In previous articles, we introduced two newly enforced legal certificates and how they affect those who continue to hold property in Greece. Relative to these certificates, and to all new property laws in general, is this month’s topic, the Hellenic Cadastre – National Land Registry.
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 identifying 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 organising and operating the National 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.
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. Please 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 National Land Registry, at www.ktimatologio.gr
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. 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 legalise unlicensed property, a topic we extensively covered in Part II of article series on Illegal Structures.
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. 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 Parts II and III of this series, issuing Energy Performance Certificates and Declarations of Legality.
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.
In the final article of this series on property ownership in Greece, we will discuss the Electronic Building ID (Illektroniki Taftotita Ktiriou).
* Katerina Sirouni was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is an architect-engineer and received her degree from the National Technical University of Athens in Greece. A licensed architect, she is a member of the National Technical Chamber in Greece, the Association of Architects in Greece and the Hellenic Energy Inspectorate. www.ksirouni.com