ECONOMY

Incentives to upgrade homes in capital?s historic center

Tax incentives and speedier licensing regulations outlined in an Environment Ministry law recently passed in Parliament are expected to come as a boon to homeowners in the so-called historic center of Athens, specifically in the neighborhoods of Metaxourgeio and Gerani, encompassed by Pireos, Epikourou, Evripidou and Athinas streets.

The focus of the ministry?s campaign to upgrade these neglected parts of the Greek capital is offering incentives for the renovation of facades and common areas such as gardens and skylights, as well as the complete modernization of buildings.

Under the terms of the law, homeowners who make such extensive renovations will be eligible for a tax deduction of 80 percent of the money they spent, the maximum amounts being 600 euros per square meter in Metaxourgeio and 300 euros/sq.m. in Gerani.

For office spaces the corresponding amounts are 500 euros/sq.m. in Metaxourgeio and 300 euros/sq.m. in Gerani, and for stores 300 euros per square meter in both areas.

The incentives will be extended to renters as well in the case that after receiving approval from the owner, the former covers the cost of the renovations, as well as any technical, architectural and functional modifications made to the building in which he or she resides.

The right to the tax deduction remains even if the leaser leaves the building following its modernization.

The law also provides a deduction for businesses in the services sector from their taxable income of up to double the amount they are paying in rent for any given professional space in these areas.

As far as listed buildings are concerned, the incentives provided by the new law are even stronger, with the entire amount of the cost of renovation being deducted, as long as it does not exceed 2,000 euros per square meter.

Homeowners or renters interested in participating in the program must submit their applications for a renovation license by December 31, 2014, and the renovation process must be completed within three years of the issuance of the license.

Meanwhile, another clause in the law says that all renovation work must be completed by December 31, 2015, meaning that interested parties will have to make sure they have ample time to complete the work.

Furthermore, for the next two years, the sale or deed transfer of any property within the designated area will carry only a 3 percent tax on the objective value or on the stated value when this exceeds the objective value, compared to normal rates of 8 to 10 percent elsewhere.