By George Kounis, consultant at Maxwell Alves, solicitors in the City of London
On Wednesday, August 1, I submitted certain proposals to the Government of Cyprus through its Consulate in London for the resolution of the numerous disputes between property buyers on the one hand and Cypriot developers, banks, sales agents, lawyers and financial advisors on the other.
The document entitled ‘A Plan for All Reasons: How to resolve property purchase disputes in Cyprus without litigation and restore the credibility of its public, property and financial sectors’ contains five proposals aimed at resolving the current backlog, stopping the market from taking another dive due to the planned repossessions and preventing a future recurrence.
Three of these proposals are nothing new. They are about measures that should have been in place decades ago and nobody disagrees they are needed. They would protect the industry and the buyers and this is in the interests of everyone. The only problem seems to be a lack of political will to get on and do it.
The other two proposals aim to resolve the more recent phenomenon of property values losing up to 70% since 2008, high loan to value mortgages in strong currencies like Swiss Francs and almost non-existent rental incomes despite expectations.
These people are faced with losing all the money they invested and everything they own including their UK assets. The last thing they want is to spend more good money after bad in protracted litigation. The fact is that neither do the banks, the property developers and the Government of Cyprus and that is a good starting point for talks.
What is positive about the last two proposals included in the document is that they do not require changes in legislation. The Government is only expected to facilitate and co-ordinate and this means that they are more likely to happen.
Government participation would help the proposals and add to the Government’s credibility which, so far, appears helpless.
Although it would be good to have it, the last two proposals can go ahead without Government participation. We are, therefore, proceeding to contact developers, banks and other parties to get things going.
People who may be in a similar predicament can contact him by email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: +44 (0)20 7632 6950.
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