NEWS

Land register rush fails to ease

Hundreds of property owners who had hoped to avoid queues by submitting their land register applications in mid-August, when the capital usually empties, were surprised to find they had to wait several hours yesterday to get the job done. Some citizens visiting the land registry offices in central Syntagma Square, western Attica and Piraeus yesterday claimed to have waited up to eight hours to be seen by staff. Ktimatoligio SA, the company set up to create the country’s first land register, attributed the delays to the meticulous work of staff perusing applications to correct any mistakes. However, the firm said it was considering extending the opening hours of the 76 land registry offices to enable more citizens to submit their applications to have their properties registered with minimum fuss. Also, separate appointments might be set up for citizens wanting to register several properties so that they do not hold up queues, Ktimatologio SA said. A common complaint by property owners waiting in queues is that people who have failed to fill in their forms in advance are allowed to do so while others – with completed paperwork – wait in line behind them. Hundreds of thousands of owners of properties in 107 areas around the country have been given until the end of September to submit their applications. So far, only around one third of these properties have been registered, according to unofficial estimates. The process got off to a bumpy start in mid-June when tens of thousands of Greeks rushed to get their applications out of the way, causing long queues and frustration. Similar queues yesterday were attributed to inadequate staff numbers. «The service is very bad, they cannot have so few staff for so many people,» pensioner Anna Petrou told Kathimerini as she waited to be seen by staff at the Syntagma office. There have been calls for the extension of the deadline by which properties must be registered by three months but Ktimatologio has yet to comment on this eventuality. Property owners can also send their applications by post or submit them online at www.ktimatologio.gr.