I would like to take issue with the Cyprus government Interior Minister regarding the proposed new amendments for the issuing of Title Deeds, highlighted in an interview published on 15 November.
I note that we now have five amendments tabled, up from the previous three. This is a mixed blessing but at least we now have an acceptance that there is a much bigger problem with the issuing of Title Deeds than that of building irregularities. Finally the big issue of Developer mortgages has been brought out into the open.
The Minister states that a “special execution order” will appear for the first time in the new amendments. The enforcement of this special execution order is then at the discretion of Land Registry, hardly a safeguard for the buyer?
The Minister seems to think that the current situation of hidden developer debt will become “irrelevant” if the buyer can prove he has paid his dues. Yet again the burden is placed on the buyer. I agree with the Minister when he says the Banks should have to solve their problem with the developer. Surely that is the most important thing that the Minister has yet said. An agreement between a Bank and a Developer should be just that and should not in any way affect the buyer.
The buyer now appears to be relegated to a third party and now has to apply to Land Registry himself in order to try to obtain his Title Deeds and according to the Minister this will depend on the contract the buyer has signed. More headaches for the buyer.
What part does a lawyer play in all this? Surely if the solicitor has done his or her job properly and exercised due care then the question of contract efficacy would not exist. I do not accept that people have purchased a property with their eyes shut. People have bought property with the guidance of a lawyer. Look in any real estate agent brochure or any solicitor’s advertisement and they all tell you what a wonderful job a lawyer can do for you. Sadly that is not true in many cases. Maybe it is time for a standard contract similar to those approved by the Law society in the UK.
I would like to know how the system ever managed to get so bogged down when the Minister accepts that there are 100,000 cases that are not yet even in the system and I wonder what will happen to the system when these 100,000 cases do indeed enter the system.
I have one more question for the Minister. I have paid in full for my house in 2006. The site on which my house is built is now complete. I have a contract drawn up by a Cyprus Bar registered solicitor and lodged with the Land Registry. WHEN CAN I HAVE MY TITLE DEEDS?