Real Estate Blog

Property on a designated forestland in Crete

15 Apr 2019

Legal, by Athina Ledaki, Lawyer/Accredited Mediator (CEDR)

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New Forest Maps in Crete. Certain properties in Chania region, Crete, plots or built properties have been registered as forest or grassland in the recently published forest maps. Property owners are entitled to contest their property's forest character before the Forest Office of Chania and defend their cases before the Forestry Committees.

In 2018  new forest maps have been introduced in certain regions in Chania, Crete, such as, Akrotiri, Nea Kydonia, Souda, Perivolia etc. A forest map is a map where the areas subject to forestry legislation, as well as grassland and rocky areas are marked and registered. The purpose of creating the forest maps is mainly the protection of the environment and the listing of property rights in forests, forest areas and grasslands, for both the Greek state and the property owners.

Aerial photographs of 1945 are the basic data assisting authorities to decide  the character of a land as a forest area or grassland is based on. In the areas of Chania, Crete where the forestry maps have been published, all property owners were lawfully entitled to submit their objections if their property has been wrongly identified as a forest or grassland within the deadline defined by law, which after several prolongations expired in September 2018.In January 2019, the procedure of the formation of the Forestry Committees started and in the beginning of the summer the first hearings are expected to take place.

As far as the property transfers are concerned,  in  areas of Chania Crete, where the forestry maps have been published, it is wise to make a thorough search on the property deeds, plans and all relevant information, ask for a copy of the submitted objection to the Forestry Committee, be informed on the procedure along with your technical and legal consultant and avoid signing a final sale contract if all the documents haven’t been properly provided. Buying a property situated in these areas of Chania region  is still possible, but the outcome of the forestry committee will surely delay the process. Still, depending on your lawyer’s and engineer’s advice you can proceed in buying the property by signing a preliminary agreement for a property purchase, by which both parties are engaged to sign the final contract on condition that the final verdict of the Forestry Committee is issued.

It’s worth mentioning that not only plots of land are subject to forestry legislation. Even plots already built can be registered as forest or grassland, so no matter if you are buying a plot in Chania, Crete or a house, the precautions are the same. 

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