OPINION

The nightmare of selling one’s property

I have recently read an article on the Internet edition of your newspaper, dated August 23, regarding the holiday house industry. It stated it is hoped the Olympics in Athens will attract foreign residential property buyers to Greece. The article also mentions the cement and construction industries being geared up for an influx of business. Reading this article made me mad! I have been trying to sell a plot of land I own in Loutsa since 1992, but because of the red tape and bloody-mindedness of the people working in the town halls, it took me five years to find out my land does not have a building permit. I only managed to get this information by using the services of the Greek Ombudsman. I feel the root of the problem is because I live in England. People living in Greece seem to be able to build where and when they wish with no restrictions. In fact, all the neighbors around my plot have built houses without permission but nothing is done. Every move I try to make is blocked by the bureaucrats in the town halls.  If the Greek government wishes to encourage foreigners to build holiday homes, they must do something about the xenophobic attitude of the civil servants. Unless they make it easier for foreigners to obtain the necessary permits, they will never succeed in their mission. I am sure Greece will be very pleased to receive the foreigners’ money; they just don’t want the foreigners living there. I should mention I was born in Crete but have lived in England over 40 years.  I have heard that Mr Karamanlis is proposing to clear up the bureaucracy in the town halls and I pray this happens very soon. I am a disabled pensioner and hope I will still be alive by the time the government sorts out this mess so I can sell my land which I have owned since 1963. I know you do not print letters in your Internet edition, but I felt I had to write to let you know what may happen to unsuspecting foreigners who have fallen in love with Greece and would like to live there.  MRS K. CONSTANTINOU, Herne Bay, Kent,England.