Illegal homes set for reprieve, at a price

The government plans to begin drawing up legislation after Easter that would allow owners of illegally built homes to protect their properties from demolition or repeated penalties by paying a charge, which has yet to be set.

Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou said on Wednesday that the government would examine what legislation is permissible under the constitution and would also obtain the Council of State?s approval for any draft law.

The bill is likely to prove controversial as it would signify the state giving up any hope of knocking down illegal structures if their owners are willing to pay the charge.

The government used a similar system with illegally altered parts of properties, which was seen as a significant revenue-earner.

Papaconstantinou said that an equivalent scheme for buildings that are illegal in their entirety would earn public coffers 1.2 billion euros.

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