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Swiss Franc Loan deadline in Cyprus Limitations Law (66(1)2012)

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As the deadline of 31st December 2015 approaches, clients of immovable properties in Cyprus are faced again with confusion surrounding the implementation of the Limitations Law in Cyprus and with the questions of how and under what circumstances is the Law applied.

Although the Limitations Law came into force in the Republic of Cyprus in the early 1960’s it has been suspended since 1st July 2012, and thereafter was again suspended when MPs voted in 2013 and again in 2014 to extend its suspension period – and this suspension period will now expire in less than two months on 31st December 2015; unless the Law will once more be suspended by MP’s in Cyprus as the deadline nears.

Regrettably in recent years, and it appears this year is no different, the law is being used in some quarters as a scaremongering tactic to encourage potential claimants to “sign up” to various legal groups to prevent them(the clients) and their potential claims from being time barred under this statutory provision. There is also considerable discussion across various forums and websites which is adding to the confusion.

There is a statutory limit of six years for raising claims under the law 66(1) 2012 related to breach of contract and it is this six year timeframe which is being pushed as the deadline for anyone to make a claim against a bank in Cyprus; particularly in relation to Swiss Franc Loans.

For absolute clarity, the six year time limit only starts to run from the moment a dispute arises in relation to a loan; not from the day it is signed. Therefore the deadline is not a blanket provision which applies to every loan. Of course if an individual feels he or she has a potential claim in relation to the loan and/or against the bank he or she should raise it at the earliest opportunity and not because of any limitation period.

It is therefore important for owners of immovable properties in Cyprus, who have a foreign currency loan, to seek advice as to whether their documentation and personal circumstances are such that may give rise to a potential claim under the Limitations Law. Those same owners need not be rushed into the filing of any form of claim in Cyprus and/or UK courts under the belief their claim will be time barred after the 31st December 2015.