If one wishes to purchase real estate in Greece, the purchase of Greek property is governed by the Astikos Kodikas (Greek Civil Code), which is comparable to the German Civil Code (BGB). A notarised contract of sale and entry in the Ipothikofilakio (Land Charges Register) or Ktimatologio (Land Register) is required for the purchase. As in German law, in Greek law too accession of title to a property is only complete on entry in the Greek Land Register.
The contract of sale
Greek property transactions are effected by concluding a notarised, precisely worded contract of sale. The object of purchase is described accurately, the sale price and when it is due stated, rescission rights and contractual penalties in the event of late payment and/or rescission of the contract of sale stipulated, as is contract implementation to arrive at transfer of title in the Land Register.
Land Register in Greece
According to the Greek Civil Code change of title is effected upon registration with the Land Registry having jurisdiction for the real estate. 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 is established in the notarised record.
Payment of land transfer tax is a prerequisite for transfer of title, which is usually carried out by lawyers.
Register of titles in Greece
The Land Registry (Greek: Ipothikofilakio or Ktimatologio)) has jurisdiction for specific municipalities. Greek Land Registers have been, however, and to a certain extent still are kept by person (Ipothikofilakio) rather than plot. When searching the Land Register, an entry is therefore verified in terms of the potential owner’s name, whether and when he/she became the owner and by virtue of which legal deed, whether encumbrances, easements, legal disputes, have been registered, etc. A decision has been taken to modernise Greek Land Register practice to alleviate the difficulties arising when verifying ownership status. Restructuring in Greece has been summed up under the term “Ktimatologio”.
Ktimatologio / Land Register in Greece
The Greek Land Register operated according to plots and not owners, public faith in what is entered under the plot, etc., which has been under construction for some time, has already been accomplished and has come into force in numerous Greek regions.
The Greek Land Register/Ktimatologio has so far been implemented in two stages.
Mandatory representation by lawyers for property sale contracts in Greece
In Greece representation by lawyers is mandatory when notarising most contracts of sale. The lawyer carries out the Land Register searches, draws up the contract and also preliminarily signs the contract of sale. Statutory contributions must be paid to the local branch of the Law Society for the lawyer’s assistance with the notarised contract of sale.
According to Greek Law, when a right belongs jointly to more than one people, there is a “society of rights”. The members of the society, i.e. the beneficiaries of the co-owned interest shares, are the share-holders. Each share consists of a separate right, which can be freely conveyed and interpreted to a respective share on the entire property (undivided interest shares). A case of society of rights is the joint ownership on real estate properties in Greece.
The society of rights 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 his/her 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 that 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.