Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said on Thursday he would have something concrete to present regarding trapped property buyers in the next few days, following consultations with the Legal Service.
“An intensive consultation is taking place between the interior ministry and the attorney-general so that a lawful arrangement can be found that would free the trapped buyers of mortgaged real estate,” the minister said. “I think we’ll have something more substantive to say in a few days.”
The land registry has suspended procedures relating to so-called trapped property buyers after a court ruled that a law designed to help them obtain title deeds clashed with the constitution.
The law aimed to sort out the mess created by the failure to issue title deeds to thousands of people who paid for their property, either because the property was mortgaged by the developer, or the state could not go ahead with the transfer because of outstanding taxes.
Since developers’ land and buildings are counted as assets that need to be offset against their debt to banks, this gave lenders a claim on people’s properties that had been mortgaged by developers.
The 2015 law granted the head of the land registry the authority to exempt, eliminate, transfer and cancel mortgages and or other encumbrances, depending on the case and under certain conditions.
The bill had been contested by banks from the onset and a district court upheld their position two weeks ago that the power given to the head of the land registry was unlawful.
The appeal was filed by Alpha Bank against a Paphos developer and a British couple.
The court said the law violated Article 26 of the constitution, which affords individuals the right to enter freely into any contract.
It also said lawmakers have no right to intervene in contracts that preceded the law.