Unauthorized construction (“afthereta”) in Greece. Declare it now and save it!

OPA Magazine, February 14, 2012

One of the greatest problems that the Greek State encounters and has not resolved yet, is the problem of unauthorized constructions, i.e. constructions on buildings without obtaining a proper building permit from the competent Zone Plan Authority or by exceeding the provisions of the building permit.

In an attempt to resolve the matter, a new law (4014/2011) has come into force from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change. Properties with unauthorized constructions built before July 28, 2011 not falling under the exemptions provided therein (constructions built before 1955, “legalized” through previous laws, properties built in forests, by the beaches, in archeological sites, etc…) can be “legalized” for a period of 30 years.

This law grants to owners the opportunity to legalize the unauthorized constructions by following a specific procedure:

  • Use the services of a civil engineer, who, upon inspection of the property, will verify the unauthorized construction (without or by deviating from the building permit).
  • Submit an application with the civil engineer’s report through the Ministry’s web page.
  • Pay the fee for legalization which arises from 500€ to 6.000 €, depending on the size of the unauthorized constructions. The above steps have to be fulfilled by February 28, 2012.
    • The civil engineer needs to submit the entire documentation file (drawings, deeds, E-9 tax statements, etc…) by March 31, 2012 in order for the legalization to be effected and the final penalty to be determined. Payment of the penalty can be effected in up to 48 monthly installments.

Upon submission, a certificate of settlement of unauthorized construction is issued.

What happens if someone decides not to proceed with the legalization of the unauthorized constructions? Except for the penalties of construction and maintenance of unauthorized constructions that the owner has to pay if the competent Authority discovers the construction, the law sets a severe prohibition on conveyances effected after September 21, 2011:  any conveyance of properties (with exemptions, such as the acceptance of inheritance deed) with unauthorized constructions or constructions with a change of usage (e.g. when a storage room is used as a residence), is void and invalid. In order for the Greek State to control such conveyances, it is provided that the Notary Public who executes the conveyance Deed is obliged to request and attach to the Deed a certificate from a civil engineer that there are no unauthorized constructions on the property and in case there are, a certificate that these are exempted from the above law or have been legalized according to its provisions.

So, our suggestion is: declare it now and save it!

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