If one wishes to purchase a property in Greece, the purchase is regulated by “Astikos Kodikas” (Greek Civil Code) which is comparable to the German Civil Code (BGB). A notarized contract of sale and registration in the “Ipothikofilakio” (Land Registry) or “Ktimatologio” (National Cadastre) is also required for the successful completion of the purchase and the transfer of ownership.
The contract of sale
Greek property transactions are performed by concluding a notarized, precisely worded contract of sale. The property, the sale price, rescission rights, contractual penalties (in the event of late payment and/or rescission of the contract stipulated) are all described accurately in the contract, which then has to be registered with the Land Registry or the National Cadastre of the location of the property.
Land Register in Greece
According to the Greek Civil Code, any change of ownership takes effect upon registration of the contract with the competent Land Registry of the location of the real estate. The payment of the sale price or the residual sale price takes place at the same time as the notary’s record is drawn up and such payment is established in the notarized record. Payment of the land transfer tax is a prerequisite for the transfer of the title, which is usually carried out by lawyers.
Register of titles in Greece
The Land Registry (Greek: Ipothikofilakio) has jurisdiction for specific municipalities. However, entries in the Greek Land Registries have been, to a certain extent, made on the basis of the owner (Ipothikofilakio) rather than of the property (which is the case of the cadastral offices – “Ktimatologio”). When conducting an investigation at the Land Registry, an entry is verified in terms of the potential owner’s name, whether and when they became the owner and by virtue of which legal deed, whether encumbrances or legal disputes have been registered, etc. A decision has been taken to modernize the Greek Land Registry to alleviate the difficulties arising when verifying ownership status. Restructuring in Greece has been summed up under the term “Ktimatologio” (Cadastre).
The Cadastre in Greece
The National Cadastre, in which an entry is verified in terms of the plot etc., which has been under development for some time, has already been completed and has come into force in numerous Greek regions, but not in all of them yet.
The Greek Land Registry/Cadastre has so far been implemented in two stages.
Representation by lawyers for real estate contracts
Since 01/01/2014, representation by a lawyer during the drafting and signing of a real estate transfer contract is optional for all parties. However, it is helpful to have a lawyer who can help you and make you feel safer. Our experienced legal team will ensure that you always have access to all the information you need and that the whole procedure will go as planned. The lawyer carries out the Land Registry investigation about the property, draws up the contract and also preliminarily signs the contract of sale. Statutory contributions must be paid to the local branch of the Bar Association for the lawyer’s assistance with the notarized contract of sale.
According to Greek Law, when a right belongs jointly to more than one person, there is a community of right. The members of the community, i.e., the beneficiaries of the co-owned shares, are the share owners. Each share consists of a separate right, which can be freely conveyed and interpreted to a respective share on the entire property (undivided shares). A case of community of right is the joint ownership on real estate properties in Greece.
The community of right 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 their share on the joint ownership in Greece, without requiring the consent of the other co-owners.
The administration of the joint real estate property in Greece belongs to all the joint owners. The law provides those 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.