The Kytherian, June 16, 2012
The trip to Kythera has inspired and still does, many throughout the centuries. This destination has been the “oistros” for poets, painters, directors etc. The island has been the birthplace of the ancient goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, the hideout of Paris and Helen upon their escape from Sparta and the inspiration of the famous painting of Vato, while the Trip to Kythera is considered as a synonym of the unexpected, the unique and the ideal. It is also the dream of those originating from Kythera, who are always looking for a way to return back and visit the island.
If you travel there this summer and while enjoying the beauties of the island and rejoining with family and friends, you should also look into your legal matters there towards securing your legal interests and avoiding the unexpected.
The first thing you would need to confirm and verify would be the legal status of your properties. The provisions of Greek Law regarding the transfer of ownership, constitute the title search as an indispensable step towards determining and claiming ownership rights on a property.
Hence, in case you:
- are not in possession of the Deeds of the properties that you are entitled to; or
- you are not in possession of the Deed’s certificates of registration from the Ypothikofylakeion; or
- in case that you believe that someone has taken advantage of the fact that you are a foreign resident and has raised a claim against you and your assets; or
- you are not sure what is happening, to which properties and to what percentage you are entitled to,
the only solution would be to proceed with a title search before the Land Registry, verify that your ownership titles have been duly recorded to the Land Registry and that your property is free from any claim, lien, mortgage, seizure, lawsuit, or any encumbrances; or in case that nothing has been recorded or the entries are erroneous, proceed with the necessary legal actions towards amending the Deeds and any deficiencies. Note that title searches can be effected exclusively by lawyers.
In furtherance to the above, the island of Kythera has been proclaimed under registration to the Hellenic National Cadastre (Ethniko Ktimatologio) since January 2010. Although the relevant deadline for submission of the required documentation has not been set yet, when this happens, owners of properties in Kythera, will be called to submit their relevant documentation (Deeds, drawings, certificates of registration, certificates of Greek Tax File Number) along with the relevant application. Hence, we recommend to:
- perfect your Title; and
- obtain copies of all required documents; and
- proceed with a topographic diagram of your property, according to the national co-ordinates system and including building regulations,
in order to be ready for their submission when the relevant deadline is set
Another important issue you would need to take care of would be your tax liabilities. Pursuant to income tax law, each person who has acquired property in Greece is liable to submit E-9 tax statement. The submission of E-9 tax statements was compulsory for every person holding ownership rights for the fiscal years 2005 and 2008, while for the current fiscal year (and for all other fiscal years except 2005 and 2008), liable to submission of E-9 tax statements is among others, every person who acquired ownership rights (full ownership, naked ownership, life estate or right of residing on a property) either in full or in undivided interest on real estate properties in Greece within the previous year and every person whose property status has changed within the previous fiscal year.
Finally, beware of the adverse possession (“hrisiktisia”). Foreign residents usually assign the management of their properties to a local power of attorney, in order to cultivate, clean, exploit, reside to the properties and defend them from trespassers. In order to avoid any future surprises and any claims, it would be advisable, while being in Kythera, to execute an agreement of lease or of a free usage of the property, confirming in writing the terms of your agreement with your caretaker and/ or tenant, just to verify that no one will take advantage of your physical absence. Remember, scripta mannent verba volent! (words fly, it is the written that remain!)
Finally, one last issue is old Powers of Attorney to people that they are no longer representing you. As their revocation is not effected automatically neither orally, law requires the execution of a Revocation Act before a Notary Public and its service to the grantee. If this representation is not further required, revoke it.
So, why not take advantage of your trip to Kythera and dedicate some time to secure your interests there and protect the land that your ancestors have granted you with?
See you in Kythera in July!