Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Ktimatologio goes everywhere in Greece!
By Christos ILIOPOULOS*
The Ktimatologio Public Registry for real estate properties was introduced in 1996 and already covers about 6.3 million property rights in many places of Greece. From 17 June 2008 a new wave of Ktimatologio offices is sweeping through the country, in Athens, Thessaloniki and the capital towns of every Prefecture in Greece. This new program of property registrations will cover about 6.7 million property rights.
The time limits for the new declarations, which must be submitted by property owners, are very tight. All property owners, (Greek or foreign citizens), who reside in Greece, must submit their title until 30 September 2008. Property owners, (Greek or foreign citizens), who permanently reside outside of Greece, must submit their title until 31 December 2008.
After these time limits expire, property owners who failed to file their real estate property titles will still be able to do it, but through the courts, a more lengthy and costly procedure.
It is noteworthy that failure to declare the property to the Ktimatologio office means that the owner cannot sell, donate, transfer in any other way, build or develop the property.
What all Greek real estate property owners must know is that, those who reside in Greece and failed to declare their properties within eight (8) years from the start of the Ktimatologio office in their area, will lose their property for good! The ownership of the non-declared property will automatically go to the government and the only consolation for the property owner who lost his/her property will be a compensation claim against the government. Such compensations, knowing the Greek law and practice, will probably not be equal to the true, market value of the lost property.
Property owners, who permanently reside outside of Greece and failed to declare their titles to Ktimatologio for a period of ten (10) years after the start of the Ktimatologio office in their area, will also lose their properties. They, too, will be left with a compensation right against the government.
The declaration of the property to Ktimatologio is done by filling out a form with the owner’s data and the description of the property. In addition to that, a photocopy of the title by which the owner obtained ownership of the property must also be filed. A topographic plan (survey) always helps, especially if the property is a land in a rural area. The owner must also declare his/her Greek Tax Number (AFM) and documents which prove it, (deeds where the AFM is stated, electricity or other bills in the name of the owner, tax documents with AFM printed, etc).
In many cases property titles, especially in Greece, are not very easily described and other documents may also be needed for a proper Ktimatologio declaration. Such additional documents, depending on the type of the ownership right declared, may be proof of adverse possession by which the applicant became owner of the property, lease agreements which recognize the applicant as owner - landlord of the property, mortgage documents, lawsuit actions, inheritance documents etc.
In any case, those who own property in Greece and have not settled their cases for various reasons, must do it now. A large number of Greeks who reside outside of the country are entitled to inheritance shares. Now is the time to administer the inheritances by sorting out who are the heirs, what is their share, which and where are the properties inherited, what is their tax and market value and how the heirs will officially obtain title over the inherited property.
An inheritance is usually administered in Greece either through a legal procedure which is finalized with a deed signed at a notary public or through a court decision, which recognizes the heirs and their share. Before the heirs go to the notary, they must settle with the tax authority, if they owe taxes. A number of certificates must be obtained from various Greek authorities and in most cases legal advice is required.
Apart from filing the titles, topographic plans and forms for the property, the owner will also have to pay, (through the bank or the internet), 35 euros for every property right it is being declared and 20 euros for secondary rights. If one property is jointly owned by more than one persons, (undivided shares, parent and child co-owners of the same property etc.), each of them will have to file independently and pay the above amounts in full.
*Christos ILIOPOULOS, attorney at
the Supreme Court of Greece, LL.M.