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03 March, 2024
 
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Foreclosure showdown escalates with parliament vote

Parliament in high-stakes clash over borrower rights

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Government is set to present legislation in Parliament this Friday addressing borrower protection in relation to foreclosures. The proposed laws include defining the number of judges for expedited cases involving primary residences up to €350,000, and expanding the powers of the Financial Ombudsman.

Anticipating a flurry of amendments and alternative law proposals, some political parties argue that the current legislation falls short in providing effective solutions for all borrowers in need. The Ministry of Finance submitted a modified bill on Monday, introducing provisions for expediting cases to the Supreme Court.

George Pantelis Pantelis, the Director-General of the Ministry of Finance, emphasized that the legislation targets a specific category of borrowers with social characteristics. However, discussions arose regarding specific provisions for the timeframe of case adjudication, with concerns raised about potential conflicts with the constitution and the separation of powers.

While the Democratic Rally party did not oppose the proposed laws, other parties expressed reservations. Andreas Kafkalias of the AKEL party highlighted the need for substantial differentiation in the existing legislative framework for foreclosures. The debate also touched on issues like the valuation of properties and potential revaluation due to geographic location.

Marinos Sizopoulos, the President of the EDEK party, acknowledged the progress made but identified three gaps in the legislation, particularly noting potential injustices for those whose property values increased. He called for specialized units with judges to handle cases quickly, emphasizing the importance of time limits for adjudication.

Regarding the Financial Ombudsman legislation, Elias Myrianthous of the EDEK party suggested the removal of upper limits on property values. Alekos Tryfonidis of the DIKO Cooperation welcomed the completion of the judiciary bill but raised concerns about adjudication time and regional value differentials.

Stavros Papadouris of the Ecologists–Citizens Cooperation proposed increasing the appeal limit to the Financial Ombudsman to half a million euros as a potential consensus solution. As the laws head to the full session for a vote, expectations are high for amendments, particularly regarding property value limits and potential extensions of foreclosure suspensions.

[With information sourced from CNA]

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Cyprus  |  foreclosures  |  money  |  economy

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