The House of Representatives voted 22 to 18 against a proposal for a new three-month suspension of foreclosure sales, which had been tabled in the form of an emergency bill.
DIPA MP Alekos Tryfonidis...also instructed loan management companies to halt the "predatory onslaught" and be fair to borrowers until a solution is found.
The proposal was introduced by AKEL MPs, Stavros Papadouris of the Ecological Cooperation - Citizens' Movement, and Nicosia MP Costis Efstathiou. It included a new targeted suspension of foreclosure sales until June 10, 2023, for a primary residence worth up to €300,000, a commercial building with a turnover of up to €750,000, and a plot of land worth up to €100,000.
Earlier, an oral amendment by DIKO President Nicolas Papadopoulos on the proposed law, which would have limited the suspension of divestments until 10 April 2023, was rejected.
It should be noted that there was a lengthy debate in the House of Representatives in recent months about the necessity and purpose of the divestment measure. According to MPs, two necessary measures that would benefit the entire context of disposals would be the implementation of mortgage to rent and the establishment of a special court that would only hear cases involving disputes over foreclosure sales.
The rent versus installment measure is expected to be implemented in March, but the establishment of the special court is still up in the air. The relevant committee, the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, has yet to hold such a discussion.
Papadopoulos had initially urged parliamentary groups not to table the bill in order to give the new Government and Finance Minister time to develop recommendations for a comprehensive resolution of the issue, saying it would not be the end of the world if they were given a fifteen-day extension.
DIPA MP Alekos Tryfonidis agreed with the suggestion, stating that a fifteen-day window for the new Finance Minister to come up with appropriate proposals for a permanent solution to the non-performing loans (NPLs) issue is reasonable. He also instructed loan management companies to halt the "predatory onslaught" and be fair to borrowers until a solution is found.
AKEL MP George Loukaides, however, stated that while financial institutions and credit purchase companies have tightened their grip on people, they cannot remain indifferent to this reality. At the same time, he stated that the new government has time to present its proposals; however, the issues cannot be addressed institutionally in 15 days. He also stated that the President has 15 days to sign or veto the legislation.
According to Stavros Papadouris of the Ecologists' Movement - Citizens' Co-operation, the divestment suspension ended on January 31, and the new President will have 45 days to decide whether to sign or refer the law. He went on to say that they were forced to go ahead with a new suspension after waiting several months for proposals to be discussed in the Finance Committee, which never happened. He also expressed hope that the new government would take action.
Limassol MP Andreas Themistocleous advocated for the bill's passage as an urgent procedure, expressing disappointment that 14 proposals related to the subject are pending in the Finance Committee. In the meantime, he stated, many people will be on the streets until the proposals are discussed.
On behalf of ELAM, MP Sotiris Ioannou supported the motion's urgency, noting that it has been nearly two years and the Rent versus Installment Plan has yet to be approved, while new Government proposals will take months to implement. He went on to say that "we don't have that many months" and that investment funds are predatory hawks.
Following the bill's rejection, DISY MP Onoufrios Koulla justified his party's vote against it, stating that he is opposed to any extension of the implementation of the divestment suspension, which is shared by both the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank.
Papadopoulos stated that his party was disappointed by the vote against the proposal, but that the Finance Minister's proposal is to bring a comprehensive proposal before the House in the coming days to find the solutions that the people demand.
Finally, Mr. Tryfonides made an appeal and expressed hope that the Minister of Finance will bring a comprehensive solution to the problem.