OPINION

Beware of Greeks selling land

I had the misfortune to come to Greece in 1963 with my English sister-in-law. I was born in Crete but I am a British subject. We made the mistake of buying a piece of land in Loutsa, eastern Attica. I have a title to build, eight protocol numbers and the land is registered in our names. I left the land because I intended to build a house for my mother. Unfortunately my father died and my family emigrated to Canada. I kept the land thinking one day I could build a holiday home for myself. That was a dream which has turned into a nightmare.  I am physically disabled due to an accident and you know and I know Greece is not a good country for a disabled person to visit. I have tried numerous ways to sell the land from appointing estate agents to advertising it for sale in various newspapers. I found out that the people who bought the land next to mine were very good friends with someone who was in charge of the town hall in Loutsa. These neighbors had extended their property onto my land but because of the friendship they had with the town hall nothing was done to stop them. I sent them several letters including one from my solicitor telling them to remove their property but they just returned the letters unopened.  This story goes on for ever but just recently I received a letter from the mayor of Artemis telling me my land is not on the city plan. I sent him every document I have to prove it is on the city plan because all the other plots were bought the same day in 1963 and properties have been built on all of them. Because I am disabled and live on disability benefits I cannot afford to pay any handouts to the people in the town hall.  It is impossible for me to write any letters myself so everything I send is written for me by a carer who is English. Obviously she cannot speak or write Greek so the letters are in English. This has not caused a problem before, but the new mayor demands all correspondence must be in Greek. I cannot afford to pay a translator. I know for a fact that the information officer in Artemis Town Hall speaks perfect English so why are they putting more and more obstacles in my way? I think it is because I have not offered a handout.   When Mr Karamanlis first came to power he asked Greek people to be helpful and courteous to foreigners and encourage them to come to Greece and buy land or property. My answer to that is this – you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.   If you decide not to print this letter, could you let me know if there are any other Greek papers I can write to so I can warn foreigners to be very careful if they decide to buy land in Greece. K. CONSTANTINOU, Kent, England.