Govt ready to table law protecting legal personnel participating in property auctions

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 08:46

The justice ministry is reportedly ready to table an amendment foreseeing the automatic prosecution of anyone blocking or attempting to block auctions of foreclosed property in the country, in the face of demands by creditors to reduce the "mountain" of bad debt in Greece and a decision by notaries' associations to abstain from the process until the end of the year.

The latter have cited violence against notaries who attempted to participate in such auctions.

If passed into law, authorities can arrest and subsequently prosecute offenders without the victims needing to file a complaint or lawsuit. 

As previously reported, the pending draft amendment will also foreseen stepped up security at local or district courts (eirinodikia) where property auctions are held, usually on Wednesdays.

Auctions of foreclosed property have been blocked for months after a previous moratorium was lifted. Protesters often show up at courts or at private notary offices, while at other times notaries' associations call on members to abstain from auctions.

Over recent weeks, upscale properties and commercial real estate controlled by individuals or companies with millions of euros in arrears to banks and the state have avoided the auction block after the process was prevented.

A ballooning figure associated with non-performing loans (NPLs) in the country has generated repeated warnings by creditors and local lenders.

Notaries in Greece are law school graduates who specialize in drawing up contracts, wills and in maintaining a registry of land deed contracts and transfers, while their presence is a legal necessity at auctions of foreclosed real estate.

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