Legal restrictions

1. Acquisition of immovable property by foreign persons/companies.

In principle, there are no legal restrictions affecting foreign citizens who wish to purchase an immoveable property in Greece. However, nationality does play a role when the property to be purchased is placed in a frontier area according to Law 1892/1990 (specific areas in the North of Greece and islands in the East).

Under art. 25 of the above law, all legal acts concerning transfer of property (and contractual) rights with respect to property in those frontier areas, are prohibited.

The prohibition does not apply when the acquirer (natural person or legal entity) is a national of an EU country or a country member of the European Free Trade Association.

The procedure of raising the prohibition is provided in art. 26, according to which any natural person or legal entity can apply for the raising of the prohibition, stating the purpose of the property use, to the competent authority, a committee established in every decentralized administration of the frontier areas.

Any legal transaction concluded in contrast to the provisions of Law 1892/1990 is considered invalid, does not produce any legal effects and cannot be registered in the Land Registry.

2. Acquisition of agricultural land: restrictions and limitations.

With regard to the purchase of agricultural property, there is no limitation relating to the nationality of the purchaser (other than the above-mentioned law on frontier areas, which is applicable for any kind of property within the specific areas).

However, several restrictions are provided in relation to the nature of the land as agricultural. For example, according to Law 2148/1952, it is prohibited to acquire an agricultural property that exceeds 250.000 m² without prior approval of the Prefect. In general terms, no permit is required for the purchase of agricultural land.

3. Acquisition of flat property: legal restrictions.

There are no legal restrictions with regard to the purchase of flat property and no approval by other apartment owners is needed. According to Law 3741/1929 and art. 1002 and 1117 of the Civil Code ruling flat property, two rights co-exist; exclusive ownership on each flat and co-ownership of all owners on the parts of common use of the building.

Therefore, approval from all the owners is only necessary with regard to changes that affect the co-ownership or the participation ab indiviso of every flat on the land. Any other transaction is freely held by the owner alone.

4. Acquisition of immovable property in special areas (such as on the coast or near military-related sites or in national parks, in the mountains, etc.)

According to art. 3 § 15 of law 2242/1994, in every transfer of land containing buildings or other installations, a solemn statement of the parties must be attached to the contract stating that the property is not located in a gorge, a seashore, a coastline zone, a biotope, a public owned estate or an archeological site.

In case such statement is not attached to the contract, or it is stated that the property actually is located in any of those areas, the transfer should not take place and cannot be registered in the Land Registry.

5. Acquisition of immovable property and listed monuments and memorials.

The acquisition of property comprising a monument or a listed building is not prohibited as such, however serious restrictions are imposed by law to owners of property of that nature.

For example, the owner may be obliged to tolerate any excavation decided and held by the State on the land (art. 41 of leg. decree 5351/1932), to proceed in reconstruction and restoration of the building at own expense (art. 32 § 4 of law 1337/1983), to refrain from any excavation at a distance of more than 500 m. from any visible monument, whereas it is prohibited to restore or renovate any building built before 1830, or any building built after 1830 which is characterized as a work of art.

In any case, the above mentioned legal restrictions of the ownership rights do not form part of the Land Registry Procedure.

6. Planning Code and legal restrictions (pre-emption right; approval by the municipality or other authorities; splitting a land parcel).

The State’s pre-emption right is established by special laws with reference to property of high importance, such as property in specific residential areas according to Law 947/1979, or private forests of more than 50.000 m² according to Law 998/1979. However, this matter is not covered by the Land Registry Procedure.

Land division does not require a prior special permit, but the transaction leading to such division is considered invalid and cannot be registered in the Land Registry, in case it contradicts planning laws.

The basic rule is that land division is prohibited if it results to the creation of parcels not conforming and capable to be built (art. 2 § 1 of leg. decree 690/1948).

7. Land given by the municipality to domestic inhabitants: legal restrictions?.

The so-called “local residents model” does not exist under Greek law.

8. Acquisition of immovable property and tax affairs.

For any kind of transfer, the transfer tax must be paid before the registration in the land register (even before the drafting of the contract). The registration cannot take place without the certification of the tax office.

9. Destination of the land parcel and legal restrictions.

According to art. 17 § 12 of law 1337/1983, for any kind of transfer of property containing a building, it must be mentioned and verified in the contract that the building was constructed on the basis of a specific permission granted by the Planning Office.

In case the number of the permission is not mentioned in the contract, the transfer cannot be registered in the Land Registry.

10. Any other legal, very specific restrictions.