Own Property in Greece? Read This!

Athens-based architect and Chicago native Katerina Sirouni helps owners decode Greece’s property laws. This article is the first in an informative series, an important guide for anyone who owns property in Greece.

A Guide to Greece’s Property Laws

As a Greek American who has been educated and lives in Greece, and happens to be an architect, I am continually approached by Chicago area family and friends about how to make sense of the many changes in Greece’s property laws, codes, and taxes. Chicago is my hometown, and I still maintain a strong connection with the Greek community. I was born in Chicago and lived there until the early 1980’s, when my family returned to Greece. Today, I own and operate an architectural firm, KSirouni Architects, and I help clients all over the world in design, management, and maintenance of properties, as well as navigating Greece’s new property laws.

Questions abound regarding the latest changes in Greece’s property laws and how the changes affect those that own property in Greece. The current climate has created great uncertainty, but there is also a “fast tracking” of many new laws, which impact every single land and building owner in Greece.

Of course, the intent of these laws is to improve the real estate market and Greek economy as a whole. This does, however, create issues shorter term. It is my hope, that through this series, I can help make sense of these laws and help property owners navigate them.

For the first step in decoding Greece’s property laws, owners must first understand and be compliant in the four basic and essential areas—basic legal certificates and terms.

Photo by: Katerina Sirouni

Illegal Structures (Afthaireta)

As of September 21, 2011, when selling or transferring buildings or land, as an owner you are required to submit a “Declaration of Legality of Property Status”. This certificate describes the “as-built status” of real property—what has actually been built in terms of size and use. Unlike other countries, many buildings in Greece are in violation of building codes and regulations leaving owners who have bought or inherited property throughout the years in the dark of their property’s “as-built status” in comparison to what has been declared on legal building permits or deeds.

Energy Performance Certificate – EPC (Energeiako Pistopoiitiko)

As of January 9, 2012, when selling or renting residential and commercial property, with certain exemptions, all owners are required to submit an “Energy Performance Certificate”. To issue this certificate, an energy inspector conducts an on-site energy survey and determines the level of efficiency in terms of energy consumption.

Hellenic Cadastre – National Land Registry (Ktimatologio)

All property and land now must be registered by location and title ownership securing owners their real property regarding its legality. The Greek Government aspires to complete and fully organize the National Cadastre by the year 2020.

Electronic Building ID (Illektroniki Taftotita Ktiriou)

All built property in the near future will be registered electronically and assigned a unique “Building ID Code”. Owners will not be able to sell, rent, transfer to family, buy, inherit property or even file a simple “E-9 Tax Form” without a “Building ID Code”. This Electronic Building ID is part of Greece’s effort to create an electronic database for all registered and properly recorded properties. Ultimately, property ownership in Greece will benefit from this database in easing the transfer of property in the future.

Photo by: Katerina Sirouni

Owners of Property in Greece Have New Requirements and Challenges

This is but a brief overview of some of the new legal challenges that affect every single property owner today. In future articles, I will go into greater detail and help explain Greece’s property laws on a practical basis and how to work through them. These laws and changes may appear overwhelming, but with the right professional, they can be handled efficiently and inexpensively.

Questions? Need assistance in Greece? Email Katerina.

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