The House on Thursday rejected the president’s veto of a law passed in late March which requires structural integrity checks on Turkish Cypriot properties in the south.
MPs had been expected to double down on the law they had passed on March 30. The law mandates the Custodian of Turkish Cypriot Properties – the interior ministry – to see to it that Turkish Cypriot properties are certified for structural integrity before being leased to eligible persons.
These properties include residential units or business premises.
The issue emerged after it became apparent the Custodian was leasing out Turkish Cypriot properties in an advanced state of disrepair.
The March 30 law is not retroactive – it would apply only to properties leased to Greek Cypriot refugees from now on.
MPs had argued that the state has both a legal and moral obligation to deliver residences that are safe and properly upkept, so that refugees do not live in fear and have to beg authorities for piecemeal maintenance works.
But on April 13, President Nikos Christodoulides sent the law back, informing parliament he would not sign it as it was unconstitutional.
The president argued that the structural integrity checks would increase the state budget. Under the constitution, the legislature on its own may pass no law or regulation that raises government expenditures.
Following parliament’s move on Thursday, and should the president now insist on his veto, the matter will be resolved at the supreme court.