Legal Compliance

Every piece of property whether it is a building or unbuilt land is subject to rules that specify construction size, type, design and structural characteristics based on location and intended use. These rules are outlined by the official “Building Code” in each country and failure to comply can lead to fines, suspension of construction works, severe financial loses and in certain cases to demolition. Another layer of legal complexity is formed by the fact that in certain areas other authorities may impose limitations on construction possibilities (or operational) ranging from environmental organizations to public authorities protecting archeological sites. Yet, to complicate matters even further, every commercial property is also subject to state imposed operational directives while legal operating permits need to be issued prior to any commercial business takes place and that also means compliance with Health & Safety regulations that in certain scenarios extend beyond building design and layout.

Metrax, is deeply experienced in the field of property legal compliance and operating licensing with core team members possessing more than 30 years’ experience in complex projects in the sectors of health, education, hospitality, retail, F&B and industrial spaces in Greece and abroad. Through our people, clients receive sound advice, avoid risky decisions and benefit from reduced lead times completing their projects on time and successfully having piece of mind that they have received the optimal solution. Especially for commercial projects, doing things right from the beginning means highly productive usage of resources, faster flow of income and reduced costs. From Building Code compliance, sustainability certificates, commercial operations permits, safety policies and management of certification processes such as TUV, ISO or HASP through our Turn-Key solutions, our clients can truly reap the benefits of our integrated services approach and avoid legal implications that might put their core objectives to risk.


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Due Diligence - Legal Status & Settlements

The Greek property market is characterized by a high degree of Building Code deviations in the actual constructions compared to the officially approved drawings of the Building Permit. For this reason, new legislature has gradually been introduced during the last two decades, gradually escalating to higher scrutiny levels and today being imperative that for every transaction related to a building, a legal status certificate of compliance be issued by a registered engineer. Neither a notary nor the tax authorities will accept submissions for rentals or purchases of a building without this certificate. Additionally, for a limited timeframe, currently up to 2015, the state offers the opportunity for legal settlement of certain construction deviations from the code, conditionally, through a specific procedure and the deposition of a per-case occurring monetary sum payable to the local tax authority.

It is important, that all property owners contact a certified civil engineer or firm and request that their property is being checked and prepared for possible settlement. Beyond the expiry of the latest settlement law, they run a risk of being confronted with high fines and even demolitions of parts or entire structures in the future. Yet, it should be noted, that due to the uniqueness of each settlement case and varying building characteristics it is impossible to produce any general guidelines. The only recommended course of action, is a meeting with a registered engineer to check the building and compare it to its building permit and current legislature in order to produce the appropriate piece of advice. Metrax, is very experienced with property legislature and closely monitoring any developments in this field on a daily basis.

Furthermore, apart from construction related legal issues, the state now requires that a sustainability audit signed by a certified engineer, accompanies every transaction concerning property (and soon an Electronic ID/building mapping), clearly indicating its energy class according to specific public standards. Not only is this a legal requirement, it is also imperative as an indicator of its market value since a low energy class also signifies higher operating costs for the tenant/owner and in certain cases reduced functionality and lacking in features and building management infrastructure. Metrax offers both auditing in order to comply with the law and optional advice aimed at improving sustainability and increasing property market value.


Legal Status Verification and advice on possible settlement action

For a property to be checked we initially require the Building Permit and a site investigation. Based on the data extracted from those we suggest the appropriate actions for settlement and compliance. Upon completion, we issue and sign the appropriate certificate which is required for the following transactions:

  • Tenancy
  • Sale
  • Secured Loan
  • Leasing
  • Operating Licenses

The cost for any settlement will be calculated by the tax authorities according to the building zone value, surface area of the building or part to be settled. However Metrax can provide a fairly accurate estimate in advance.

Energy Rating, Upgrade Consulting & Installation Management

The sustainability rating (energy class) of a building is going to have an effect on its value depending on the rating it achieves. Upon assessing it and issuing its ID, it is often requested or deemed appropriate that the structure is upgraded to improve its position on the market. Metrax provides both ID issuing for legal compliance along with Sustainability Consulting & Project Implementation. For details about these services please look at the Energy & Environment section.

Operations Related Legal Compliance

Depending on the property intended use (i.e. F&B, Public, Health, etc.), additional legal conformation requirements arise including health & safety compliance, fire safety standards, hazardous materials handling, disability access provisions & amenities or strict floor-plan design specifications that require experience and knowledge in order to be followed while maintaining efficiency and high ROI.  Furthermore, property use and licensing strictly depend on area zones and local authorities’ regulations and need to be checked per case. As an integral part of our integrated services approach, Metrax will investigate your property or the one you are interested into acquiring and offer you a one stop solution covering all your legal compliance and licensing needs. For information regarding permits and certifications (HASP, ISO, TUV) concerning specific property categories or businesses please look at our Turn-Key Solutions section and select the category that applies to your needs.

Note: Although Turn-Key solutions are aimed at small-medium businesses and are offered as a integrated service units, larger accounts can also benefit from those as they can be scaled and customized in order to complement larger projects that entail similar needs. For example, the F&B areas of a large Hotel or Shop-in-Shop sections of other larger venues.

Dilapidations & Dispute Management

Dilapidations refer to the obligations of the occupier of a leased property to maintain it at a certain state or reinstate it to its original condition upon expiry of the contract. However, due to unclear technical facts or other unforeseen reasons, compliance is not as easy as thought during the signing of the contract and costly claims on behalf of the landlord usually lead to disputes. Those disputes can be time consuming and costly while it is not always clear whose responsibility is what.

There is only one certain way to ensure calculated expectations about the reinstatement of property and this is through the presence of a Condition Assessment Report signed by a certified engineer (or a more advanced team), through a property survey, prior to the commencement of the lease. Based on such a snapshot, any arising disputes can only be based on technical due diligence and the fact that condition has been mutually agreed and documented “as is” by both parties before the lease starts.

How can Metrax help you avoid disputes and high cost dilapidations?

  • Through a Property Survey on your behalf and the submittal of a certified Condition Assessment report to be used as the technical basis prior to signing the lease agreement
  • Provide advice on technical issues that can evolve to costly dilapidations in the future even though they are not currently apparent. This can occur either through deterioration or as a result of user action or even through expected use
  • Review your contract and advise on fit-out possibilities and possible breaches
  • Undertake Fit-Out or any alterations with consideration to future dilapidation costs based on your contract terms
  • Check for Hazardous Materials and possible legal breaches of Health & Safety Regulations inherent to the construction or inappropriate materials present in the building. Such occurrences can lead to claims on behalf of both parties depending on who is responsible for the breach based on time of occurrence or omission to mention during the signing of the contract. Please visit our Energy & Environment section for more information and related services.
  • Plan & Apply a maintenance schedule through our Asset ManagementFacilities Management Services in order to avoid building deterioration and escalating repair costs at the end of the lease
  • Handle property reinstatement with least possible cost related to repairs and lease time spent

How can Metrax help you manage disputes?

Should you arrive at a dispute, we will review your Condition Assessment Report and build a case for you based on technical reference and the experience of our engineers and partnering lawyers. Yet, we handle all negotiations among the two parties by providing an efficient and lower cost repairs schedule through our access and continuous cooperation with subcontractors and repair crews.

In instances where no Condition Assessment Report exists and signed by both parties before the lease commencement, we still suggest a property survey in order to test claims against building state and balance out the case by offering a commonly accepted solution.

Another area where disputes may arise, is Service Charges where shared facilities or services are involved and neither landlords nor tenants posses the knowledge and expertise to assess. From heating to security, we can assist in cost reassessment, vendor procurement or perform charge audits on your behalf based on consumption. Yet, we provide coverage for disputes based on lease rates and contract renewals providing advice to occupiers, landlords or both based on objectivity, market knowledge and ongoing concern for our clients.

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