Like most western, free-economy countries in the world, which recognise and protect private property, Greece keeps records and deeds of all real estate transactions in the local land registry where each immovable property is located. The basic, age-old land registry is called Hypothykophylakeeo. The modern land registry is called Ktimatologio. During the last 20 years, the Ktimatologio is being organised in more and more areas and when in proper operation, it replaces the Hypothykophylakeeo.
All property owners are called, little by little and town by town, to declare the deeds, titles and other legal documents they possess, proving ownership of real estate property, to the newly established Ktimatologio office in their area. Apart from the owners who live in Greece, many property owners live abroad and do not have immediate access to information on how they declare their properties to the Ktimatologio land registry. Failure to declare their properties on time will eventually mean that they lose them. The Greek state becomes owner of the properties which have been identified by the Ktimatologio but no one has appeared as owner for them. If you do not declare your property on time, you lose it for good and you only obtain the right to claim compensation by the state equivalent to the value of your property which you lost.
Since no one wants to be in the position to have to merely claim compensation for their lost property, every real estate owner and every person who is heir to an estate in Greece, as well as those who claim properties from neighbours, relatives or trespassers, must immediately find a way to learn whether the time limits to declare their property have started or not, or whether these time limits have lapsed and what can be done now, in the way of a belated filing, objection or appeal with regards to who is the owner of a specific plot, land, apartment or house in Greece.
To learn about Ktimatologio, you must know the area, spot, village or town in Greece, where you own property. Then, you can enter the site ktimatolgio.gr and find out whether in your area of interest a Ktimatologio office has started its temporary or even permanent operation, or whether the Ktimatologio process has not even started yet. To declare your property, you must have (or find through your lawyer in Greece) plain copies of the deed of your property, proof of its registration to the old land registry, and in many cases topographic plans (survey maps) and building permits. In order to file, you will have to sign an authorisation to your legal representative in Greece, who will draft and file the necessary forms on your behalf.
The extended time limits to file your deeds are seven or 14 years after the start of the initial period of filings. This means that in the vast majority of areas in Greece the deadline has not been missed yet, and property owners who have not yet filed their rights have not lost their properties. But there are about 111 areas where the Ktimatologio time limit is about to expire and in the next few months thousands of properties will pass from negligent or misinformed private owners to the Greek state. If you do not want to be among those who will lose their property rights for good, you urgently need to contact an attorney in Greece for advice on how you declare your property to the new modern land registry. There is no blanket deadline for every area of Greece. Each town or prefecture has its own time limits. That is why there is no specific date by which the Ktimatologio filings must be done and each owner who lives outside of Greece must contact a trusted advisor in Greece with details of his property at hand.
*Attorney at the Supreme Court of Greece, LL.M. (www.greekadvocate.eu/ e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org