Trapped buyers apply for title deeds
SOME 4,000 applications have been filed so far by people who paid for their property but did not have a title deed, either because it was mortgaged by the developer, or the state could not go ahead with the transfer because of outstanding taxes, head of the land registry Andreas Socratous said on Friday.
The law aiming to resolve the problem faced by thousands of buyers, foreign and local, was passed on Thursday, September 3, and came into force the next day after its publication in the Government Gazette.
The matter concerns some 78,000 cases of buyers who either do not have a title deed for various reasons or the property has not been transferred to their name.
The law aims to sort out the mess created by the failure to issue title deeds to people who paid for the property, either because the property was mortgaged by the developer, or the state could not go ahead with the transfer because of outstanding taxes.
Since developers’ land and buildings are counted as assets that need to be offset against their debt to banks, this gives lenders a claim on people’s properties that had been mortgaged by developers.
The law grants the head of the land registry department the authority to exempt, eliminate, transfer and cancel mortgages and or other encumbrances, depending on the case and under certain conditions.
The entire process takes around four months, provided local authorities issued the necessary certificates first.
Socratous urged municipalities to expedite their procedures.
“For the entire procedure to be completed, it goes without saying that first the title deed must be issued and to issue the deed the necessary certificates must be provided by municipal authorities and district administrations,” Socratous said.
“Local authorities must expedite the issuance of certificates that concern such cases so that people can benefit quickly,” he added.
To be able to apply, buyers must prove they have either paid the seller in full or only a small amount remained outstanding. Also, the sales contract must have been submitted to the land registry.