Many Brits were poorly advised by lawyers acting under powers of attorney to buy Cyprian homes with Swiss francs.
The currency was perceived as stable at the time and provided a low interest loan. But many have found their monthly mortgage repayments more than doubled.
The consensus from lawyers, due to the poor nature of advice, is that such loans were invalid, and as a result some buyers have already tried to fight their case in court.
Barristers from the Cyprus law firm Triantafyllides & Christoforou (TCA Law), appointed by Judicare, claim that in many of the buyers' cases the Power of Attorneys used to sign the loan agreements were not valid as they were not signed in strict accordance to the legal process. In most cases, paperwork was validated without a certifying officer present, making the loan agreement and any other documentation void through the use of this instrument. In addition, the provisions of the local lending laws were not met.
Lately the Cyprian Bank announced that a settlement with UK buyers had been agreed, so UK buyers can pay either a lump sum or through a new restructured loan in Sterling or Euro currency.
Judicare, which has premises in the UK and Cyprus, has argued that such an agreement is still invalid, and continue to support Brits in 40 to 50 initial cases.
Neil Heaney, CEO of Judicare, says: “A few years ago the idea that Cypriot banks could pursue UK buyers and their assets in the UK concerning issues related to a property purchase in Cyprus was perhaps a hypothetical scenario.
“However, it is now very real and we are seeing more and more examples of the Cyprus banks seeking enforcement of judgements in the UK which have been obtained in the Cyprus courts.”
He stressed that clients facing a law suit must respond appropriately.
Heaney explained: “They will go after them for all the money on the loan agreement.
“If the Cyprus bank secures the judgements in the Cyprus courts they will ask for it to be registered in England and then they will see it to be enforced in England – charging repossession orders on UK houses. This is already happening.”
Judicate estimate that between 20,000 and 30,000 Brits are affected.
Judicare and its Cypriot Barristers will be holding a free seminar on the 12 July at Birmingham City Football Club between 13.00 -17.00 to assist those affected.
Heaney added: “If the clients had been advised of the loan agreements in all eventuality 95% of the people would not have entered in the first place.
“At that time the banks were advocating that this was the best form of lending.”