BRITAIN will take a close interest in measures taken by the Cyprus government to sort out the problems of property buyers left without their title deeds, a written answer to the House of Lords has said.
Two questions were placed before the Lords last November detailing the concerns of some property buyers worried about the implications of not holding legal ownership to their properties.
For them, the issue became more urgent as the global credit crunch began to bite into the real-estate sector with the possibility of foreclosure by the banks on the developers who still hold titles.
The average wait for title deeds in Cyprus is 10-15 years, and there are around 100,000 home owners still waiting, 30,000 of whom are foreigners.
Answering on behalf of the government, Lord Malloch-Brown said the British High Commission had raised the issue with the Cyprus government.
It had received assurances that the Cyprus government intended to introduce a bill to address this issue.
“The [British] government recognises that this issue has the potential to affect a large number of British citizens who have purchased property in Cyprus, and will continue to take a close interest in the measures by which the Cypriot government attempt to resolve this problem,” the written answer said.
To a second question asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham, Lord Malloch-Brown said Britain’s travel advice for Cyprus advises British citizens who encounter difficulties as a result of purchasing property in Cyprus to seek qualified legal advice on their rights and methods of redress.
“This would include difficulties in obtaining deeds to property to which the purchaser is entitled,” the answer stated.
It said although the British government was unable to become involved with individual cases, the High Commission in Cyprus did support community associations in Cyprus dedicated to resolving the problems of property buyers, and gives details of those associations on its website.
The main group advising British buyers is the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG), which kick-started the lobbying campaign in Britain.
CPAG’s Denis O’Hare told the Cyprus Mail yesterday it was interesting that the Cyprus government had said it was going “to fix” the problem, given that only a few months ago the Interior Minister told the group it could not be fixed.
“This is understandable because of the €4 billion in [developers’] outstanding loans, which stops this being fixed,” he said.
“We will be interested to see if the Minster can come up with a solution, Last year, he said he couldn’t so we want to know how. We can’t see how when there are four billion reasons why he can’t.”
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