Govt eyeing options for resumption of foreclosed property auctions; protests, abstentions have blocked process

Wednesday, 08 November 2017 10:51
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The Greek government appears ready to ensure the holding of auctions of foreclosed properties and the safety of notaries, after another round of pressure by creditors this week to finally resume the process and a decision by associations representing the latter to abstain from auctions until the end of the year.

Weekly (Wednesday) auctions of foreclosed property, with lien holders usually being creditor banks or the state, have been blocked or interrupted for months, with protesters often showing up at local courts and notaries' offices - where auctions are held - or with notaries being prevented from attending.

Notaries in Greece are law school graduates who specialize in drawing up contracts, wills and real estate transactions, as well as keeping a personal registry of property deeds and transfers.

Several attempts to auction off property held by prominent business-people, and even bankrupt companies over the recent period, has also been blocked.

A meeting is set on Wednesday between the leadership of associations representing notaries and the justice ministry, with the latter reportedly considering the tabling of a bill reinforcing legal protection during the auction process.

Holding such auctions only at local courts, instead of private offices, is also being considered.

The prospect of resuming the auctioning off of foreclosed property - for major arrears and not debtors' primary residences - is judged as utterly crucial for assisting Greece's thrice recapitalized banks in lower the level of "bad debt" they hold, with NPLs in the country hovering between the 90- and 100-billion-euros mark in value.

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