With Greek property laws continually changing, Athens-based Architect Katerina Sirouni is always asked about how to protect your Greek property. Read on for important information.
How do you protect your Greek property?
As the owner and principal architect of the firm, KSirouni Architects, I help clients all over the world in design, management, and maintenance of properties, as well as navigating Greece’s new property laws. Among the questions I am always asked, particularly by Greeks abroad, is “How do you protect your Greek property?”
There’s never a simple answer, especially since the laws and rules governing property, rights, and taxation are evolving. Let’s talk about some ways you can protect your Greek property. Remember, these answers are general. It’s critical that you contact a competent professional for questions and answers specific to your Greek property.
There are steps you can take to protect your Greek property, especially if you live abroad. PHOTO BY KATERINA SIROUNI
Are you certain you still own land in Greece?
Under Greek Law, if a third party enters, uses, or builds on another person’s property, then he or she can, in fact, claim ownership of that person’s property under certain circumstances.
This is what we refer to as Adverse Possession, known in Greek as Χρησικτησία.
What if that happens?
Aside from lengthy, costly and often futile court cases, you may actually end up losing your rights to your land.
5 ways to protect your Greek property from Adverse Possession
Here are 5 simple, low-cost, and practical tips that can help prevent a prospective trespasser from claiming rights to your property.
1. FENCE and SIGNAGE
Fencing your property is the most efficient and inexpensive way to mark the boundaries of your land. Once your fence is up, put up a sign with contact information of someone you trust who lives in Greece.
2. GET AN ACCURATE LAND SURVEY WITH COORDINATES
An accurate land survey is necessary to properly locate the boundaries of your property before putting up your fence, not to mention that it’s required when issuing a building permit for that fence.
3. CHECK ON YOUR PROPERTY REGULARLY
Have someone visit and check on your property on a regular basis. Ask this person to take pictures and to always have a witness present. This is for documentation purposes.
4. MAINTAIN YOUR PROPERTY
Have someone regularly clear your property from wild bushes — and even better, cultivate it all year round, if possible. Maintaining your land clear is also important to avoid having it declared as “forestry land” by the Greek authorities which may result in it being “unusable” for construction purposes.
5. LEASE YOUR PROPERTY
Formally rent your land to a local farmer. The lease itself serves as proof of the owner’s rights to the land, even if the lease reflects a small fee.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided is general and may change or not apply in all cases and should therefore NOT be considered as advice or consultation to act upon. Contact a professional to be sure your rights are properly protected.
Have a question? Do you have a question about Greek property laws or how to protect your Greek property? Send me an email.
Read more about Greek Property Laws with Katerina Sirouni:
Deadline Approaching to Legalize Greek Property
Greek Property Ownership: Short-Term Rental
Greek Property Ownership: Deadlines, Refunds & More
Greek Property Ownership: Updates from Greece
Greek Property Rights and Inheritance