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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 7 February 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2015 23 BUSINESS The changing landscape of property ownership in Greece KATERINA SIROUNI As a Greek American who has been educated and lives in Greece, and also happens to be an architect, I am continually approached by Chicago area family and friends about how to make sense of the many changes to the Greek property taxes and codes. Chicago is my hometown, and I still maintain a strong connection with the Greek community. I was born in Chicago and lived there until the early 1980s, when my family returned to Greece. Questions abound regarding the latest changes in the Greek real estate laws and how the changes affect those that continue to hold property in Greece. The current climate has created great uncertainty, but there is also a ‘fast tracking’ of many new laws, which impact every single land and building owner in Greece. Of course, the intent of these laws is to improve the real estate market and Greek economy as a whole. This does, however, create issues shorter term. It is my hope, over the next several months through this series, to help make sense of these laws and help property owners navigate them. Here, we will focus on four basic and essential areas - basic legal certificates and terms, with which owners of built property or land in Greece will need to be familiar. Illegal Structures (Afthaireta) As of September 21, 2011, when selling or transferring buildings or land, as an owner you are required to submit a Declaration of Legality of Property Status. This certificate describes the ‘as-built status’ of real property - what has actually been built in terms of size and use. Unlike other countries, many buildings in Greece are in violation of building codes and regulations, leaving owners who have bought or inherited property throughout the years in the dark as to their property’s ‘as-built status’ in comparison to what has been declared on legal building permits or deeds. Energy Performance Certificate - EPC (Energeiako Pistopoiitiko) As of January 9, 2012, when selling or renting residential and commercial property, with certain exemptions, all owners are required to submit an Energy Performance Certificate. To issue this certificate, an energy inspector conducts an on-site energy survey and determines the level of efficiency in terms of energy consumption. Hellenic Cadastre - National Land Registry (Ktimatologio) All property and land now must be registered by location and title ownership, securing owners their real property regarding its legality. The Greek government aspires to complete and fully organise the National Cadastre by the year 2020. Electronic Building ID (Illektroniki Taftotita Ktiriou) All built property in the near future will be registered electronically and assigned a unique Building ID Code. Owners will not be able to sell, rent, transfer to family, buy, inherit property or even file a simple E-9 Tax Form without a Building ID Code. This Electronic Building ID is part of Greece’s effort to create an electronic database for all registered and properly recorded properties. Ultimately, property ownership in Greece will benefit from this database in easing the transfer of property in the future. This is but a brief overview of some of the new legal challenges that affect every single property owner today. In future articles, I will go into greater detail and help explain what these laws mean on a practical basis and how to work through them. These laws and changes may appear overwhelming, but with the right professional, they can be handled efficiently and inexpensively. Source: The Greek Star *Katerina Sirouni was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and based in Athens, Greece. She received her degree from the National Technical University of Athens in Greece and is a licensed architect. www.ksirouni.com or www. linkedin.com/pub/katerinasirouni/25/14a/a15 New technologies driving the future George Hatzimanolis’ novel asphalt idea is cutting emissions and costs JOHN PYRROS An innovative new way of creating asphalt has councils, environmentalists and manufacturers excited about the possibilities of recycled inventions that are proving to lower CO2 emissions. The relatively new concept, a product of manufacturing company Downer EDI Limited, with Victorian surfacing manager George Hatzimanolis at the forefront, in conjunction with Close the Loop and Planet Ark, has found bodies in old cartridges and ink toner improve the properties of asphalt, which can sustainably create new roads. “We’ve been working quite a long time in terms of lowering our CO2 emissions through the manufacture and placement of asphalt; the goal was to reduce our reliance on natural resources as much as possible and have less detrimental effect on the environment Victorian surfacing manager George Hatzimanolis and production coordinator Simon Jordan. whilst maintaining our road network for future use,” Hatzimanolis told Neos Kosmos. “The toner which encapsulates the ink, we found through research with Close the Loop, has a very high end use to improve the properties of asphalt and we were able to kick off a partnership there and utilise recycled toner to improve the properties of asphalt, which actually reduces our reliance on using virgin materials.” Whilst the invention hasn’t completely cut the reliance on natural materials, it has drastically reduced the need to do so, saving time, money and the environment. And with environmental consciousness at the forefront of most contemporary policies and ethics, the development has been embraced by local governments and councils, which Hatzimanolis says is just as sustainable as original content - with an esti- mated lifespan lasting 15 to 20 years. “From all the performance testing that we’ve done there’s been no detriment to any of the performance characteristics - if anything there’s actually been an improvement on some performance parameters, so the expected life is equivalent or better than utilising virgin or traditional asphalts.” “By reusing materials that are at the end of their product life and effectively waste materials that would otherwise end up in landfill, we’ve been able to reduce our costs rather than having a reliance on excavating raw material.” “The data that we’ve had provided from third parties who are professional environmental consultants suggested a 20 to 25 per cent reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions through the use or our low CO2 asphalt range.” Inspired by the new technology, Hatzimanolis says he and Downer are continuously testing new possibilities, presented through the use of recyclable products, to save landfill, the environment, time and costs. A firm you can trust McKean Park Lawyers have a long history, dating back to 1863 when James McKean started his first practice on Collins Street in Melbourne. Endeavouring to promote confidence and develop trust with their clients, their philosophy has taken them from strength to strength, boasting an expert team of lawyers. Greek Australian Maria Kourtis is a senior lawyer at the firm, and has a career spanning almost fifteen years in a wide variety of cases with a primary focus on family law. “I work closely with my clients to understand and represent the particularities of each case. Whether it is parenting or property related, each client receives comprehensive advice about their entitlements, and I take a pragmatic approach to resolve difficulties and to achieve a fair and equitable outcome as efficiently as possible,” says Ms Kourtis. Experienced in working on family trusts, inheritances, large gifts from family, selfmanaged superannuation funds and family businesses, she says without seeking the advice of a lawyer on such matters, many people may overlook the commercial and taxation implications of property settlement. Also an independent children’s lawyer, Ms Kourtis sits on the Executive Committee of the Family Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) and chairs the Family Law Section of the Education Working Group for the LIV. McKean Park Lawyers, Level 11, 575 Bourke Street, Melbourne, 3000. For more information visit www.mckeanpark. com.au or call (03) 8621 2888. Lawyer, Maria Kourtis.
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