Greece is in the process of forming a complete data base of real estate property, helping protect the rights of homeowners.
Called the National Cadaster (Ktimatologio), authorities are collecting property ownership declarations throughout the country with more and more areas being added to the registry.
Elxis lawyer Kostas Chatzis has deep insight into how the system works and what homeowners need to do. Prior to joining Elxis, Kostas worked with several national cadaster offices across northern Greece, helping put together what is seen by many as being the biggest improvement to the country’s housing market in decades.
He points out that there are currently three land registration systems in Greece that are merging into one online database.
“These are the local land registry offices (Ipothikofilakio), the cadaster of the Dodecanese (operating exclusively in some areas on the islands of Rhodes, Kos and Leros) and the National Cadaster. The aim of the Greek government is to integrate the first two into the latter in the next few years, in order for Greece to have a unified land registry system,” Kostas says.
“Since mid 2000s, a national, digital cadaster is being set up and every year several regions are added to this. Until now, the National Cadaster mostly covers the big cities of Greece, but this is changing. Every owner of a property in Greece, no matter whether they have owned it for one day, a month or for 50 years, has to register themselves with the national cadaster when their region is eligible for registration,” he underlines.
Greek law dictates that any person or legal entity with real estate property rights of any kind is obliged to register his/her ownership rights with the Greek Cadaster by submitting the relevant statements and documentation that include an application form, title ownership, land survey, and a Greek ID card or passport information.
Once completed, each property is assigned a 12-digit code number, the “KAEK” in reference to title ownership and location which helps guarantee and secure future property rights and claims.
When handled properly, the process can be done quickly and easily though there are potential pitfalls that homeowners need to be aware of.
“The most common problem we encounter is that many property owners are not aware of their obligation to declare their property before the National Cadaster. Failure to complete the process property can eventually result in the loss of the ownership after a number of years, since all “stray” land parcels will be transferred ipso jure to the Greek State,” said Kostas.
“The first thing that we check here at Elxis when we take over a new purchase/sale is whether the property is located in a region that eligible for registration. If it is, then we check whether the current owner has already fulfilled their obligation and if not, we handle this as well,” he added.
The registration process lasts officially 1 year, and every property owner should declare his property within this period of time. New homeowners have a separate deadline, starting the day their purchase deed is registered before the local land registry office.
At Elxis, we have an in-house team of seven lawyers that can undertake the process, making sure that it is done right from the beginning.
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