Transitional regulation for off-plan building

Aspasia Athinaiou
January 11, 2024

Table of Contents

The 10 SOS for owners

A matter of days is the filing of the transitional regulation for off-plan building on plots of more than four acres, without a “face” on a common road recognized by urban planning, which will apply until the urban planning is completed.

It is to be presented to the forthcoming Cabinet, then consulted on, and immediately thereafter come before Parliament. The aim of the Ministry of Environment and Energy is to give a breathing space to thousands of owners who have been “tied up” to date, and therefore the final draft submitted for voting will be in line with the jurisprudence of the Council of State, in order to avoid new appeals and annulment decisions in the future.

The ministry also seeks for this transitional arrangement to be the last one until the completion of urban planning, namely the Local and Special Urban Plans, which are currently underway funded with more than 400 million euros through the Recovery and Resilience Fund and are expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

The new regulation

The three basic requirements for obtaining a building permit for off-plan land are:

  • The existence of the road to serve the properties to be shown on aerial photographs prior to July 27, 1977.
  • Roads on which the land has a “face” must be at least 10 feet wide.
  • Owners to pay a special building permit fee as an environmental equivalent provision.

The special fee, the amount of which will be determined by a ministerial decision, will be deposited before the issuance of a building permit in a special account of the Deposits and Loans Fund and will be allocated exclusively for infrastructure and climate change adaptation projects within the administrative boundaries of the municipality where the land is located.

Through the new regulation, it is possible to build on legal land (plots) of at least four hectares, outside the urban land-use plans of cities or outside the boundaries of legally existing settlements, if they belong to one of the following categories of plots, depending on the time of creation and the “face” they have on the street:

  1. Land created between 31 May 1985 and 31 December 2003. In order to be built on, they must have a “face” or one of their boundaries must have a length of at least 3.5 metres adjacent to a road that.) Appears on aerial photographs prior to 27 July 1977 and is at least 3.5 metres wide. 2) It connects with an international, provincial, municipal or community road or abandoned parts thereof. 3) It must have been opened by a decision of a State body, or be registered in the land registers, or have been paved by an authority or body responsible for road maintenance and improvement, or have a public utility network running through it.

  2. Land created before 1985. In order for these plots to be buildable, they must have a “face” or have one of their boundaries abutting a road of at least 3.5 metres in length that.) 1. appears on aerial photographs prior to 27 July 1977, is at least 3.5 metres wide and has been opened by a decision of a state body, or is registered as “E.C.” (special area), or it has been paved by an authority responsible for road maintenance and improvement, or it is crossed by a public utility network. 2) Plots that can be built on are also those that have a legal easement of a passage, prior to ’85, with a width of at least 3.5 meters, which is connected to an international, provincial, municipal or community road or abandoned parts thereof.

According to the regulation proposed by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, compliance with the conditions for building is not required:

  • Land created prior to 31.05.1985 for which there are valid pre-approvals of building permits or building permits or revisions thereof issued prior to the entry into force of this Act. Such building permits and pre-approvals may be revised after the entry into force of this Act without the above conditions having to be met.
  • Land created before 31.05.1985 that were the subject of legal transactions with an onerous cause, which were concluded in the last five years and the relevant notarial deed states that the land is complete and buildable.

In cases where a request has been submitted in due time, as provided for in par. 1 of article 40 of Law 4759/2020.

  • The existence of the prescribed conditions will be proven by any appropriate means and all the relevant evidence will be obligatorily entered during the application for pre-approval or confirmation of building conditions in the information system “e-Permits” by the administrator of the application and will be obligatorily referred to in the engineer’s statement on the relevant topographical diagram.

Thousands of owners who have bought properties outside the plan and cannot use them are waiting for the decision of the Council of State which prohibits building on plots of land that lack a “face” on a recognised public road. However, over 95% of roads are not recognized, even those built and maintained by municipalities.

To resolve this issue, the Ministry of Environment and Energy has worked out a transitional solution, which is expected to be submitted to Parliament in the next few months.

However, the issue is a big one and the conditions that are constantly being put in place with the Local Urban Plans and the designation of the public road network are actually leading to a blockade of off-plan building.

The result is that the right to build is restricted, even abolished, without the State’s obligation to compensate.

Great insecurity prevails among prospective property buyers and investors, because they fear that the money they will give for the purchase of a plot of land may be wasted, because there is no digital map that includes the statutory urban planning provisions and lines such as: beaches and beaches, archaeological sites, recognized common areas, forest areas, city plan amendments, General Urban Plan, etc.

Thus, a citizen may, for example, have bought a property two years ago as even and buildable and today cannot issue a building permit or operating licence because the building conditions or permitted land uses in the area have changed.

Citizens should be well informed about the latest general and area-specific planning regulations, because a building permit may not be issued for a number of reasons, such as:

  1. A Spatial or Urban Plan has been adopted in the Area (Regional Spatial Plan or General Urban Plan, SPSP or Local Spatial Plan), which may have abolished the derogations or increased the integrity limits or reduced the Building Coefficient.
  2. Adjacent to archaeological sites or located in a protection zone where building is prohibited.
  3. Adjacent to a stream that has not been delineated, because its delineation will be required. Caution, because building of any structure near a stream is allowed at a distance of at least 20 meters.
  4. Adjacent to a seashore and beach whose boundary lines have not been defined and when building, the building must be “pulled back” at least 30 meters for a residence and 50 meters for a hotel.
  5. Be located in a Residential Control Zone (SCZ) and increased integrity limits, reduced building density or restrictions on permitted uses have been established.
  6. Be located on land of high productivity, where any other activity is prohibited, except for farming and the production of electricity from renewable energy plants.
  7. To be located close to public utility poles or a radio mast base or mobile phone antenna, for reasons of safe exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
  8. To be located in a NATURA area (areas for the conservation of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna), because after March 2011 10 hectares are required.
  9. To be located in a RAMSAR area (areas close to wetlands, of great ecological importance) or other protection networks for biodiversity conservation or Special Protection Areas.
  10. Be located in an area where the forest map has been ratified and designated as forest land.

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