Property, Ownership, Inheritance, and other Legal Matters

In an attempt to end illegal construction in Greece and to increase its revenues, the
Greek Government has implemented Law No. 4014/2011 which allows the owners of
structures, for which a valid building permit has not been issued, to file a declaration
and pay an analogous fine in order to “regularize” and/or “legalize” those structures.  
The deadline for filing this declaration has been extended twice and is currently June
30th 2012.

This law concerns everyone who owns property in Greece since, as of September 21,
2011, any property owner who wishes to sell or convey his/her property must submit a
declaration signed by an Architect or Engineer,  indicating that the property does not
include any structures for which a permit has not been issued.  This declaration is
required for all conveyances of land or buildings and must be submitted to the Notary
Public who will draft the property conveyance document. Buildings constructed prior to
1955 are exempted from the declaration and fine, provided that the owner can prove
that they were constructed prior to 1955.

In order to ensure that they will be able to sell and/or convey their properties in the
future, all owners of Greek property would be well advised to determine whether valid
permits have been issued for the structures on their properties and to thereafter
determine whether a valid permit can be issued for those structures, in which case they
can be “legalized”. If they cannot be “legalized”, they must be “regularized” pursuant to
payment of a fine by the June 30th deadline. Legalizing and/or regularizing these
structures will also increase the value of the property since the spaces in question will
subsequently be included in all conveyance contracts and will be treated as lawful
spaces with respect to the market value of the property.  All legalized and regularized
properties will have the right to benefit from available water and electricity service.

The types of “illegal structures” which may be regularized include the following spaces
if a valid building permit cannot be issued:  buildings or extensions of existing
buildings  which exceed the dimensions of a permit which was issued (in terms of
height or footprint), swimming pools, balconies, basements, garages, storage spaces
and roofed terraces which were transformed into living spaces but were not included in
issued permits.  

Certain “illegal structures” cannot be regularized under this law, such as structures
built upon public property, forestry land, too close to beaches or riverbeds or within
protected areas such as archaeological/historical sites, national parks and UNESCO
villages. Buildings which have been built too close to roads and which therefore
constitute a safety hazard also cannot be regularized pursuant to this law.

The procedure for regularizing structures pursuant to Law No. 4014/2011, does not
require inordinate efforts on the part of the owner.  An Architect or Civil Engineer who is
registered with the Technical Chamber of Greece must be hired and supplied with
recent Survey documents (which include coordinates), the building permit, the
architectural layout, the title document and the National Cadastre (or Ktimatologio)
registration documents, if applicable. The fees for an inspection and assessment by an
Architect or Civil Engineer are negotiable; however a reasonable fee would be
approximately 200 to 300 Euros. The professional fees for handling legalization and/or
regularization are also negotiable and vary considerably, depending upon the status of
the property/documents and the complexity of the case.

Unlike previous “regularization” measures, this law imposes significantly lower fines
and does not stipulate an annual fee for maintaining the “legal status” of the “illegal
structures”. The amount of the fine depends upon the size of the structure, the zone in
which it is located and the year of construction. The fine may be paid in 48 monthly
installments; however, if the fine is paid in  one installment, a 20% discount applies.
Another 20% discount applies if the owner does not own any other properties. A further
discount applies if the structure was built prior to 1983.

In the event that the owner does not submit a declaration and pay the fine by the
June 30th, 2012 deadline, the resulting penalty may be devastatingly high. It is
calculated as 30% of the Presumed Tax Value of the illegal surface for the year in
which it was constructed plus 5% of the Presumed Tax Value for each year after the
year of construction. In the end, some owners may be better off demolishing
structures for which a permit has not been issued.  

* This original article written by Arsinoi D. Lainioti.  Please feel free to print, distribute,
and share this article for non-profit purposes only.  If you wish to use this article in a
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to  Thank you!