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Urban planning and vertical ownership

09 Jul 2020

Legal, by Broosco Team

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The possibility of establishing vertical land parcels in plots located beyond city boundaries. Modifying the horizontal division to a vertical one.


The new regime: the possibility of establishing vertical land parcels in plots located beyond city boundaries.


It is common knowledge that the L. 4178/2013 as it was replaced by the L. 4495/2017 and is today in force has allowed establishing vertical land parcels in plots located beyond city boundaries, provided that the existing buildings were constructed before 28/07/2011, either following a Building Permit or a Legalisation Process.

Prior to this legislative intervention, the possibility of establishing vertical parcels was applicable strictly only to plots of land within the boundaries of a settlement or a city plan. The above extension of the Law clarified and secured the property status, and facilitated property transactions, since the owner of a vertical parcel has the right of full and exclusive ownership over an  independent building located on a specific part of the whole plot, on which he also has the right of exclusive use, possession and exploitation and which participates with a specific percentage of co-ownership in the common plot of land. In plots of land beyond the city limits, the possibility of establishing vertical properties is the only solution, since they can't be divided in smaller independent plots.


The previous regime: the possibility of establishing only "horizontal" properties in land plots located beyond city boundaries.


Prior to the implementation of the L.4178/2013, transferring a property located in a plot beyond city limits was governed by the status of a horizontal property division, which created many problems. The main issue was the obligation, by law, to connect all the buildings of the plot with a construction element which, however, was impossible in most cases due to the usual long distance between the buildings, if we take into account the usual 4,000 s.m. minimum demanded plot surface. In addition, each building (=horizontal property) apart from its defined percentage on the whole plot of land, could have only the exclusive use of a piece of the non-built part of the plot, but not the actual ownership of this specific area.


Modifying the horizontal division to a vertical one.


The legislation mentioned above has provided the possibility of modifying the existing horizontal property division in a vertical division with a single notary's act, instead of abolishing the horizontal division (1st act),  establishing a vertical division (2nd act) and then distributing the vertically divided properties between the plot owners (3rd act), procedure which had been adopted in practice at the initial implementation of the L.4178/2013.

The condition for drafting and signing such a notary's act is the consent of all the owners of the major plot. However, the L.4495/2017 allows the plot owners representing 65% of the ownership, to take legal action through court in order to get a court decision allowing the modification of the horizontal to a vertical division. The notary's modification act is legally registered at the competent land registry or cadastral office and constitutes the property deed of the new vertically divided property.


In practice....


We spoke to notaries, conducted a survey in the local land registry and cadastral offices and the competent tax authorities of the prefecture of Chania, Crete, and arrived to the conclusion that the undeniable proof of the benefits of the new law provisions is the large number of the property owners who have already modified their deeds and the increasing rate of the property transfers carried out following these modification acts.

Greek notaries' associations have expressed their views as well as their request to extend the relevant law provisions also to plots of land outside city boundaries, not necessarily built, or if built, not necessarily before the 28/07/2011, with a building permit though, extension which would further facilitate the new, already adopted in practice, regime.



Posted by Athina Ledaki, Lawyer, Accredited Mediator (CEDR)


Athina was born in Athens. She studied Law in Athens University Law Faculty and worked as a litigation lawyer in Athens from 1995 to 2002. Since 2002 she is a member of the Bar Association in Chania, Crete, practicing civil and property law. As an English, French and Italian speaking lawyer with a considerable foreign clientele she has acquired a ten years' experience in cross-border property transfers.In 2014 she was certified as a CEDR accredited mediator.

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