If you can’t trust a lawyer in Cyprus, who can you trust?

AS Clive Turner correctly points out in his recent letter (‘A little bit of research might spare buyers a lot of pain’, Sunday Mail, May 25), it’s a straightforward task for people to find out whether the property they have bought has been mortgaged by the developer. But he is missing the point.

People buying property in Cyprus use a lawyer to carry out the conveyance work – and they rely on that lawyer to do a professional job. Sadly, as virtually all of the attendees at the recent title deeds seminar confirmed, people had no idea that the property they were buying was mortgaged – because their lawyers did not advise them of the fact – i.e. they did not do a professional job.

Unless buyers are lucky enough to find an ‘honest’ lawyer, they remain completely oblivious of the fact that a developer has mortgaged ‘their’ property – until they come to sell it – or the bank comes knocking on the door for its money.

According to Article 16 of the Code of Conduct Regulations issued by the Cyprus Bar Association, “Subject to the rules of law and the code of conduct, advocates are obliged to always defend their client’s interests in the best manner possible, even with regard to their own personal interests, those of their colleagues or the profession in general.

If lawyers (and the Cyprus Bar Association) took their responsibilities seriously, the image of Cyprus would remain untarnished and its property industry wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in today.

Those wishing to find out whether their property is burdened by a mortgage or any other encumbrances should visit their local District Land Office and complete a Form N.50. It will take 20-30 days for the Land Registry staff to provide the information.

Nigel Howarth
Erimi, Limassol

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