JT Law Sydney offices (in 2010)
According to Greek Law, when a right belongs jointly to more than one people, there is a "society of rights". The members of the society, i.e. the beneficiaries of the co-owned interest shares, are the share-holders. Each share consists of a separate right, which can be freely conveyed and interpreted to a respective share on the entire property (undivided interest shares). In other words, the right of society is not limited to any specific part of the joint property. A case of society of rights is the joint ownership on real estate properties in Greece.
The society of rights on real estate properties creates rights and obligations to the joint ownership in Greece, which are regulated by the Greek real estate law. With regard to the joint ownership's rights, each co-owner has the right to use freely the jointly owned property, provided that said use does not exclude the rights of the other co-owners. Therefore, each co-owner has the right to use the joint property in Greece freely, as long as the other co-owners are not prohibited from using the property. Each co-owner has also the right to convey his/her share on the joint ownership in Greece, without requiring the consent of the other co-owners.
Joint ownership in Greece, creates not only rights among the joint owners but obligations, as well. Such obligations are either specifically regulated by law or by the principle of good faith. Therefore, joint ownership in Greece involves obligations such as payment of debts arising from the joint property; expenses for its maintenance; its management; and its usage. Each co-owner is liable on these obligations up to his share on the joint property, i.e. up to the percentage on the joint owned property that he owns.
The administration of the joint real estate property in Greece, belongs to all the joint owners. The law provides that co-owners are liable to each other for any fault performed with regard to the administration of the properties. However, in cases of danger, each co-owner is allowed to take any necessary actions, without waiting for the other co-owners' consent.
Due to the common and frequent disagreements among the co-owners, it is often questioned how the management of the joint real estate property in Greece can be achieved. Therefore, Greek law provides that, due to obvious difficulty of achieving consent by all owners, the management and usage of the joint ownership in Greece can be effected upon the relevant decision of the majority of co-owners. If the decision is not taken upon the relevant agreement of all co-owners or by the majority of them, each co-owner has the right to apply to the Court in order to rule on the most appropriate way for the property's management. The Court may also appoint an administrator of the joint ownership in Greece.
Therefore, the majority of the co-owners have the primary role on the administration of the joint ownership in Greece . The majority, however, does not have the right to decide for the substantial alteration or disposal of the joint real estate property and for any costly additions on same. Furthermore, the majority can not request from the Court to rule on the above.
As already indicated, each co-owner can freely convey his/her share. However, the conveyance of the entire property can only be affected through the relevant decision of all co-owners and not just with the decision of the majority.
Each co-owner, regardless of his share on the property, can request the dissolution of the society through the partition of the joint ownership from the Greek Courts.
Greek real estate laws provide two means of distribution of the joint property; extra judicial partition and judicial. Through the extra judicial distribution, the co-owners can freely decide on their own, for the distribution of the joint ownership, defining themselves the desirable means of partition.
The competent Court in Greece for the partition of properties, is the Court of First Instance of the property' s location. The Jurisdiction of the Court is defined according to the market value of the property
The Greek Court freely decides on the means of partition of the joint real estate property in Greece. It is at the Court's discretion to rule on the most appropriate means of partition, without being bound by the claims of each party. The Court will have to examine whether the "actual" partition of the property is feasible, i.e. the physical distribution of the property according to the respective share, without reducing the value of the property. In case that the above solution is not feasible (e.g. an apartment) or decreases significantly the value of each co-owner's share, the Court may order the sale of the property through a compulsory auction. The price received in the auction shall be distributed among the joint owners, in proportion of each co-owner's share.
All the above procedures for the protection of your Greek Property, can be accomplished through a limited Power of Attorney to a specialised lawyer in Greece, like our Law Firm.