Question: There are rumours that the law in Greece is going to change regarding the minimum area of land required to build a house. At present in Pelion you need a minimum of 4000 m2.to build a house outside the village
boundary. We now hear that this minimum is to be increased, but we cannot find out when or by how much. Is the Greek planning law national, or does it vary locally? Will the relevant authorities have to give notice of any impending change? We are concerned that the land we have just bought (4800 m2) may be deemed too small to build on before we have had time to get planning permission. We have found it almost impossible to get any firm information about this.
Answer: Laws regarding building outside village/town limits change all the time and what is the law in one area of Greece may not be applicable in another part. Some areas in Greece already have a law stipulating that the plot size must be over 4000 m2.
So, when anyone is buying a plot, it is necessary to know:
a) Where the plot is located
b) How big it is and for this, ensure you have a signed topographic survey and are not relying on rumours or verbal information.
c) The date of the creation of the specific plot, i.e. the date that the plot legally started to exist as an independent property.
If you are buying through a reliable local estate agent, they should be able to give all this information, in writing. If you are buying privately, then ensure you have a topographic survey, prepared and signed by a reliable architect. This topographic survey will be attached to your contract of purchase and is a legal document.
Question: I have heard from a local hotelier that it is illegal
to rent our villa in Agistri (near Aegina) without approval from the Greek Tourist Authority. Is he right or just trying to keep our villa from being competition to his hotel?
Answer: Throughout Greece, the law stands that if you are renting out a property, you need to:
a) Declare it at the tax office, because of the income from the rental. A local accountant can assist you with this.
b) If you are renting it out officially as a holiday business and are not just having family and friends staying there at your own hospitality, you will not only have to declare it at the tax office, as above, but also apply for approval from the E.O.T, which is the Greek Tourist Authority.
Question: We are currently in the process of completing the purchase of some land in Zykynthos on which we intend to build a traditional stone house. I am aware that under UK regulations if you register for VAT on a self build project you can reclaim the VAT on completion. Given that Greece is part of the EEC would this still apply to us?
Answer: The system is very different here in Greece. At the end of the project, you will need to apply to the local Tax Office and prove that you have paid the 18% VAT. Only registered companies can reclaim the VAT, not private individuals.
Question: My wife and I are planning to relocate to the beautiful Greek island of Siphnos in the Cyclades. While our property is being built we are considering whether to ship most of our belongings to Siphnos or to drive them there ourselves. We have about the size of a Transit Van of stuff and having the flexibility of stopping when we want and delivering the stuff to our door inclines us towards driving. Cost is obviously a factor and having to return all across the Aegean, the Adriatic and most of Europe with an empty van might work it out too expensive. Have any of your readers faced this dilemma before? Can you advise please?
Answer: This might be a rather extravagant way of taking your belongings over when you consider the cost of petrol for a three to four day drive plus ferry tickets and places to stay overnight en-route with meals and so on – and then to repeat the exercise taking your van back again. It would be much cheaper to ship your belongings. As you do not have enough to fill a whole container, you can inform the shipping company that you want to share a container and they will match you with like minded people. This way you only pay part of the shipping costs. It’s is a good option if you are not constrained by time as you can wait until a space is available. However, if you are considering it as a pleasure trip and holiday combined with a way of taking your things to Siphnos it would be a lovely trip to make.
Question: I am purchasing a piece of land on the Greek island of Zakynthos. I have opened a Greek bank account, but the authorities have said that it I a requirement to prove that the money I am using to pay for the land has been legally taxed. I have been on the telephone with the Inland Revenue, who have only advised me to take some previous years’ P60’s with me. What documents do I need and will the P60’s in question be sufficient? I can’t be the only one asked to provide this kind of proof?
Answer: You are required to prove that the money with which you are buying a property in Greece is legally taxed, only if you are a resident in Greece and are registered for tax in Greece. If you are still a resident in your own country and pay tax there and your home in Greece is a holiday home only, you just need to show the receipts issued by the Greek bank that the money was sent to Greece from outside the country.