Stiffer fines for some illegal properties

A bill allowing owners of illegal homes to purchase a demolition amnesty for their properties is due to be submitted to Parliament on Wednesday, after Environment Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou promised that the financial penalties would be lighter for those who broke building and zoning regulations ?out of necessity.?

?One of the most significant changes to the draft law is that we want to differentiate between the penalties that people will pay,? Papaconstantinou told Skai radio.

?We aim to reduce the fines for homes that are built in areas where property values are low and where the properties are people?s homes.?

Papaconstantinou said the change to the bill would benefit ?low- and medium-income earners.?

He said people who built holiday homes illegally would face stiffer fines.

?We aim to increase the penalties for those that broke the law not because there was a need but because they chose to,? added the minister without providing further details.

Papaconstantinou said that some of the money raised from the fines would be given to the IKA social security fund.

The bill to be submitted to Parliament on Wednesday will allow owners of properties that have either not been built within the legal requirements or which have not been constructed with a permit, even those currently involved in legal disputes with the state, to pay a fine to protect their homes from demolition for 40 years.

The size of the fine will depend on the size of the property, real estate values set by the tax offices and the type of offense.

Homeowners will have to pay between 500 and 2,000 euros just to submit their applications. The fines will have to be paid in 24 to 36 monthly installments.