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Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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REAL PROPERTY LOST IN THE NAME OF CADASTRAL SURVEY

Hellenic News
Hellenic News
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(INTRODUCTION)

 

One of the major problems plaguing real estate ownership in Greece has been the legal uncertainty created by the way the regional Land Registries were organized and operated. Aim of the Land Registries is to ensure the publicity of real property rights. The term “publicity” refers to enabling any third party to research the real property status of a person. Due to the way the Land Registries are organized, any research regarding real estate transactions (e.g. deeds regarding purchases and sales, parental donations, donations, inheritance acceptances etc.) begins on the basis of a specific person or legal entity, constituting an ad personam system. So, the Land Registry indexes persons, not properties, thus rendering any real property research incomplete.

The only way of safely depicting the status of real estate ownership is the Cadastre system. The Greek National Cadastre constantly monitors and updates the ownership status of every real property located within the Greek territory. It presents none of the disadvantages of the Land Registries’ abovementioned ad personam system. In the Cadastre, property research is conducted based not on persons, but on the property itself. Every property has its own record, its own reference number, its own identity. All information regarding the property is registered in its record, thus enabling us to safely track its ownership history. The National Cadastre provides substantial protection to third parties transacting in good faith with real property owners.

This is the purpose of the “cadastral survey,” e.g. the registration of the entire Greek geographical territory in the Cadastre. In some regions of Greece there is already an Operative Cadastre, while in other regions the cadastral survey is still underway. The legal framework for Operative Cadastres is provided and regulated by Law 2664/1998, as amended and currently in force, while the legal framework for the regions undergoing cadastral survey is regulated by Law 2308/1995, as amended and currently in force.

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Aim of the cadastral survey is to record existing registrable rights and their owners. The cadastral survey procedure is conducted according to a predefined timetable. It begins when a region is declared to be “under cadastral survey” and it is completed when the operative Cadastre Office in this region commences its operation.

 

In short, the cadastral survey procedure includes the following steps:

  • Submission of Ownership Declarations by the owners, within a specified deadline, at the competent Cadastral Survey Offices, as well as registration of the Declarations in a digital database.

In order to safeguard real property rights, it is important to submit an ownership declaration within the deadline that is specified by law, by completing the respective declaration, producing the necessary documents and paying the respective Fixed Cadastral Survey Fee (35 € for a house or shop and 20€ for a storage or garage space).

  • Drafting of the Interim Cadastral Tables and Charts. At this stage, the data collected from the ownership declarations is processed by lawyers and surveyors. They verify the validity of the deeds and define the location of the property within the region under cadastral survey.
  • Suspension of the Interim Cadastral Data (tables and charts) in the Cadastral Offices for a period of two months. At this stage, the data collected during the survey process, e.g. beneficiary, type of right, description of the property, deeds of ownership, are made public.

According to our experience, substantial errors have often been observed at this stage; these errors mainly refer to the location of the property, to the deeds of ownership and to potential claims of the Greek State.

  • Submission of appeals or applications for correction, where applicable, to independent administrative commissions —by any person with a legitimate interest— during a period of two months for persons residing in Greece, or four months for persons residing abroad. At this stage, anyone having objections due to the published data being incorrect, incomplete or entirely omitted, may submit an appeal.
  • Rectifications to the cadastral data, after the examination of the appeals and the applications for correction, and drafting of the Final Cadastral Tables and Charts. The registrations that appear in the Final Cadastral Tables are called Initial Registrations, since they constitute the first (initial) registration in the Cadastre.
  • Commencement of the operation of the Cadastral Office in this region, replacing the old Land Registry.

 

Failure to submit an Ownership Declaration or to monitor the cadastral survey procedure can have devastating consequences for the owners. Non-submission of a declaration regarding the real property right is an omission that will lead to the property being registered in the National Cadastre as a “property of unknown owner”.

Failure to submit an appeal regarding errors in the data published during the Suspension stage, will lead to an incorrect cadastral registration of the property.

Problems that arise due to non-submission of declarations or appeals are mainly resolved in court — a process which is, of course, time-consuming and very expensive.

The best way to protect the citizens’ properties is prevention, by keeping them informed about their obligations and rights. It is worth noting that, if the owner neglects to register his/her rights on the properties and fails to participate in the cadastral survey procedures or, later, to judicially recognize his/her rights, the property is lost and transferred to the Greek State. This is why every owner should make sure that any outstanding issues are taken care of (e.g. drawing up deeds of inheritance acceptance or deeds of acquittance in case of purchase and sale under a resolutory condition etc.) and that their property rights are registered in the Cadastre through submitting the respective declarations or appeals —according to each case—, as described above.

Due to the complexity and diversity of the ownership cases, our office “GIS KAI PATRIS” – “LAND AND HOMELAND”, consisting of lawyers, notaries, accountants and engineers, handles each case separately and with the proper care and attention, in order to ensure the desired outcome. This article is the introduction to a series of articles to follow on the subject of the cadastral survey and the operation of the Cadastre in Greece. The following articles will contain information about the regions under cadastral survey, about the regions that have already been surveyed, as well as on the action that has to be taken in each case, in order to ensure your real property right.

 

 

GEORGIA ARETAKI — ATTORNEY AT LAW IN ATHENS, GREECE

NATALIA-MARIA SAVVIDI — NOTARY PUBLIC IN ATHENS, GREECE

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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