20-yr headache and still hurting: Greece's land registry (New deadlines)

20-yr headache and still hurting: Greece's land registry (New deadlines)

Greece has set new deadlines for property owners to register their assets with a national electronic land registry, also known cadastre, in a project that has been dragging on for more than 20 years.

The new dates relate to different parts of the country and are applicable to property owners based in Greece and abroad. They can be seen here (in Greek).

With participation rates in some parts of Greece being as low as 25 percent, the country's Environment and Energy Ministry has been forced into pushing back the dates owners must declare their property by. At the same time, government officials have upped talk of fines being imposed on home owners if they miss the new cut off dates.

Apart from the costs involved, many Greeks have been slow in declaring their property due to a lack of title deeds existing on many assets, while others have in their posesssion centuries-old hand written documents proving ownership of family wealth. Disputes between individuals with the state and the churh, the country's two largest property owners, over ownership are common as is real estate that has been illegally acquired.

Further delays to the land registry could prove costly for Greece and result in the loss of some 80 million euros in EU funding the country has been granted to pay for the project that has a total budget of 320 million euros.

Greece is the only country in the EU without an electronic land registry. A lack of legal certainty over land ownership and usage present an obstable to foreign investment and is ofted cited as hindering the country's privatization program. Also, the completion of the cadastre has been set as a condition for emergency funding provided by international creditors.

The land register project, which was initally launched in Greece by the socialist government in 1998, looks set to miss its latest completion target date set for 2021. Talk has been growing that Greece will now set a new target date for 2025.

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