The Ministry of Interior has suspended issuing and renewing cars licences whilst work in other related government agencies has ground to a halt, including notary’s offices. The move comes as part of state efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The move also means that new and used car owners cannot obtain driving or car licences, or even register second-hand cars they buy.
Awad Al-Tarsawi, lawyer and professor of international law at Cairo University, said that preliminary contracts are valid to prove ownership. Transferring ownership, however, is made official by a power of attorney for the sale or registration at the notary’s offices.
He noted that since notary’s offices are closed, the preliminary contract creates an obligation for sale between the seller and the buyer by writing their names. Also written on the contract is the price of the car and the vehicle specifications, so it can be invoked in court when necessary.
Al-Tarsawi said that the actual transfer of ownership is transmitted only by documenting and officially registering the contract at traffic units and notary’s offices in the name of the car’s new owner.
He added that the preliminary sale contract should contain the full and real price of cars. Buyers should now pay the full value to ensure their rights and only pay the full amount agreed upon when finalising the registration.
To protect the rights of the sellers, the date should be written down to disclaim responsibility for any violations or accidents that may occur after the date of the transactions.
Ibrahim Saeed, executive director of a used car market in Nasr City, said the preliminary contract which merchants are currently using is an important part of the process. It enables the buyer to guarantee his rights through the conditions that both parties request.
Saeed also said that, according to the contract concluded between the seller and the buyer, the buyer can file a case if the seller changes the terms of the agreed contract. He also indicated that the preliminary contract does not have a specific validity period and can be used without problems.
Closing the car market and government departments is in the public interest of traders and citizens, as maintaining their health and limiting the spread of the coronavirus comes over achieving financial profit. It was also noted that there is a trend among used car dealers to use websites to sell cars in the current period as a way to get around gatherings.
In contrary, Ali Hassan, General Manager of Auto Store, has criticised the sale of cars through preliminary contracts as the buyer cannot ensure his rights through this type of contracts.
He emphasised the closure of the Auto Store, part of the Auto Jameel Group, until the resumption of traffic units and notary’s offices activities, expecting that to be soon.