Greek Court Questions Illegal Property Scheme

authereta2312013Greeks who’ve paid penalties to the government for building homes without permits – in return for which they were allowed to save them from demolition – are in limbo after the Council of State, the country’s highest court, said it’s going to rule on whether the scheme is constitutional.

The country’s highest administrative court said that the government’s action was unlawful.

The Environment Ministry, which launched the first of these schemes in 2011, assured homeowners who have paid penalties to ensure that their homes are protected from demolition, as part of the process to put the properties “in order,” that they will not be affected by the ruling. It said that they would be included in a new framework being developed for illegal properties.

“Citizens who have made use of the provisions in the 2011 law will be included in the provisions of the new law as the penalties they have paid will be offset against any new obligations,” said the ministry.

More than 500,000 properties have either been through these schemes or are in the process of doing so. This has raised almost 800 million euros ($1.049 billion) for the government by the end of February. About 530 million euros ($695.25 million) ame from penalties and the rest from processing fees that applicants had to pay.