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Politics

Rejecting Warnings, Cypriot Lawmakers Extend Foreclosure Ban

NICOSIA – The Cypriot House voted to push a moratorium on property foreclosures to the end of October despite urgings from the government and financial institutions to let people lose their homes if they can’t pay.

The bill – amending the laws governing the transfer and mortgage of immovable property – was the latest extension after an initial freeze on foreclosures in August, 2021 during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.

Banks argued that a further pushback would make it difficult for them to get rid of bad loans but lawmakers said they wanted to side with homeowners during an economic downturn, said The Cyprus Mail.

Protected are homeowners primary residence with values of 350,000 euros ($352,590) or less, businesses with a turnover under 750,000 euros ($755,560) and land with a value of 100,000 euros ($100,741) or less.

Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides – whose car tires were found slashed – expressed “great disappointment” with the vote and said it ruined achivements of other bills relating to debtors.

Those measures – relating to credit acquiring companies’ access to debtors’ financial information – were also passed, seen essential for Cyprus to access an 85 million euro ($85.63 million) installment from the European Union’s Recovery and Resilence Fund.

“As always just before elections, populist voices threaten the country’s credibility and its very economy,” said the minister.

He added: “And this at a particularly difficult time when the economy faces international crisis; at a time when any downgrade of the Cypriot economy’s credit rating could spell disaster.”

He argued the government had put in place protection for people who can’t pay mortgages but wanted to stop short of letting them keep their homes and let them be seized.

 

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