NEWS

Easy terms for illegal buildings

With elections due by next spring, the government is planning to help owners of illegally built homes to make them legal. Legislation which is expected to be passed within the month will affect an estimated 200,000 owners of homes built without permits across Greece, out of an estimated 1 million buildings that have been constructed without permission. The Ministry of Environment, Planning and Public Works, however, wants to push ahead with urban planning that will cut down on bureaucracy that now results in planning proposals taking 12 years to be put into effect. This may lead to regional governments being given authority to deal with new city plans. The package of measures being prepared by the ministry includes the possibility of owners of illegal buildings being given the opportunity to pay fines in a large number of installments. These fines are imposed on buildings at the beginning of construction, when they are included in the city plan or when they are demolished. Generous discounts will also be offered. Owners will be able to pay fines that have already been imposed in 36 installments, or with a 40 percent discount if they are paid immediately. Fines on buildings with a smaller area than 120 square meters which are used as a family’s principal home, or are used by families with more than four children or with one member with a disability will be paid in 48 installments or at a 50-percent discount. After discounts, the fines may range from 6,000 euros to over 30,000 euros, depending on the size of the illegally constructed building.