IT seems as if the Cyprus government may have misled the British government into believing that it intends to resolve the current Title Deed problems faced by many Cypriot and foreign property buyers.
The truth was revealed at a Title Deed seminar organised by the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) at the Elysium Hotel in Paphos last Thursday. The event was attended by some 500 people, both Cypriot and non-Cypriot hoping to hear about legal avenues they could take to secure their Title Deeds.
Lawyer Tasos Coucounis spoke about the various courses of legal action that property buyers could take and then, together with Andreas Symeou – a senior official from the Department of Lands and Surveys in Nicosia, he gave an overview of new legislation that is being prepared for consideration by the Cyprus Government to address the current Title Deed problems.
It soon became apparent that no new legislation is being prepared to help existing buyers who cannot get their Title Deeds because they’ve been conned into buying mortgaged property and face the very real threat of losing their homes if the developer goes bust.
“The Cyprus Government has announced that there will be new legislation to fix the problems here.” said Denis O’Hare of CPAG. “But as far as we can see, the new legislation is only an amnesty for developers who have not complied with their building permits. This was tried three years ago but it didn’t work then.”
“The underlying problem is the loans that the developers have on their construction sites and you cannot have Title Deeds issued until those loans have been paid off.”
“In the situation that we find ourselves in today, in this global economic crisis, with developers receiving little or no income because they cannot sell properties, unable to keep up their mortgage payments – this is leading to only one thing. Some of these developers are not going to be around in a year’s time.”
“What happens here when a developer goes bust is that buyers can take action through the Court to get Title Deeds issued and eventually get ownership of the property they’ve bought. The problem is that if there is a mortgage on the property and if those people bought after that mortgage was placed on it, the bank has first call on the property.”
Even though the people who bought the property may have paid for it in full and have been living in it for many years, the bank can then sell the property on the open market to recover the debt, leaving the property buyer who’s been conned with nothing.
Someone needs to tell the Cyprus Government that if it fails to keep its promise to the UK government, changing the property laws is a waste of time because no-one will buy a property in Cyprus again unless legislation is introduced to protect those buyers who have been duped into buying mortgaged property.