IN three written questions tabled in the UK House of Lords earlier this month, Lord Jones of Cheltenham called on the British Government to take positive steps to protect the interests of British citizens.
Earlier today, Her Majesty’s Government replied to two of those questions:
Question from Lord Jones: “What steps they (Her Majesty’s Government) will take to warn those contemplating buying property in Cyprus of the risk of losing their homes when developers who have retained title deeds in order to raise further loans default on those loans.“
Answer by Lord Brett: “The travel advice on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.fco.gov.uk) advises those contemplating buying property in Cyprus to proceed with caution and to seek qualified legal advice from a source that is independent from anyone else involved in the transaction. It refers to the problems with obtaining title deeds and the risks which this causes.“
WE have already published the Government’s advice in this magazine, in the article “UK updates travel advice“
What the British Government may fail to appreciate is that many British citizens buying property in Cyprus are elderly and may not be as Internet savvy as the rest of the population. Perhaps it would consider using a small amount of the money it has managed to recover from over-zealous MPs allowance and expense claims to fund a series of warning notices in UK national and regional newspapers?
Question from Lord Jones: “Whether they (Her Majesty’s Government) will work with other European countries to urge the Government of Cyprus to prosecute individuals who have retained title deeds after completion of property sales in Cyprus to United Kingdom and other European citizens.“
Answer by Lord Brett: “The issue of whether or not to prosecute individuals who have retained title deeds after completion of property sales in Cyprus to UK and other European citizens is a matter of Cypriot law and therefore a decision for the Cypriot authorities.“
AT the present time, there is little (if any) EU legislation concerning ‘immovable property’, although this situation may change in the future.
On a more positive note, the EU Commission has requested Cyprus to provide it with detailed information on the legal provisions and practices regulating and operating in the sector – and has warned that it “will take the necessary measures if it can establish the existence of infringement of EU law.“
Ban Cyprus property companies and close their UK offices
We are still waiting for the British Government to answer the third and perhaps the most significant of the questions tabled by Lord Jones:
“Whether they (Her Majesty’s Government) will takes steps to close down the United Kingdom offices of Cypriot companies selling property and ban the promotion of Cyprus property at exhibitions of overseas property held in the United Kingdom; and what further steps they will take to protect United Kingdom citizens from individuals who retain title deeds after properties in Cyprus have been bought.“
As soon as we receive confirmation that the Government’s answer is publically available, you’ll read it here first – in the Cyprus Property News Magazine.