1000s of Property Buyers in South Cyprus forced to turn en masse to Consumer Protection Service

Denis O’Hare of the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) says that South Cyprus property buyers plan to demand en masse that their title deeds be immediately issued or they receive their money back with interest. The claims will use the EU Unfair Commercial Practices law, which is now effective in Cyprus.

‘The government of Cyprus in response to previous lobbying of the EU by CPAG’s supporters was forcibly pushed into action declaring to all and sundry that legislation would be passed to fix the problem for buyers. However, after originally promising this legislation by the end of 2008, only recently did the Minister of the Interior boast that he had finally cut the Gordian Knot, his oft-used phrase for this mess, by getting certain bills passed by parliament,” said CPAG’s O’Hare. “Unfortunately it is now clear that passed legislation, which was mostly designed to try and clear the festering illegality in the industry caused by the abject failure of this and previous governments to enforce the nation’s planning laws, does not address the main problem of undisclosed developer mortgages encumbering people’s homes.”

Because of this failing property purchasers are turning to the Consumer Protection Service, the agency responsible for enforcing the EU Directive Unfair Commercial Practices law. It has powers to hand out heavy fines and jail sentences. CPAG has co-ordinated this action with the help of  UK MEP, Daniel Hannan so that it has the support of the 72 UK MEPs. A letter has been sent to Vivian Reding, EC Commissioner for Justice, requesting that the failure to transfer title deeds immediately after purchase should be deemed an unfair commercial practice regardless of when the contract was signed. It was also confirmed that buyers of other nationalities are now writing to their country’s MEPs to seek support to outlaw this title deed practice.

Asked if he really thought that the Consumer Protection Service would be able to obtain buyers’ deeds or get their money returned O’Hare said:

“In a word no! But this in itself will establish that Cyprus cannot or will not enforce EU law and this means that the EU Commission will be forced to take action against Cyprus, according to our MEPs.”

If, having exhausted the local legal remedy, buyers’ demands are rejected they can then use the European Court of Human Rights, which is also free, in order to demand their property rights. Under an EU Directive the state is responsible for any losses caused by non-enforcement of the law.

 

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