Learn About Ktimatologio or Lose Your Property
Christos Iliopoulos, 17 June 2008

>The Ktimatologio is a modern and better organized Hypothykophylakion, or public registry for titles of all kinds of immovable property in Greece.

The Ktimatologio office is a data base of legal and technical information and descriptions for the accurate assessment of real estate property in Greece. The Ktimatologion ensures legal security and certainty regarding immovable property rights and obligations, so that every person of good faith is protected if he/she gives faith to the Ktimatologio registrations.

Not every place in Greece has a Ktimatologio office yet. In fact, most towns and villages in Greece still have their Hypothykophylakion, which is the old public registry, an office which, despite its shortcomings, has ensured and continues to ensure everybody's rights over immovable property.

However, there are many Ktimatologio offices around Greece and they multiply over time. As a first step, the Ktimatologio office operates alongside the Hypothykophylakion in the same area. There are places, though, in Greece, where the Ktimatologion has been organized up to its final stage (like in Chalkida, or some places in the greater Athens area). In those areas, every transaction, sale, acquisition, mortgage etc. over real estate is registered only in the Ktimatologio and not in the Hypothykophylakion of the area. Any title search done by a lawyer for this area is done at the Hypothykophylakion for the past on up to the present and at the Ktimatologio from the time it started operating on into the future.

"You may discover that your property has been registered as the 'property of unknown owner' [or] . . . .under the name of another person. . ."

In the areas where the Ktimatologio is fully operative it is deemed that all pieces of real estate of all natural and legal persons within the limits of that particular Ktimatologio are already registered. In theory, all real estate owners of that area have already declared and registered their property with the local Ktimatologio.

In reality, however, there are thousands of pieces of real estate (lands, lots, apartments/condominiums, houses, undivided properties, inheritances, etc.) which have not been registered with the new Ktimatologio. Now, the situation regarding those undeclared properties can be either that nobody has declared them so far, or that trespassers have declared them as being their own property (worst case scenario).Those transgressors are attempting to take advantage of the lack of information of the real owners and are trying to make these 'forgotten" properties illegally theirs, but under the legal veil of Ktimatologio.

So, the real danger is in those cases where the so-called 'first registrations" in Ktimatologion have been completed. If you are the owner of property in an area where the Ktimatologio first registrations are operative, and you have not yet registered your rights, you may discover that your property has been registered as the 'property of unknown owner". In this case, you have the right to file a lawsuit action at the courts, technically against the Organization of Ktimatologion, in order to prove that the property in question is rightfully yours and that it should be registered with Ktimatologio under your name. In such a case the Organization of Ktimatologion is not really your adversary, but you file this lawsuit in order to register your property, even belatedly.

If, on the other hand, you discover that your property has been registered in the new Ktimatologio of the area under the name of another person (private person or legal entity), your lawsuit must be filed against and served to that person, so that, again, you prove before the court that the particular piece of real estate is yours and not theirs.

In both case the time limit to file the lawsuit action is five (5) years from the time that the Ktimatologion office has started its full and exclusive operation in the area. If your residence is outside Greece, then this time limit is seven (7) years.

If the time limits pass without you filing the proper lawsuit, then you automatically lose your property rights over the immovable property and you only retain the right to claim fiscal compensation for the real estate you lost for good.

Christos Iliopoulos is an attorney at law, LL.M., in Athens, who specialises in International and European Business Law. For more information about him, see here