By GEORGE ATHANASIADIS
email: athanasiadis.g @ hotmail.com
Tel:+ 61411224189, +302102758568, +306944627076
The adverse possession in force in Greece
What ever usually ask me the Greek immigrants, by all the Greek communities abroad, is:
"I’ve got a property in Greece in the village and a cousin (brother, uncle or any close relative) it has been so many years now, haven t receive a mousteile oil, I have not got any money, but he grows my property …. Will he finally “ get” my domain?
The law in Greece says that if for at least 20 years time you’ve got the possession of a property, you gain ownership of it. Possession means that you have a natural dominating, that means the possession of the property, but with intellect as you were the owner, you believe that the property is yours and you do exactly what the real owner would do of that property that is like, the ban on third the fencing, cultivation, planting, gathering fruit. Additionally, you declare it to the taxation, to the government maps, the topography, you pay taxes for it, generally do any act that would make the real owner of the property, if it is an urban property (house, shop, apartment) you pay the bills, taxes, etc. The physic domination of the property itself, without the master mind, is not sufficient for adverse possession. What it this mean? For example, when someone rents a property , the lessee (tenant) of the property has the possession of it, based on the contractual relationship that is the lease of this property, but not the master mind, knowing that the property doesn’t belong to him, because it belongs to the lessor (owner). Owner’s mind, very simply is the attitude and feeling that what I do having a physical power on the property, and if no one bothers me for many many years, to an extent that many times me that I engaged the adverse possession over the years I don not know or have forgotten the ownership of that property.
So when someone, even a squatter of a property, shows that for over than 20 years have had all these powers on the property and no one, not even the real owner has bothered him about the 20 years at least, he is able to become the owner of the property by extraordinary adverse possession and of course this is nothing but rebuttable presumption unquestionably in front of the courts, that means somebody never loses the right to claim property that is violated. Generally we need to know and we particularly emphasize that EVERY CASE HAS ITS DIFFERENCE FROM OTHER SIMILAR ONES AND FROM ALL THESE GRAPHICS HERE IS GENERAL, but each time must be given to us as lawyers those elements that each person has, to get answers he wants, abouot his case.
When there are two co-owners (co-owned an undivided property usual known in Greece as adelfomeridia or syngenomeridia) what’s really going on?
When we are co-owners, with “adelfomeridia” mainly by legacies undivided, or even wills defining what the one will get what the other or what undivided two or three or more, for someone to get in adverse possession all the property, it’s need an additional condition, which is not required when somebody occupies a foreign land, where there is no joint ownership percentage. This additional requirement is that the person who is to acquire a property by adverse possession must first explicitly or by his actions to the other joint owner, to make known (notice)
that such that co-owner begins from now on to pursue possession throughout the property enter words to consider as a whole own, acting the possession instead of the remaining owners.
In this case the remaining co-owners have at their disposal 20 years since they will be notified by the co-owner, the misuse of their possession, to exercise all their rights lawsuits and claims to court to claim the property either the property is home or apartment.
This is clearly and always by letter: For example, one co-owner of a property (a land of olive trees in Corfu) in percentage ownership ½ undivided who permanently lives in Corfu, sends a letter to his brother who lives in Australia and has the other ½ undivided, that he has to forget the estate because it is only his own and cultivate and care while the other is away in Australia, there is no toils and other such similar, sometimes he says the economic situation of immigrants is better and therefore the Greekaustralian does not need this property.
Brother in Australia since he received the letter, this notice, has 20 years time (deadline) to claim the ½ that belongs to him and the other brother goes to the "eat" it. The other now who lives in Corfu can not rely on acquisition by adverse possession because for many years before the notice used to cultivate the domain because for those years had possession as a representative of his brother co-owner inAustralia.
This can be done explicitly as above but implicitly, which is the most insidious and the immigrants don’t know, do not react and ultimately lose their land. If, for example one brother, repeatedly refuses to send half of the oil yearly production to the other brother, despite constant reminders of the immigrant brother, if he builds a house with his own money without asking the immigrant brother on the common land and give him no key, may be seen that there was notification, given to projects with more than words, misuse of possession by one brother against another and the absence of any reaction by the immigrant brother. A de facto situation has been created at the expense of the immigrant brother.
If now the heirs (usually many) are split between them “a ratio”, as is customary (informal distribution) so that everyone has acquired the possession of specific property, on which, according to their agreement (informal distribution), has full 100% ownership, such as the above notice is not required for him to get a special title (20-year allocation) adverse possession, because that old distribution had been playing somehow the role of disclosure. This means that the brother of an immigrant, as any adverse possession, is required to behave as a possessor undisturbed for 20 years to "eat" the land of the immigrant
Of course, all this need for disclosure has been added by the Court of Cassation, which mean that can be changed and amended as appropriate.