PARLIAMENT on Monday rejected one of two presidential vetoes relating to changes to foreclosures legislation, while voting to postpone voting on the other veto.
In an extraordinary session the House plenum voted by 35-17 to reject President Nicos Anastasiades’ veto on a bill that would freeze until October repossessions on primary residences which are potentially eligible for the Estia debt relief scheme.
As such, the bill will now be referred to the Supreme Court for adjudication.
At the same time, parliament decided to hold off voting on the second presidential veto, which related to amendments recently made to the foreclosures legislation.
MPs decided more time was needed to discuss the specific issue. The House will be reconvening this coming Friday to vote on the second veto.
In favour of postponing a vote on the second veto were ruling party Disy, as well as opposition Diko, Edek, the Citizens Alliance and the Greens.
The two bills in question had been passed by opposition parties on July 12. The parties said they wanted to introduce additional safeguards for home owners with mortgages they are unable to service, and to restore the negotiating balance between lenders and borrowers.
A week later President Anastasiades refused to sign off on the two items, saying they render foreclosures legislation ineffective, raising the risk of downgrades for the island’s banks and the economy.
The amendments to the main foreclosures law passed by the opposition parties would allow the defaulted borrower to obtain a court decision that stalls a foreclosures process if it is proved that a bank has not taken all necessary actions required by the central bank directive to restructure a non-performing loan (NPL).
At the same time, the amendments clearly state the reasons a defaulted borrower can cite to challenge the auction of the property.
Amendments also included, among others, extending to 45 days from 30 days the payment due date following a notice and the auction of a property following a notice; and preventing the sale of a property at below 80 per cent of its market value for six months, from three months previously, while maintaining a floor of 50 per cent of the market value for any potential sale.
Also on Monday, the House voted to accept the president’s veto on an amendment to the Aliens and Immigration Law.
Additionally, by a vote of 29-17 parliament accepted the president’s veto on a bill on the widowers’ pension. The bill sought to regulate men’s right to a widower’s pension and set beneficiaries as men who became widowers after January 1, 2018. It was vetoed by the president on the grounds that it disrupts the viability of the social insurance fund.
Lastly, the House postponed till Friday a vote on the president’s veto of a bill regarding unfair terms of business contracts.