22 July 2014 21:56

NICOSIA - Troika and the government have still to agree on a repossessions bill which makes its approval by Cabinet today unfeasible.
Tuesday saw marathon consultations between the Finance Ministry and the international lenders to bridge differences on additions introduced by the government.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Land Registry, the attorney general’s office, Town Planning, the Interior Ministry and the Central Bank held a separate meeting on the draft bill.
Amid strong objections from political parties, the government is seeking to overcome the various obstacles and the legal service aims to complete consideration of the bill so that it can be submitted to Cabinet at its next meeting.
Informed sources said efforts are focusing on overcoming the Troika’s disagreements to additions introduced by the government to provide a safety net for debtors.
The Troika is determined to avoid protracted procedures. At issue also is how the minimum sale price will be determined.
In an effort to avoid mass foreclosures, the legal service has introduced a provision so that debtors can appeal to defend their interests when endangered by private auctions. The Troika counters that this will lead debtors to the courts, making repossessions a time- consuming procedure.
A second provision gives the debtor the right to name his own evaluator prior to a private auction. The Troika is reported not to have strong objections on this, but has reservations as regards the setting of the price, saying it should be determined by the market and not by law.
This has raised fears debtors may find themselves losing their homes and being liable to pay more should the property fetch less than its value.
The bill incorporates a provision removing Land Registry involvement from auctions that will be carried out only by creditors. The bill will cover all mortgaged property of companies and individuals, though first homes will be included in the bill on insolvency which will be ready by the end of the year.
The draft bill is expected to lead to the quick foreclosure of some 3,000 cases currently pending before the Land Registry.
For new cases, under the bailout agreement, creditors can repossess the mortgaged property within a year and half of the start of foreclosure procedures, while for the first home the period is two and a half years.


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