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Another empty promise?

Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos has become the latest in a long line of government ministers to promise reforms to the Cyprus property industry to “protect and enshrine the rights of property buyers”.

SPEAKING at the Annual General Meeting of the Cyprus Real Estate Agents Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos said that the problems facing the real estate industry are of paramount importance.

In his address, the Minister said that his ministry and the government were focussing on radical solutions to the problems facing the sector.

He hoped the ills of the past could be solved through a legal framework for the authorisation of development projects and the issuance of Title Deeds – and referred to changes that had already been made to reduce the time taken to process applications.

He said that “the ultimate goal is to protect and enshrine the rights property buyers, and help restore the good name of Cyprus to attract foreign investment.”

More empty promises?

Over the years successive governments have ‘promised’ to clean up the property industry, but to date, these promises have proved to be little more than hot air.

In October 2005, the Cyprus Government said it was going to plug loopholes in the law, introduce fines, and provide property buyers what it called ‘an arsenal of weapons against unscrupulous property developers’.

In September 2007, the Government said it was going to look at providing greater security to homebuyers by enabling their Contracts of Sale to take precedence over the developers’ mortgages.

In June 2008, Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis assured property buyers that newly proposed legislation to resolve problems in the property sector could be implemented by the end of the year.

In January 2009, the Interior Ministry gave its assurances to the British High Commissioner that it intended to introduce a Bill to address the Title Deed issue.

In April 2009, Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis qualified his earlier assurances to the British High Commissioner by saying that the Bill will only apply to future cases.

Whether Mr Hasikos will be remembered as a hero – a politician who keeps his word – or just another hot-air blowing Cypriot minister, only time will tell.

Readers' comments

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  • MartynG says:

    ‘the ultimate goal is to protect and enshrine the rights property buyers, and help restore the good name of Cyprus to attract foreign investment.” All very laudable : ‘. ..

    ‘ultimate goal’ – by when?

    “Enshrine” – strong religious overtones here I think. Very emotive but…..

    ‘Help restore the good name of Cyprus’ – er, by when, 2020? A Perfect Vision?… Or, more pragmatically ‘sometime, maybe never’?

    ‘Attract foreign investment’? Well there will always those from’ ‘elsewhere’ looking to make profits out of other people’s misfortunes, or seeking to buy their way into EU citizenships etc. via the extremely generous terms and conditions offered by the Cyprus government.

    The Minister doesn’t of course give any great detail – such as, maybe, ‘won’t leave any stones unturned’ – ‘(or is that any ‘tern unstoned’?)

    If he does all he promises then, he’s likely going to upset a lot of his chums, fellow professionals, developers, lawyers, bankers and the like.

    But, let’s wish him luck……..

    If he really is serious, he needs it!

  • Stelios says:

    Most likely the latter, they are too old to deal with their own health issues and enjoying their grand children! The should not be there in the first place! Under the carpet is the only political solution they know to any problems! :)

  • richard says:

    What odds would William Hill give you Nigel?

  • Stuart says:

    Mr Hasikos has already defaulted on his proposed 50% reduction in property transfer tax but of course this was only a temporary measure designed to last at the most about 18 months, so no great surprise there.

    By now it should be obvious to most people that Interior Ministers tend to have an exterior appearance of magnanimity but a record of failure to deliver on any of their promises to clean up the property industry.

  • Pete says:

    If politicians want the law changed, and lawyers want the law changed, and the people want the law changed, why isn’t it changed? Someone is telling us porkies. And they’ve been doing it a very long time.

    The day Cyprus law changes to protect the people instead of politicians and big business will be the day my backside becomes world chess champion !!

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Perhaps the introduction, or not, of his trumpeted 50% reduction in Title Deed Transfer taxes will be a test of this.

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