Tenant protection laws are neutral
May 30, 2006
Rents: Can landlord and tenant freely agree rents in Greece?
Rents are freely negotiable between the tenant and the landlord. Any percentage annual rent increase must be specified in the contract, as must the 3.6% stamp duty.
Model contracts distributed by the Hellenic Property Federation (POMIDA) can be used.
Every rental agreement is, in principle, valid. But if in the course of the years financial conditions change (the rents in the area get cheaper or more expensive) the courts are empowered to adjust rents to an appropriate level, based on evidence presented by the two parties.
There is no maximum deposit.
What rights do landlords and tenants have in Greece, especially as to duration of contract, and eviction?
All residential rentals have a minimum legal duration of three years. If a contract for a lesser period is negotiated, the three years period applies to the landlord, but not to the tenant. A contract for three years or longer terminates automatically at the end of the contract period, without need for notice.
When renting a house for a temporary period (e.g. a holiday home or furnished property), the landlord is free to stipulate a shorter period. The landlord and tenant write in the contract that the use of the house will be for summer holidays or for temporary residence. The statement must be true, i.e. the house must really be being used for holiday use (near the sea, a mountain etc., and used mainly during the holidays) and/or the tenant must actually be using the house as a temporary residence.
The tenant cannot transfer his tenancy right to anyone else, except in case of his death, when his immediate family can either continue the tenancy, or denounce it.
Breach of contract and non-payment of rent constitute grounds for eviction. An eviction procedure before the court usually lasts for 8-12 months. A faster eviction procedure for non-paying tenants was adopted in 1997, and enhanced in 2001. The owner sends a notice to the tenant asking for payment of all due rent. If there is no full payment within a month, a request is submitted to the judge to order the eviction of the tenant. There is no court procedure. The judge's order is executed after 20 days. In practice the new procedure lasts 2 ½ months.
For rental contracts to be legally enforceable, they must be registered at the Revenue Service within 30 days of signature, and the annual rent must be declared in the tax return.
EVICTION FOR NON-PAYMENT OF RENT
|Duration until completion of service of process||32|
|Duration of trial||35|
|Duration of enforcement||180|
|Total Days to Evict Tenant||247|
|Courts: The Lex Mundi Project|
How effective is the Greek legal system?
The legal system in Greece can be painfully slow, as suggested by these Lex Mundi figures.
The Greek Civil Code enacted in 1945 is the main basis of Greek property law, especially Arts. 574-618. Statute 1703/87 supplemented this at the beginning of the 1980s, but was allowed to lapse on June 30th 1997. What survived was the 3 years minimum rules on contract duration, and the rules on rental adjustment.