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Rights and registration

Rights

What types of holding right over real estate are acknowledged by law in your jurisdiction?

Greek law establishes a finite number of rights in rem in respect of immovable property – namely:

  • ownership;
  • easements (including personal easements and easements in rem – notably, usufruct); and
  • mortgages.

Special laws may introduce variations of these rights in respect of specific types of property or territories.

Rights of usage and possession of real property may take the form of in personam (contractual) rights, including leases.

Are rights to land and buildings on the land legally separable?

Landowners also own any building thereon. However, exceptions apply, most notably rights to horizontal or vertical ownership and the so-called ‘surface right’, which applies to certain types of public property and grants rights similar to ownership exclusively for buildings thereon.

Which parties may hold and exercise rights over real estate? Are there restrictions on foreign ownership of property?

Both natural and legal persons may hold and exercise rights over real estate. Foreign ownership is generally permitted. A special government permit is required for persons that are nationals of or seated in jurisdictions other than EU or European Free Trade Association member states in respect of rights in rem and contractual rights in properties located in designated border areas (considerable parts of Greece’s territory are designated as such).

How are rights, encumbrances and other interests over real estate prioritised?

Rights in rem are prioritised by order of registration with the competent land registry or cadastral office. In the case of conflicting rights established over the same property, the right that was registered first supersedes all subsequently registered rights.

In the case of enforcement and insolvency proceedings, creditors equipped with an in rem right (eg, a mortgage) benefit from a general preference under applicable law, although this is subject to exceptions.

Registration

Must real estate rights, interests and transactions be registered in your jurisdiction? What are the legal effects of registration?

Registration is a precondition for the valid establishment and transfer of real estate rights. Such rights are registered with the competent local public registry (ie, the land registry or cadastral office). Registration is generally not required for the establishment or transfer of contractual rights. However, exceptions apply, including notably long-term leases (over nine years).

What are the procedural and documentary requirements for entry into the national real estate register(s)? Can registration be completed electronically?

The documents required for registration with the competent land registry or cadastral office generally include the title deed and a summary thereof, as well as a registration application (additional requirements may apply). Registration cannot be completed electronically.

What information is recorded in the national real estate register(s) and to what extent is such information publicly available?

The minimum information recorded in the national real estate register includes a description of the land allowing its identification and the respective rights holder’s personal information. Additional information may also be recorded (eg, the valid establishment of a mortgage requires specification of the secured claims and the amount for which such security is registered).

Land registry searches are conducted (typically by lawyers) by reference to the identity of the rights holder, while cadastral office searches are conducted by reference to the land plot. Citizens may request the issuance of certificates regarding existing in rem rights over immovable property.

Is there a state guarantee of title?

The legal effects of registration differ between land registries and cadastral offices. Where a land registry is competent, registration does not afford a presumption of legality, whereas a final cadastral entry gives rise to a non-rebuttable presumption as to the identity of the first recorded in rem right holder.

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