Important Notices for Property Owners in Greece

Greece passed a new law under number 4014/21-09-2011 levying fines on illegal buildings and setting safeguards against unlicensed constructions that has blighted its countryside for decades.

Approved by the socialist majority and the conservative opposition, but criticised by environment groups, the law gives a 30-year amnesty to owners of illegal buildings in return for fines.

The rules apply to buildings dating to 1955 and vary according to size, age and region, with particular attention paid to natural habitats and areas marked for reforestation where any such infraction remains illegal.
The new law which gives owners the opportunity of regularization illegal structures, such as: swimming pools, dwellings, unlawfully erected installations or building conversions.

Greece has about 1 million illegal buildings, out of a total of 7 million homes, according to a study by the Athens Polytechnic. The new amnesty law gives owners the possibility to declare any buildings that have been built or extended without planning permission.

The law also introduces an important proviso: that no house can be sold or passed on without a certificate from a civil engineer confirming the accuracy of the plans.
Owners and potential buyers who proceed with a sale or transfer without first obtaining this certificate could face a fine of 30,000 up to 100,000 euros and a six-month prison sentence.

Owners of illegal dwellings have to pay the first monthly instalment of the fine, or they can pay the entire amount in full and benefit from a 20% discount. According to size, age, etc. of the illegal construction, the fee ranges between 500 and 6,000 euros.

The process is in 5 steps as follows:

  1. The civil engineer inspects the illegally built dwelling.
  2. The civil engineer has to submit the application and obtain the Special Reference Number for each dwelling, the payment invoice for the fine and the payment plan.
  3. The owner pays the fee at any bank or the Post Office.
  4. The owner has to pay the first monthly instalment of the fine.
  5. The civil engineer has to submit all the necessary documents to the Ministry of Environment in order to finalise the legalisation procedure.