I thought foreigners were going to have some kind of relief 5 years after Poland joined the EU?
Actually, the original year was intended to be around 2018. After Poland joined the EU, that year was reduced to 2012. I think this is what you are referring to.
but what about normal inner city houses for example, with smaller plots.
Houses which are located on plots of land not equal to or greater than 1 hectare aren't much of a problem to purchase without a permit. The key number in determing if a property is eligible to fall under the 'farm or farmland' category is "equal to or greater than 1 hectare of arable land". So, if you define a 'smaller plot' of that being less than 1 hectare, then a foreigner wishing to purchase such a property without a permit today shouldn't pose much of a problem.