The amendment of Transfers and Mortgaging Property Law will resolve the issues emerged from the failure to provide Title Deeds to purchasers who have paid for the property they bought and fulfilled all the necessary obligations, due to developer’s debts. Precisely, the new legislation authorises, under certain conditions, the Land Registry to exempt, eliminate, transfer and annulate mortgages and/or other encumbrances. Furthermore, the provisions of the Law N. 139(1)/2015, also known as ‘hidden mortgage’ law, includes all sales held before the end of 2014.
The Transfer and Mortgage Property Law, N. 139(1)/ 2015, came into force on the 4th of September 2015. The provisions of this particular regulation are meant to protect ‘trapped buyers’ by releasing their purchased Property from developers’ financial obligations. In case you are one of those buyers who has not obtained a Title Deeds due to developer’s fault or financial problems. As a result, it is encouraged to submit an Application to the Lands Registry. Note that the specific regulation applies on contracts (purchase agreements) that have been submitted to the Lands Registry until the 31st of December 2014.
In this point, I would like to outline that ‘trapped buyers’ should submit the necessary evidence in order to obtain a Title Deeds. Then, I will explain the necessary steps and procedures a ‘trapped buyer’ needs to follow so that his or her Application to be examined and afterwards obtain a Title Deeds.
It should be underlined that those who are entitled to submit an Application to the Lands Registry are the ‘trapped buyer’, the seller (in our case the developer), the mortgage lender and the borrower based on the loan agreement with the buyer.
Following the provisions of the sections 44IH and 44KST, the Director will review the submitted Application according to the following conditions:
- The purchased amount has been fully paid.
- There is a registered Title Deeds for the purchased property.
In case a Title Deeds for the property has not been issued then the Director will ask buyer through a written notice to pay the balance of the purchase price in a special interim account, within 30 days from the date of the receipt of this notice.
I would like to point out that following the provisions of the law an application remains pending until the purchase price has not completely paid, and a separate Title Deeds has not been issued concerning the object of the contract prior the date of the Application.
Within 45 days the following persons have the right to file an objection:
- Any other person in whose benefit an encumbrance and/or prohibition have been registered
Obligation to produce evidence:
The Director may ask any interested person to provide evidence within a certain time frame at any stage of the process. The person who submits the application is obliged to provide evidence within the deadline mentioned in the relevant notice. The Director may impose a fine no more than €10.000 on a person other than the applicant, who does not provide evidence and to pay additional fees that should not exceed €100 for each day that the infringement continues.
Examination of the Application:
The Application is examined regardless if the Title Deeds has been issued or not. I would like to highlight that the ‘trapped buyers’ are obliged to pay the full amount of the purchased property or part of it, up to the date they file their Application.
If the necessary conditions are fulfilled, then the Director of Lands and Surveys Department inform all interested parties, in our case the buyer, the seller, the mortgagee and the lender, that 45 days after the notification the transfer of the property to the ‘trapped buyer’ will be held.
In this point, I would like to stress that the interested parties may file a new objection according to the following criteria:
- The obligations of the ‘trapped buyer’ to the seller have not been fulfilled.
- The contract between the ‘trapped buyer’ and the seller is not valid or has been terminated following a Court order.