State Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis lauded the accomplishments of the government’s new mortgage relief plan yesterday in the House of Assembly.
His sentiments came as he spoke of the significance of the Home Owners Protection Bill, describing the bill as a major step forward in the country’s mortgage industry.
Touting the government’s success in this area, Mr. Halkitis revealed that more than 1,000 homeowners are eligible for the new mortgage relief plan.
“According to the latest statistics available in January 2017, 1,744 borrowers were deemed eligible for the programme. 1,400 of those borrowers were contacted, and of that 1,400, 408 borrowers have completed all of the requirements for enrollment in the programme,” he said.
“In addition Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Finance has commenced its services for those individuals who have received or are receiving assistance through this programme,” he added.
Meantime Mr. Halkitis said the proposed amended Home Owners Protection Bill is a comprehensive response to the country’s crisis.
He outlined a few key aspects of the legislation.
“It provides for the mortgagee to grant the mortgager a 30 day notice of his default in payment prior to starting legal proceedings. It enables the mortgagee and a contributing member of his immediate family the right to apply to the court for relief where he is unable to satisfy his obligations,” he explained.
“It enables the court to allow time for the mortgager to remedy his breech of the mortgage covenant; it seeks to give the mortgager 30 day notice of its intent to exercise its power of sale; it prohibits the sale of a mortgage property to a party related to a financial institution; it provides exemption in stamp duty on the sale of property,” he continued.
These among other key factors were noted by the state minister.
The bill also enables those purchasing a home to retain lawyers, appraisers and insurance brokers of their choice, subject to certain conditions; it allows for the transfer of mortgages between financial institutions at no cost to the mortgager and seeks to prohibit excessive salary deductions.