ECONOMY

Doors open at overdue land registry

As the Environment Ministry launches procedures today to get the country’s first land registry off the ground, homeowners accused the government of failing to take the right steps to ensure the successful completion of the registry. Property owners will be able to submit paperwork at one of 76 land registry offices across the country to register their real estate from today until the end of September. They can also fill in the forms online at the registry’s website, www.ktimatologio.gr, which offers some information in its English-language version. Some 3 million Greeks are expected to take part in the process. The Hellenic Property Foundation (POMIDA), a non-profit organization representing about 40 property owner groups, described the procedure as being an opportunity for the government to confiscate property whose ownership is being contested by individuals and the state. The government is launching the procedure from a position of power and demands proof of property ownership dating back to 1885, if the owner of the real estate is in doubt, said POMIDA. «This exhausting obligation is driving millions of people to a desperate state, creating a problem of property being repossessed and is expected to turn into the main obstacle in the land registry procedure,» it said in a letter sent to the Environment Ministry. Greece’s efforts to create its first comprehensive land registry look set to get off to an inauspicious start as employees at property records offices in Athens and Piraeus have announced they will go on a 24-hour strike today. The employees said their workload is set to treble once the registration begins and the necessary steps have not been taken to account for the extra influx. The registration procedure will cost applicants 35 euros to register each property and another 20 euros for any other facilities, such as separate storage rooms or parking bays. People living abroad who own properties have until December 30 to act. Despite several attempts and millions spent in the past, efforts to create a proper land registry in Greece have foundered.