Forestry arbitrary buildings: Spare the demolition with... 250 euros

Forestry arbitrary buildings: Spare the demolition with... 250 euros

In March, the platform at the Land Registry opens for the submission of forest arbitrary buildings to the regularization procedure. This is what the Secretary General of Forests Konstantinos Aravosis says, speaking to “NEA”.

As he says, the owners of these properties with the payment of an electronic deposit of 250 euros achieve – at this stage – temporary exemption from demolition, immediate suppression of fines imposed, freezing of new fines, but also offset in cases of settled arbitrary.

At this point it should be clarified that after inclusion in the platform, the rights will be checked by the forest protection departments of the forestry offices with territorial jurisdiction to ensure that the conditions set by the law are met.

Settlement for 30 years

Subsequently, and for the buildings that are found to comply with the conditions, it is envisaged that a Presidential Decree will be issued to regularize them for 30 years. In the event that during the final ratification of the forest map their property is exempted from forest legislation and it is confirmed that it is not forest, then and only then, it is envisaged for the owners to be reimbursed for fees and fines paid.

One million owners

It should be noted that this regulation does not concern individual arbitrary buildings but concentrations of arbitrary buildings that “in fact” present a functional unity in forests and woodlands (so-called “residential densities”). It is estimated that the issue concerns – at least – one million owners.

The conditions for a building to be settled within a forest area (according to Law 4685/2020) are: the use of the building must be residential, permanent or seasonal. The dwelling must have been erected before 27 July 2011. It must not be located in areas where nature or landscape protection provisions apply, such as the Natura 2000 network, Ramsar wetlands, etc., unless it was constructed before the designation of these areas. In addition, it must not be located in an archaeological site of zone A, a historic site, a historic listed settlement and an area of outstanding natural beauty, unless it was built before the archaeological zone was declared, provided that building was not prohibited.

Furthermore, it must not be located on public land. Not located in a coastal zone (and old coastal zone). Not located within a beach zone, not built in a stream, critical coastal zone or protected area (if any building work was prohibited at the time of construction) and not located in declared reforestation areas due to fire.

The supporting documents

Those who have submitted a request for correction of a manifest error in the forest map, objections, a request for annulment or any other administrative or legal remedy contesting that their property is forested will also be entitled to apply on the platform.

Interested parties should be aware that the following documents are included (in pdf format) in the application to be submitted (via the Land Registry’s online platform): a signed declaration stating that the information submitted is true. An engineer’s declaration (signed) certifying the description of the dwelling and the accompanying structures.

If applicable, they should include the request for correction of manifest error or objection against the forest map. The proof of issuance of the payment of the electronic fee and a photocopy of the identity card/passport.

The two red lines

The issue of so-called residential densities concerns, as mentioned above, at least one million owners throughout the country who have buildings in forests and woodlands.

Two main red lines are being drawn, according to sources familiar with the issue, on the way to their settlement: the structures must not be isolated, but must be located within residential densities and must not have been built after July 2021.

It should be noted that in April 2019, the Plenum of the State Council ruled that a provision of the law exempting from the posting of forest maps the areas where residential densities have been developed, and not to have been built after 27 July 2021, was unconstitutional.