Measure for 'semi-outdoor' spaces falls foul of civil engineers in town planning offices

Civil engineers in town planning offices on Monday announced that they will stop processing all applications concerning the measures giving an 'amnesty' for the illegal conversion of building features to other uses, initially until the end of February.

The measures concern millions of buildings throughout Greece with building code violations such as conversion of so-called 'semi-outdoor' spaces to interior spaces, loft conversions or the conversion of basements into main living areas.

Their union said that the deadlines set by the government could not be met with the staff currently available at town planning departments and the "administrative chaos" that followed implementation of the Kallikratis plan for local government mergers.

No backdated fees for 'semi-outdoor spaces'

The imposition of backdated fees on previously undeclared “semi-outdoor spaces” is eliminated without any exception through a legislative regulation sponsored by the interior ministry to be voted in parliament was announced on Monday.

The legislative regulation will settle once and for all the issue that arose following an interior ministry circular issued last week that gave municipal authorities the power to backdate municipal rates on previously undeclared “semi-outdoor spaces”.

The existence of thousands of such illegally enclosed building features - known in Greece by the shorthand “semi-outdoor spaces” and usually the “handiwork” of contractors wishing to offer bigger apartments to buyers - was recently revealed when owners took advantage of a measure allowing them to “maintain” illegal building conversions for 40 years by paying a lump sum.

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