According tο the Immovable Property Law (Transfer and Mortgage), No.9/1965 as amended by Law 139(I)/2015, every buyer of a property which has his contract deposited to the land registry office, but the separate title deed of the said property is not issued, can file an application for the issuance of separate title deed.
A fundamental requirement for submitting an application is that the Contract of Sale have been deposited at the competent District Office by the 31st December 2014. In case that the Contract of Sale has not been deposited, the applicant may apply to the Court for the issuance of an order to deposit the contract in accordance with the Sale of Property Law (Specific Performance) no.81(I)/2011.
The application is called in Greek AEA (Trapped Buyers Application) and can be submitted to any District Lands Office irrespective of where the sales contract is deposited. It costs €10. The application requires the following information to be included:
- The land registry deposition number (ΠΩΕ).
- The characteristics of the land upon which the property was erected.
- Original receipts from the developing company of paying at least 80% of the agreed purchased price or confirmation/declaration from the developing company indicating that the full amount has been paid.
Once the application is submitted, the procedure is initiated. The land registry will contact the relevant authority of the issuance of the building permit. If the property is built in a municipality, then the relevant authority is the municipality itself. If the property is built in a village, then the authority in charge is the District Office of the district in which the village belongs.
The land registry will request from the said authorities to provide them the certificate of final approval. If the said certificate is not available, then the relevant authority will initiate the procedure for the issuance of the certificate of final approval. They will contact the developing company and request to provide them any missing plans in regards to the project at land. If the developing company does not respond then the relevant authority will investigate whether the project or the property at hand was built according to the conditions of the planning permit.
If the investigation proves that the conditions of the planning permission were met, then the relevant authority issues the certificate of final approval. If the investigation proves that one or more conditions were not in implemented, then a certificate of final approval with notes is issued. The notes will describe which conditions of the planning permission were not in implemented.
There are cases were even if the planning permission was implemented totally, a single buyer or many buyers made amendments on their properties. For example, they built a pergola, or they accommodate a swimming pool etc. In such scenario, a certificate of final approval with notes is issued. The notes will concern only these properties.
Once the certificate of final approval (either with notes or not) is issued, then it is sent to the land registry office. Accordingly, the land registry office will proceed with the separation of the project into units and issue the separate title deed of each unit. The time needed for the issuance of the separate title deed depends on the cooperation of the developing company. If there is no cooperation, then the land registry will act alone. Any cost involved it will be responsibility of the developing company and a relevant charge will be imposed onto the developing company’s immovable properties. Furthermore, the time needed for the issuance of the title deed depends also on the size of the project.
Sooner or later the procedure will be completed, and the separate title deed will be issued. If the certificate of final approval was with notes, then the title deed issued it will be with notes too.
When the separate title deed is issued, the director of the land registry will send a letter to all parties involved, informing them that the title deed is available and ready to be transferred into the name of the trapped buyer.
Parties involved are the developing company (the vendors), or the banking institution if there is a mortgage or any other third party which may had filed a memo (a court decision against the developing company) on the land upon the project was built. If any possible mortgage or memo was filed after the deposition of the contract of sale is legally insignificant therefor the notifications are sent only to those parties should have filed any encumbrances before the deposition of the contract of sale at hand. Those third parties at this stage have the right to file an objection in relation to the transfer of the title deed into the name of the buyer/applicant within 45 days. If any objection is filed within 45 days, the Land Registry must examine the objection and then decide whether it is accepted or rejected. In case the objection is rejected, the seller and the buyer have 60 days in which to transfer the title to the buyer.
Developing companies file objections in case there are outstanding amounts to be paid in regards to immovable property tax and sewerage fees. Banks may file objections in case the mortgage is not paid. As we discussed in other article, banks consent now the issuance of the title deed even if the mortgage is settle or not.
After the above-described procedure is completed, a letter by the director of the land registry is sent to the buyer/applicant informing him that he is ready to transfer the title deed into the name of the buyer/applicant. With the said letter the land registry will request from the buyer/applicant to provide to the land registry clearances from the tax department, the sewerage board and the municipality or community council that there is nothing outstanding.
Finally, the director of the land registry will schedule a particular date and time for the buyer/applicant to transfer the title deed in his name provided that the transfer fees (if any) are paid.
If the title deed is with notes the title deed will be transferred into the name of the buyer/applicant with notes. It depends from the certificate of final approval as discussed above.
There are two categories of tittle deed with notes. In the first category the title deed is transferable and mortgageable. In the second category it can only be transferred into first degree relatives.
A title deed with notes can be cleared as follows:
- If the note concerns the failure of the construction of a public road or the green area or public parking, then the relevant municipality or district office will evaluate the work needed to be done in order for the above to be constructed. Then they attribute the cost according to the number of units. After that, every buyer/applicant can pay this certain amount and the said municipality or district office will notify the land registry to remove the notice.
- If the notice concerns a note for additions or alterations, then buyer should file an application for planning and building permits in order to legalize those additions or alterations (if of course can be legalized). Then similarly the relevant municipality or district office will notify the land registry.
- If the notice concerns the trespassing of the property in a neighboring land, then the case is more difficult. In this scenario the problem should be solved first.
A significant number of individuals have taken advantage of this law and have already submitted their applications to the Department of Lands. According to the Administration of the Department of Lands and Surveys, the process of transferring property to the buyers through the implementation of the relevant legislation has been finalized for over 8 000 trapped buyers as at June 2020, while the transfer process is expected to be completed for another 2 000 trapped buyers in the next months.
Loucas P. Louca