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From the blog:

IMG_9852The deadline for  legalising any illegal building in Greece, has once again been extended to 31 May 2013.  It is important for all property owners to compare property details with original planning applications.  You have a couple of choices to consider if you do have an illegal additions to your Greek property.  The first option is:  Pay the fine and legalise your property.  Pretty much straightforward and peace of mind.  The second option, which is one that we strongly don’t recommend, is ignoring this deadline and hope that your illegal builds are not identified by the authorities.  Sadly Greek Property Experts has learnt over the months, that when things are OK in Greece, nobody is interested in your affairs, or what you have built with your Greek property.  However, when the economy is in such situations as now, then other Greeks will report you.  This is a fact!!!

The advantage of the new legislation is that there is only a one-off charge, not an annual fee, and costs are far less than before. It also means that connection to mains electricity and water is then possible for previously illegal builds.

Take note and act before the deadline, as more and more, inspectors from town planning offices are going to be checking and imposing fines on anyone not declaring their illegally converted areas. It has even become evident that the Land Registry and Ministry of Agriculture are using aerial photographs to identify Greek properties illegally constructed, or with illegal additions and alterations!

The amount of the fine will be calculated according to the size of the area in question, whether the home complies with zoning regulations, the value of property in the area and whether the house is the owner’s main residence.

Another point to be aware of and that is as of  January 2012, one cannot sell, buy, rent or mortgage a property without a certificate of legality issued by certified architects or engineers. Also, properties that are not legalised can now only be transferred to, or inherited by, one family generation. After that, if still not legalised, they can be claimed by the Greek state.

What exactly can be legalised?

The list is extensive, but here are a few examples:

• new buildings or extensions to existing buildings that were built without a building permit;
• buildings that were built bigger than specified on the authorised building plans;
• buildings erected at a different location specified on the building permit or at a differing distance from the property boundary;
• swimming pools installed without a permit;
• balconies or roofed terraces converted into living spaces;
• basements and garages converted into rooms;
• loft conversions not on the original plans.

There are, of course, still a number of alterations to plan or illegalities that are not allowable under the new dispensation. These include:

• buildings or structures built on public municipal or state property;
• buildings on or too close to public roads;
• buildings on forestry land, on beaches or too close to the sea shore;
• buildings within protected areas, such as archaeological sites and protected national parks.

So how do you set about legalising your property?

In brief, you appoint an authorised architect or engineer who visits your property and does an assessment. They gather all necessary documentation, assess the fine to be paid (worked out with a formula provided), complete the application form and submit it digitally to the Technical Chamber. On payment of the fine, you will be issued with a unique code and a certificate of submission for the property and this will be required for any future legal transaction related to the property.

The fine starts at approximately €500 depending on the size of the property, and the architect’s or engineer’s fees as recommended by the Technical Chamber which are approximately €1,540,  plus VAT. The cost of legalisation is significantly lower than before, and the procedure does not incur an annual fee for retaining an illegal structure as it did previously.

Alternatively, we at Greek Property Experts have a time who will only be too happy to assist you with all your concerns.

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