Clarifications on Restrictions related to Property Transfers

05 Feb 2018, Legal, by Athina Ledaki, Lawyer / Accredited Mediator (CEDR)

 

Following queries concerning the acquisition of property rights in specific areas of the Prefecture of Chania, we provide the following information:

First and basic clarification: The prefecture of Chania does not belong to the border areas of the country- neither does Crete - therefore the legislative provisions that define the border areas and concern the transfer of real estate (Articles 24 and 25 of Law 1892/1990), as amended by Laws 1914/1990, 3978/2011 and 4278/2014), do not apply in Crete nor in Chania prefecture.

In any case, we should point out that in these areas (indicatively the prefectures of Dodecanese, Evros, Thesprotia, Kastoria, Kilkis, Lesbos, Xanthi, Preveza, Rodopi, Samos, Florina and Chios, the Thira and Skyros islands) any legal act by which natural or legal persons with a nationality or registered office outside the Member States of the European Union or the European Free Trade Association acquire any property or contractual right  in  real estate in these areas, any transfer of shares or shareholdings or any change of partners of companies of any type that own property in those areas IS PROHIBITED.

Having clarified that the prefecture of Chania does not belong to the border areas of Greece, there are however specific cases in which restrictions apply to the transfer of real estate:

1st category of restricted areas: These are the areas listed in detail in Article 32 of Law 1892/1990, which refer to specific places and are precisely identified by geographic coordinates. They mainly refer to points close to military facilities, the first of which is of course the area of ​​Souda bay and its peripheral areas (indicatively, Tsikalaria, Kalyves, Plaka, Almyrida, Akrotiri etc) as well as the Moustakos area of ​​Kandanos Municipality, Maleme, Municipality of Platanias etc. For these areas, article 29 of Law 1892/1990 expressly states that for the acquisition of any real or contractual right, a permission by the Regional Unit is required at the request of the interested party as well as the consent of the competent military service - Commander of the Military, Naval or Air unit responsible for the specific area where the property is situated. Consequently, with regard to the property transfer acts in these areas, the notary prepares an application to the Regional Unit of Chania (which replaced the Prefect), together with copies of the buyer’s identity card or passport as well as a topographic diagram drawn up according to the 1987 Coordinate System and an extract of the map of the area on a scale of 1: 5000. Following the issue of the administrative act, which provides the relevant permission for the transfer of the property described in the application, the transfer contract is signed. It should be noted that any notary’s act for the transfer of real estate in which the relevant permission of the Law 1892 isn't attached is completely null and void. Property sales to the State and Local Authorities are excluded from the provisions of this article, as well as donations by parents to their descendants, leases of up to six years, acts of adjustment of borders, division of common property and contracts for the transfer of shareholdings between co-owners.

2nd category of restricted areas: In addition to the above areas where the property transfer depends on the prior authorization of the competent regional authority, Compulsory Law 376/1936 "on security measures for strongholds", which remains in force, characterizes as "defensive areas" the ones where "there are or are to be carried out fortifications” and as "naval strongholds", the ones which fall within the competence of the Ministry of Shipping. Under the relevant provisions of this law, each defensive area or naval fortress includes a "prohibited" and a "supervised" zone. The first one is the closest to military installations, included in it, and the second the one whose outer boundaries are identical to the boundaries of the defensive area or the naval stronghold. Pursuant to Article 4 of Law 376/1936 entry into the prohibited zone is absolutely forbidden, and so is the acquisition of any real right therein.

With regard to the supervised zone, pursuant to paragraph 3 of article 5 of the same law, the establishment is absolutely prohibited to non-Greek nationals. Subsequently, the only article of Law 1237/1938 specifies that the acquisition of any real right in the supervised area, which is also prohibited by absolute nullity, is also considered an installation. Therefore, in the monitored defense areas and naval strongholds, the purchase of property by a non-Greek national is expressly prohibited. These areas are defined by relative decrees and according to the Hellenic Geodetic Coordinate System, which in the case the prefecture of Chania is the nautical fortress of Souda and the Souda air base.

In conclusion, the current legislation makes the following classification: 

  1. areas for which there are no restrictions (the majority of areas in the Prefecture of Chania)- nationality of the purchaser (Greek, European or other country) is irrelevant
  2. areas where a permission is required by the Prefecture (areas close to all military facilities)- EU and EFTA citizens have equal rights to Greek citizens
  3. areas where only Greek citizens can buy (supervised zone close to Souda nautical fortress and Souda airbase) -EU and EFTA citizens are prohibited to buy or settle.
  4. areas where the acquisition of real rights by anyone is prohibited (prohibited zone of Souda nautical fortress and Souda airbase)

 

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