The new land registry in Greece, called Ktimatologio, spreads its operating offices all over Greece. Owners of every type of property right must file their deeds of title, contracts, notarial acts, survey maps, identification cards or passports, their full name, Greek tax number and address of their proxy in Greece, and possibly other documents, evidencing their ownership rights. In doing so, apart from houses and apartments, the specifications, measurements and forms of the plots and lands are also declared, for the ktimatologio to create a very accurate and modern database listing the names of all owners, as well as the proper size, surface and other characteristics of the various types of properties within the jurisdiction of the specific land registry office.
If the owner has obtained the property by purchase deed, a parental gift, a gift by another person, or a division contract with other former co-owners, the ktimatologio filing is more straightforward. However, in those cases where the “owner” has inherited the property from a family member, either through intestate succession, or with a Will (which may or may not be probated yet, in Greece, or in some other country), the filing may not be that simple, because the inheritance may have not been settled yet, which means that the interested party is not officially the owner yet. In such cases, the persons who want to file specific properties in their name, must settle the estate of one or more deceased persons.
To settle the estate, a death certificate is needed. These certificates can be from Greece or be translated and officially certified copies from another country, while the close of kin certificate can be obtained from a local municipality in Greece or a similar legal document from another country. They also need the probated Will in official and translated copy if from another country, the certificate that no other Will of this person has been probated, and a very good description of the property in question. Such descriptions usually come from a modern survey map or topographic plan, drafted by a licensed civil engineer or topographer, who will draw the map once he is shown the boundaries of the property in question.
Which brings us to the other significant issue, the ability to locate the property in the field. This may sound simplistic for those who come to Greece every year and know how to get to their house and plots. But one must have in mind that there are thousands of heirs of property in Greece, who live outside the country and do not exactly know where is the exact location of the houses and the lands they are entitled to inherit. So, the ability to pinpoint on the ktimatologio map the exact location of your property is essential in making a proper filing.
The deadline for filing varies, in different parts of Greece. In some places, the ktimatologio filing has already been completed years ago and in few cases, property owners who have not declared them until now, have already lost their ownership rights and are only entitled to monetary compensation by the state that is equivalent to the value of their lost properties. But in most cases, there is still time to file and save your property rights. The best way to find out is to contact an attorney, notary, civil engineer or relative in Greece, who will first ask you basic questions and then will guide you through the process of filing. In most cases you will need to sign an authorisation to a legal professional in Greece, so that you do not have to travel to the country in order to file your property and ensure that you can sell it one day, or pass it to your children and to exercise your property rights in the distant future.
*Christos Iliopoulos is an attorney of the Supreme Court of Greece.