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Solution for trapped buyers edging closer?

Amendments to the law designed to resolve the Title Deed mess by enabling trapped buyers who were duped into buying homes on land their developer had earlier mortgaged to the bank to obtain their Title Deeds are edging closer to a vote my MPs.

Solution for trapped buyers edging closer THE LAND REGISTRY has processed 6,000 applications concerning trapped real estate buyers while an additional 1,140 were at an advanced stage, MPs heard on Wednesday, as the House legal affairs committee discussed amendments to current legislation to make it more effective.

“Today too there was an exhaustive discussion based on the amended text we have presented, some suggestions were made by the land registry and the finance ministry and the law proposal will be discussed on May 2 so that the matter goes to plenum on May 10, the last before the European elections,” committee chairman, Disy MP, Giorgos Georgiou said.

In 2015, parliament passed a law aimed at helping thousands of buyers who had paid for their properties in full but had not been issued with their Title Deeds because the developers had their own mortgages on the properties.

Since developers’ land and buildings are counted as assets that need to be offset against their debt to banks, this gave banks a claim on properties that had been mortgaged by developers.

The head of the Land Registry had been granted the authority to exempt, eliminate, transfer and cancel mortgages and or other encumbrances, depending on the case and under certain conditions, as the state sought to sort out the Title Deed mess.

However, banks contested the law and won rulings that it was unconstitutional.

Courts said it violated Article 26 of the constitution, which affords individuals the right to enter freely into any contract.

But in September 2017, a Larnaca court upheld the law, allowing trapped property buyers to obtain their Title Deeds irrespective of the developers’ own commitments to banks.

The final say now lies with the Supreme Court.

Georgiou said they believed some amendments they planned to add would remove the reasons for which certain court decisions ruled the law unconstitutional.

The committee’s intention was to tackle any problems in the event the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the banks.

The problem affects thousands of Cypriot and foreign buyers who have also sought recourse in European courts.

Readers' comments

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  • adam Lomas says:

    Its a nice Easter present to say that the Government is “edging closer” to a deal.

    I have absolutely no Faith that any “deal” will have any impact, this government has consistently been on the side of their friends in the banks and the building companies

    anyone who believes that this latest “edging” will bring relief to the thousands of expatriates who entrusted there money to a crooked system, which is still being manipulated needs to find the ‘Tooth fairy”.

    the system is playing the usual game of promises, promises followed by excuses excuses

    eventually we will all be dead and then the lawyers will move in and claim the assets and charge their “usual” commission of 40%.

    I met the lawyer who had signed my deeds on my behalf, 15 year ago, he has since been struck off for illegal practices and fined – the only lawyer to whom this has happened, to my knowledge here in Cyprus, despite rampant cooperation between lawyers, builders, developers and banks.

    he was out to dinner with his “extended” family, he didn’t have a care in the world.

    His wife was with him – she’s taken over the practice…..

    his two daughters were both with him, guess what? both lawyers

    Welcome to the system

    he did wish me and my family a very happy easter

    Kalo Pascha

  • Steven Kimberley says:

    The other aspect of the “trapped buyers” problem, are the thousands of properties which have been completed and paid for but for which no final approval certificate has been issued, often for trivial non-compliance with planning and/or building permits.

    In my development, completed 2005, there are at least 41 apartments, for which no final certificate has been issued (and thus no title deeds can be issued), and there is no prospect of one ever being issued as the developer refuses to have anything more to do with the project.

    The 2015 law has been totally ineffective with these situations. It is about time that the government introduce an amnesty for minor building irregularities, to ensure that final certificates and title deeds are issued.

    Ed: I’ve heard from many people how planning irregularities are preventing Title Deeds being issued. See my earlier reply to Stelios.

  • Stelios Hambis Ozalos says:

    Great news, we shall be keeping an eye out on the decision which has been a long awaited one. There is one other technical issue besides the owners being trapped by the banks, which withholds the transfer of properties to the rightful owners!

    We are blaming the banks for hindering the transfer, but there is a major issue also with the technical issue with building irregularities, which in believe its of the major obstacles the owners shall face, which I believe will be another impediment in obtaining a clean deed!

    Ed: From the emails I receive, building irregularities are a significant problem. Developers abandon developments once all the properties have been completed leaving roads, pavements and green areas unfinished, failing to install sewage treatment systems, etc, etc. Developers squeeze a few extra properties on the available land, etc.

    Currently the only option is for the home buyers to pay for any corrective action that will enable them to get ‘clean’ Title Deeds and then sue the developer to recover their money (assuming the company’s still in business.)

    The authorities appear unwilling (or unable) to do anything.

  • Julie Donnelly says:

    Cyprus if sum one buys a villa in full Price .by law you should have your deeds right away .not to wait 10 or 20 years or more ,if the developer owes money on the land ,then the banks need to go after him .not the owner off the people who have already paid for their righty owned property. The house belongs to them .not the banks .end of story

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