articles | 18 July 2014

Draft bill on property repossessions to be tabled

A draft bill on property repossessions will be tabled at the House by the end of July 2014, provided that a balance can be found between the government and the international lenders.

Speaking after a meeting with the Troika, Attorney General Costas Clerides said that there are intense deliberations underway in order to find the golden compromise on the draft bill for repossession of property placed as collateral in non-performing loans (NPLs), so that a draft bill can be sent to the Cabinet for approval.

Clerides said that the aim of the Legal Service is on the one hand to make the repossession process more effective, but on the other to find a balance between the rights of the creditor and the debtor.

The AG also said that the Troika wanted to discuss the different views among the Cypriot authorities and that what matters most is that the new amendments aim to streamline the process of property repossessions.

“Our efforts as the Legal Service are first of all to do everything legally and constitutionally and secondly to maintain a balance between the rights of both parties, namely the creditor and the debtor,” Clerides said.

He also admitted that some of the provisions in the current laws and procedures are problematic and endless, as they do not include any easy or brief processes. 

“On the other hand with the proposed amendments it is not right, logical or constitutionally permissible to go to the other end, which would mean for the sake of cutting down the procedures and to make them more effective not to keep a balance and to have the debtors make concessions.”

Commenting on the different views of the Troika, the AG said that “some of their demands have been discussed and we have also expressed our position so that the necessary balance and consensual solutions may be found”.

According to Clerides, the draft bill has to be sent to the House as soon as possible and approved by the end of July. 
“As I understand efforts are being made to reach an agreement on the provisions so that the bill can be sent to the Cabinet for approval by next Wednesday,” he said.

The role of the legal service is limited to issues of protecting human and constitutional rights and is not extended to financial or policy issues.

According to reports, the legal service is suggesting that the borrowers are given the right to appoint their own property appraiser to determine the repossession value of their property in addition to the bank’s assessment.

Meanwhile, during a meeting with the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta), international lenders requested that the time frames for the privatisation of the organisation should be strictly kept, stressing that the first revenue from the process should start to flow in at the beginning of 2016.

Cyta executive director Aristos Riris said after the meeting that the Troika was satisfied with the voluntary retirement scheme and the number of employees who chose to leave.
The restructuring plan for Cyta is expected to be ready by the start of September.

Source: InCyprus

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