NEWS

Fines paid via the installment plan and lump-sum discounts

The measures are partly a pre-election gambit on the part of the ruling PASOK party and partly a way to solve a chronic problem. The amendment, which includes the possibility of paying fines in up to 48 installments, or with discounts of up to 50 percent for payment in full, is included in a joint ministerial decision drafted by Deputy Environment Minister Rodoula Zisi and Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis. Its provisions confirm what has been leaked by the Public Works Ministry over the past few months. Of course, the possibility of paying fines for building and maintaining illegally constructed homes may only benefit the «haves,» since even with the discounts (40 or 50 percent of the total fine) the fines begin at 6,000 euros and in some cases run as high as 30,000 euros. However, the new ministerial decision takes into consideration a number of social criteria, such as whether the building is a permanent home, the number of family members living there, the existence of dependents with motor or other disabilities, and whether the residents are repatriated Greeks from former Soviet states. Owners of illegally constructed first homes of up to 400 square meters or second homes of up to 250 square meters, can request settlement of fines over 36 months or get a 40 percent discount if paid in full. If the building is the main family home, and if the occupants own no other home, then the fine can be paid over 48 months or with a 50 percent discount for payment in full. This only applies to homes of up to 120 square meters or if the dependent members of the owner’s family, which also refers to his or her parents, include a person with a 67 percent disability, or if the family is repatriated from a former Soviet state. Applications, which will be processed by local town-planning bureaus, should be accompanied by documents indicating the category (main or second home), the owner’s marital status, and the existence of a dependent with a disability. Applications will be processed within 20 days of submission. Owners who had already been fined before the new provisions were announced will be able to apply for inclusion in the new provisions, either regarding the total amount of the fine or the balance thereof. Again, the town-planning authority is required to respond to the application within 20 days. The favorable terms are canceled if the owner defaults on payment of three successive installments. Installments cannot be less than 60 euros monthly.