THE CABINET on Wednesday approved regulations needed to implement a law designed to protect house buyers without Title Deeds.
The law is expected to be approved by the House in early September.
“The regulations passed by cabinet today are in the hands of the MPs so that we gain time,” Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos said. “We expect the matter of trapped buyers to be resolved in a permanent way by September 3.”
The law must come into force by September 5, so that Cyprus complies with the terms of its bailout programme.
The bill is meant to sort out the mess created by the failure to give Title Deeds to people who paid for the property, either because the property was mortgaged by the developer, or the state could not go ahead with the transfer because of outstanding taxes.
Developers’ land and buildings are counted as assets that need to be offset against their debt to banks, giving lenders a claim on people’s properties that had been mortgaged by developers.
Thousands have been left without deeds as a result.
The government which had submitted the bill relatively late – in June – had wanted the House to rush it through before the summer break. Instead, MPs voted to extend the exemption of ‘trapped’ properties from foreclosure until the end of the year.
The president refused to approve the exemption and sent it back to parliament.
But after a deal struck between the government and the legislature, parliament amended the foreclosure exemption until September 5.
Parliament normally resumes work in the first week of October, but an extraordinary session will be held on September 3 to pass the legislation.
Banks oppose the bill since it would mean them taking a hit. Hasikos appeared to have little sympathy, suggesting they go and sort it out with the developer or the person who took the money, because banks were responsible for monitoring how it was used.
The bill grants the head of the land registry department the authority to exempt, eliminate, transfer, and cancel mortgages and or other encumbrances, depending on the case and under certain conditions.
Title Deed regulations (Greek)
Title Deed regulations (English)