General Questions

1. Do I need to come to Cyprus for any reason during this process? (either VAT reclaim or mis-sold mortgage negotiation/litigation)

No, not necessary as EBS in conjunction with their specialist team of skilled legal Barrister-Advocate Lawyers based in the Republic of Cyprus will act on your behalf, and through a letter of engagement which will need to be signed beforehand. There may be an occasion where you may need to visit Cyprus if the case cannot be settled out of Court. However, should you be visiting Cyprus, you are more than welcome to visit us our Head Office in Paralimni.

2. How long has EBS been established?

The EBS Group of associated companies have been operating in business activities in the Republic of Cyprus since 1982, in the fields of Construction, Real Estate, Travel and Tourism and Professional Business Services.

3. Are your legal team registered with the Cyprus Law Society?

Yes, our specialist legal team of Barrister Advocate Lawyers are registered with the Cyprus Law society. In fact, our Barrister-Advocates are qualified to practice legal services in a Court of Law in the Republic of Cyprus as well as in the United Kingdom. Should you decide to use our services, you will be put in direct contact with our legal team.

4. I have a lot of documentation from my lender in Greek. Is your business bilingual? Do you offer translation services?

EBS professional team are all bi-lingual and therefore able to assess all of the documentation you hold and assist our legal team of Barrister-Advocate Lawyers. We do not provide a translation service, as such, as we will be representing you here in Cyprus and dealing with all matters on your behalf. Your dedicated Account Manager will be happy to provide regular updates, in addition to those you will receive from your legal representative.

5. Surely I can find another company that performs the same service(s) as EBS, but with lower fees?

EBS offers unique property solutions which no other business is able to offer in the Republic of Cyprus.

6. Would it be possible to visit your office in order to complete the paperwork and meet you face to face?

You would be more than welcome to visit us at our offices to complete the paperwork. The reason most of our business is conducted by telephone and email is due to the fact that the majority of our clients are UK based. It is always a pleasure to meet our clients face-to-face.

7. Is it ok to scan the signed documents back to you, or do you require my original signature?

We request that you scan and return the documents to us. Once we have these we are able to proceed. However, we do require copy documents with an original signature to be sent under separate cover.

VAT Specific Questions

9. What percentage of qualifying VAT rebate applications prepared by EBS are successful?

Provided that the information provided to EBS is accurate and correct including all of the supporting documentation, and where the Cyprus VAT authorities are satisfied and have issued a VAT number, then the claim will be successful based upon the current law which outlines the qualifying criteria.

10. You say you can claim back the 15% VAT paid within the property purchase price. If this is so, why do I need EBS (or indeed any company) to assist me in reclaiming the VAT? Surely I can just do the paperwork myself?

The preparation of the documentation and the technical aspects to the application requires the assistance of a specialist qualified accountant in this field of VAT tax Law as well as having an understanding of the fundamental workings of Travel and Tourism combined.

EBS has a reputable relationship with the Cyprus Vat Authorities.

11. Is this a loophole in the law you are exploiting?

This is not a loophole in the law. It is a legitimate claim based upon the root understanding of the Republic of Cyprus VAT Law, and combining the fundamental structure of Travel and Tourism industry in order to change the trading classification of the property from residential to tourism.

12. If all property owners whose holiday villas meet the criteria are eligible to register as businesses and reclaim the VAT, why did no one tell me this before?

An excellent point. We are sure that over the years, you have had numerous dealings with government offices. They are never known to be forthcoming if it is going to cost them money.

13. Is my property still considered a business if I only rent it out occasionally to my friends and family at below-market-value rates?

Unfortunately, you will not be able to make a claim for the VAT business rebate in the circumstances described. The property needs to be actively marketed to the International Tourist and would need to achieve a certain level of rentals.

14. You say that my holiday rental Property is a business, but to be honest I don’t think I’ve been keeping business records to an adequate standard over the past 2 years.

When you return the completed questionnaire, please provide any additional information you may have which will assist EBS in assessing your case.

15. I own multiple holiday property. Do I have to pay a separate processing fee to EBS for each one?

Each property has to be processed individually, as you will have paid vat on the purchase price of each one.

16. Typically, how long does the entire process take from this moment, to receiving my VAT rebate?

Once the case has been reviewed, we will be able to provide an estimated time of completion. Generally, the VAT is paid back in full and by instalments over 24 months from the date of filing the application.

17. Do I have any on-going VAT obligations?

Yes. Like any other VAT registered business, you have an obligation to file quarterly VAT returns and maintain accurate record keeping. EBS will facilitate this work, in-house.

Further, if the property is sold within 10 years of the date that the VAT Property Tax refund was made, you are obliged to return a pro-rata sum of the VAT rebate.

Mortgage specific questions

18. In your experience, what are the odds that the bank will agree to terminate my mortgage?

Every case is different. Our team of Barrister-Advocate Lawyers will examine the full facts and supporting documentation of your claim which in most cases will result in litigation in a Cyprus Court of Law. In the first instance, you must complete a detailed questionnaire in order for the Barrister-Advocate to be able to provide you with a legal opinion based upon the information provided in respect to your mortgage.

19. I was sold a SwFr mortgage and I want the terms re-negotiated, so why can I not negotiate with the bank personally? What do I need EBS for?

To re-negotiate your mortgage from SwFr to Euro, we will appoint a member of our team of Barrister-Advocate Lawyers who will examine all the facts, as stated on the completed questionnaire and evaluate and assess all of the documentation provided. After providing you with their legal opinion, based on the information provided, the Barrister-Advocate Lawyer will present the case for termination of your SwFr mortgage in Court in Cyprus on your behalf.

20. What are the options available to me, if I currently have arrears on my mortgage but do not wish to terminate my loan?

EBS are able to directly negotiate the re-structuring of mortgage arrears in any foreign currency, including Euros. This is a service exclusively provided by EBS, whereby EBS will negotiate directly with the lending bank on your behalf, to re-structure the loan to a more affordable level and to the mutual benefit of both the lending bank and the mortgagee.

21. If the legal opinion is, that I have been miss-sold a foreign currency mortgage and will need to instigate legal proceedings against my bank to have my loan terminated, could I not represent myself in Court to save money? Surely I don’t need EBS’s lawyers?

This type of claims are highly complex and extremely new to the Cyprus Courts and whereby each claim will be representative of at least more than one failing made by the bank in its duty to its client. All claims must be represented by a highly experienced Barrister-Advocate Lawyer in the Republic of Cyprus. All court proceedings are in Greek.

22. I own a number of holiday properties in the Republic of Cyprus. In terms of getting my mortgage terminated or re-negotiated, do I have to pay a separate processing fee for each one?

It depends largely on whether the Mortgage for each property is with the same lender. The Barrister-Advocate will provide you with an accurate assessment of legal costs after he has been able to review your documentation and provided a legal opinion.

23. If my claim is submitted to Court, will I have to appear in court?

There is no reason to appear in Court unless the claim proceeds to trial, in which case, you may be called to witness. In most cases, claims are settled out of Court.

24. I read that some victims of miss-sold mortgages are collaborating with solicitors in the UK on group litigation:

a.     As the Republic  of Cyprus is in the EU, wouldn’t it be easier for me to litigate in the UK court system? As the mortgage is in Cyprus, a claim against the bank can only be litigated in Cyprus by a Cyprus Lawyer who is registered with the Cyprus Bar Council.

b.     Would it not strengthen my case to join an existing group litigation? The facts of each case MUST be considered separately and be defended by a Cyprus Lawyer in Court, in Cyprus. Most UK groups tend to be litigating on one technical aspect and where it is being advised that the claim will need to encompass more than one claim. An individual case will always carry more strength when presented and represented correctly.