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Over 100 thousand property owners in a black hole between two laws

21 April 2010 / 16:04:42  GRReporter
2412 reads

Victoria Mindova

Over 100 thousand property owners fall in the gap between the two laws for inventory and classification of illegal buildings and structures, and the change of way a specific property is used. After taking office the new Minister of Urban Planning and Environmental Tina Birbili canceled the applicable law until then and gave a six-month "amnesty" for owners of illegal buildings. The promise of the new PASOK government was that in early April of this year a new law will come into effect that will end all illegal construction. 

According to the Federation of Greek construction entrepreneurs the weak point of this solution are the owners and construction companies that have a building permit after July 2, 2009. The approved projects of this group do not fall under none of these laws and they cannot change the purpose or legalize their property or even sell the property because it is considered illegal. Representatives of the federation accused the team of Tina Birbili of incompetence and called for sweeping changes in the bill before it enters the parliament for voting this week. 

"Right now we are finishing two buildings with five floors each. The owners of some of the already sold apartments wanted small changes in the design. We made those changes, but now we cannot make them legitimate. If tomorrow the owner decides to sell the property, he won’t be able to, because the law does not provide a loophole for the particular group. This group refers to people who have acquired property after the repeal of the law by Suflyas prior to adoption of new legal act," explained for GRReporter a construction entrepreneur from Athens. 

Meanwhile, the National Statistics Institute provided data on the status of the construction sector within the first two months of 2010. Authorities have issued 11.9 percent fewer building permits compared to the same period last year. The construction businessman explained that currently there is complete "freezing" of the real estate market due to uncertainty in the measures the socialist government will take in the future. "I have 14 apartments fully finished, of which I have sold only three. At older times I would have finished building and I would be looking for new projects to invest in. But now, I am waiting," he says. The entrepreneur said that despite difficult situation on the market, real estate prices will not fall. The reasons are in the high cost of initial investment. The already built buildings will be put on stand-by until the market heats up, and issuing of new building permits will gradually decrease. The shrinking in the construction industry will inevitably lead to increased unemployment and strengthening the recession.

Tags: Greece real estate building permit
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