NEWS

Revenue from illegal properties rolls in

The rate of homeowners taking advantage of a law change earlier this year to declare illegally built properties has been slow, according to figures made public yesterday, but revenues from a scheme for those declaring just parts of their homes that have been illegally altered have been double what was expected.

According to figures issued on Friday by the Environment Ministry, only 117,000 people have so far submitted paperwork to have their illegal properties entered on a central database. Of these, only 22,000 have reached the stage where they are paying their first installment of the penalty imposed by authorities.

The law passed earlier this year allows those who have either built without a permit or have built on land where construction is forbidden to pay a fine to protect their properties from demolition or further fines for another 30 years.

Environment Ministry officials attribute the slow pace of homeowners taking advantage of the law to the dire economic conditions. The ministry said that the average fine for those who have submitted their details so far was 7,500 euros, plus another 800 euros in fees.

So far, 49.7 million euros has been collected. Of that, 30 million euros was from application fees, while the rest was from the penalty installments that have been paid so far. The ministry estimates that once all the applications from homeowners who have declared their properties so far have been processed and the fines paid, some 800 million euros will be collected.

The take-up for people seeking to protect illegally altered parts of their homes, known as ?imiypaithrioi,? from further fines or demolition was far more impressive. The deadline ended on November 30, by which time some 689,000 people had submitted declarations and paid the fines.

The ministry collected a total of some 930 million euros, which was more than double the 450 million originally budgeted in the medium-term fiscal plan that was passed through Parliament this summer.