Bid to regulate altered homes

PASOK is set to unveil today its own attempt to regulate illegally converted parts of homes by allowing owners to pay a one-off penalty that will go toward creating more parks and playgrounds in their neighborhoods with legislation that will be tabled just months after New Democracy failed in a similar bid after introducing controversial and unpopular legislation. Sources said that after days of lengthy discussions, Environment Minister Tina Birbili is due to present the draft law to her Cabinet colleagues today. The bill aims to allow more than 1 million homeowners to pay a fee to exempt illegally converted sections of their property from further penalties. According to Birbili’s plans, the money that will be generated by this scheme will go into a fund so it can be used to pay for the creation of more green areas in mostly city neighborhoods. Details such as how the money will be managed and exactly how the size of the penalty will be calculated are expected to be unveiled following today’s Cabinet meeting. PASOK will be hoping that its attempt to resolve this complex building and legal issue will be more successful than the previous government’s, which ran into a series of problems. Last July, New Democracy announced that it would pass a law that would «put in order» the status of areas of homes which were originally planned as balconies, garages or basements but have since been turned into living space. Under ND’s legislation, homeowners could pay 10 percent of the official value of the surface area as set by the tax office in order to obtain documents that stop short of legalizing these spaces, known as «imyipaithroi» (semi-open) in Greek.

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