by the non-implementation of an EU Directive. We can confirm that the European Commission is now referring British buyers who complain directly to them to the OFT.
“Finally, we would urge that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office website is updated to strengthen the warning to prospective buyers of the potential pitfalls of buying property directly from Cypriot developers.”
Nick Griffin MEP was very pleased to be able to put his name to the letters. Mr Griffin told our News Team:
“I have been actively involved in a campaign to highlight the plight of the many thousands of ex-pat property owners in Spain whose homes have been effectively confiscated by the Spanish Government. I am, therefore, well aware of the difficulties faced by individuals struggling to gain a fair outcome in the face of systematic collusion between the authorities, property developers and the legal profession.
“I am happy to support the campaign to win justice for the many constituents similarly affected by the organised deception of Cypriot property developers, lawyers and bankers.”