A decision of the Greek Supreme Court (StE) causes turmoil in the off-plan property development.

One more obstacle is added to the ability to construct buildings on off-plan plots. This time, the obstacle to the residential exploitation of this category of properties comes from a decision of the Greek Supreme Court (StE).

Specifically, according to decision 176/2023 of the Plenary Session of the StE, it was judged that in the off-plan area, and even within the Residential Control Zone (ZOE), the existence of a facade in a communal space (street) is required in addition to the minimum area to construct a property. With the above decision, the annulment of a building permit for a specific property was ratified, which did not have access to a registered communal road.

Naturally, the above decision caused enormous upheaval in the real estate market for this category of properties, with a "freeze" on their purchases and sales, the postponement of a significant number of investments, which are subject to the development law, and the probable delay in the approval of building permits by the competent building offices, until the issue is resolved with the issuance of clarifying circulars by the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

One decisive factor in the issue is the lack of characterizing communal roads per Municipal Unit. Last year, the Ministry of Environment and Energy established the specifications for drafting studies on the existing network throughout the country in areas outside the town planning schemes, beyond the boundaries of settlements, etc., which, as we understand, will take time...

Until the above studies are completed, what will happen remains unclear. There have been strong reactions from representatives of collective organizations of engineers and real estate owners. An exciting opinion has also been expressed (by Antonis Katsigiannis, Agronomist, Topographer, and Engineer at the National Technical University of Athens) that the decision of the Council of State is contrary to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.

For now, decision 176/2023 of the Supreme Court comes to overturn small and large investment plans, cast doubt on the legality of already approved building permits, and undermine the existing legal framework for off-plan construction.

We hope that the State will take immediate legislative initiatives to solve the issue, affecting many of our fellow citizens who have found themselves at a dead end.

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