Athens-based architect and Chicago native Katerina Sirouni helps owners decode Greece’s property laws. This article, part of an informative series, discusses Hellenic Cadastre – National Land Registry (in Greek, Ktimatologio), and why property owners should obtain them.
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. As the owner and operator the architectural 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. Here, will discuss the Hellenic Cadastre – National Land Registry (Ktimatologio), what it is and why your property must be listed.
What’s the Hellenic Cadastre?
The Hellenic Cadastre was established by the Greek Government as a result of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Environment jointly cooperating to create a complete and consistent real estate property database. Both private and public property will be permanently demarcated throughout the country and administered under the same terms regarding rights and legality. Under the current mortgage registry system, tracking down property by location or even indentifying an owner by name is impossible. The new system of land registration however, will contain reliable and detailed legal and technical information to simplify future property transactions.
Cadastral surveys were first implemented in 1995-2000 and again in 2008; remaining regions, mainly island, rural, mountain and forestry areas, will soon be incorporated. In fact, the Greek Government aims towards fully organizing and operating the Hellenic Cadastre by the year 2020 on account to European Union memorandum policies. Once completed, each individual property will be assigned a unique 12-digit code number, the “KAEK” in reference to title ownership and location which along with the “Electronic Building ID Code”, a term we will be discussing in our next article, will guarantee and secure future property rights and claims.
The Hellenic Cadastre is also an important part of the Greek government’s commitment to enforce the “fast tracking” of new property regulations affecting the current real estate market.
Benefits of the Hellenic Cadastre
Once completed and fully implemented, the Hellenic Cadastre will contain properly recorded property rights containing accurate and lawful information. Future transactions will be simpler, faster and transparent, saving owners time and money. Most importantly, bureaucracy will be limited and the country’s forestry areas and coastal zones will be been defined to provide a protected environment avoiding intrusion and arbitrariness.
Why you must declare your property
Declarations to the Hellenic Cadastre must be submitted by each and every property owner or beneficiaries with ownership rights. Declaring property on tax returns is not proof enough of ownership.
If the property is unregistered:
- You will not be able to sell or rent your property is it’s not registered
- If you’re buying, the transaction cannot take place on an unregistered property
- You won’t be able to obtain a permit to improve your property
Even now, with the Hellenic Cadastre not yet complete, details and information are required for every single transaction such as selling, buying, renting, issuing building permits and as mentioned in the posts regarding Energy Performance Certificates and Declarations of Legality.
NOTE: Property not claimed or registered will eventually be controlled and owned by the Greek Government.
Even if deadlines in areas where property is located have passed, owners who have not yet registered their rights can still file for late registration by paying a fine, depending on type and value. Information on deadlines and areas subject to registration can be found on the official website of the Hellenic Cadastre. Furthermore, owners with property in regions not yet included in earlier registrations can now take the time to prepare and secure their rights—knowing and protecting what they actually own.
How to declare your property
An accurate land survey along with an on-site inspection of what has been built, are simple steps to detect possible errors and falsely declared information on deeds and building permits. The Greek government has now established a grace period for compliance, which grants owners the chance to declare and legalize unlicensed property, a topic we extensively covered in the post, Illegal Structures. A licensed architect can assist with this process, and help to legalize the property. They can also help complete and submit the declaration forms,which can be confusing.
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.
Other articles in this series: