Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

House to begin new discussions on title deeds

LAWMAKERS will next week begin discussing a bill that aims to amend and improve a 2015 law concerning thousands of homeowners left stranded without a title deed.

The House legal affairs committee will discuss article-by-article a legislative proposal, with a view to taking it to the plenum by mid-July before the House breaks for the summer recess.

The bill is being drafted with heavy feedback from the department of lands and surveys.

Details are sketchy at this time, but according to reports one of its provisions will censure banks for their practice of placing more than one mortgage on properties.

In 2015, parliament passed a law aimed at helping thousands of owners 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 stating 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.

 


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