Saturday, July 13, 2024

This Italian city is struggling to sell its empty homes for one euro. this is the reason



Sales of €1 houses in Italy have attracted a lot of attention over the past few years, with dozens choosing to buy abandoned properties in some of the country's empty towns.

But while towns like Mussomeli in Sicily and Zongoli in Campania have managed to sell many abandoned residences to foreigners eager to live the Italian dream, some are struggling to sell their empty homes.

Among them is Pattricia, a remote medieval village of just 3,000 people south of Rome, where more than 40 derelict properties were left to rot in the early 20th century.

Situated on a rocky plateau overlooking the Sacco Valley in central Italy, Patrizia is an idyllic area, but life here was not easy for the locals in the past.

Abandoned houses

Patrika Municipality

The Italian village of Pattricia, south of Rome, is struggling to empty its abandoned homes.

Many left in search of a brighter future elsewhere, leaving their homes empty for decades.

In an attempt to breathe new life into the dying village, Mayor Lucio Fiordaliso is trying to emulate the success of other Italian villages that have put their empty homes up for sale for one euro, or just over a dollar. He has had little success so far.

“We first mapped all the abandoned houses and made formal contact with the original owners to invite them to hand over their dilapidated family property, but we were only able to sell two houses for one euro,” Fiordaliso told CNN.

While local authorities in towns left depopulated by earthquakes and other natural disasters have jurisdiction to put abandoned houses up for sale without obtaining permission from their owners, this is not the case for Patrica and other towns like it.

“First we need the owners, or their heirs, to be able to dispose of their old homes,” says Fiordaliso.

“Only then can we offer these properties for sale with their approval, which makes the process very complicated. Almost impossible.”

Fiordaliso explains that the town received a “positive response” from 10 owners after sending “a general appeal to involve them in our project for one-euro houses,” but they withdrew at the last minute. The rest was never answered.

Patrika Municipality

Many of the city's local families left in search of a brighter future elsewhere, leaving their homes empty for decades.

Fiordaliso feels that those who changed their minds may have done so because of problems with other relatives who owned shares in the same property.

Abandoned buildings in old Italian towns are sometimes divided between multiple heirs who own only a section – such as a bathroom, balcony and kitchen – and nothing can be sold without the written consent of all the heirs, according to Italian law.

In the past, it was common for sons to inherit parts of their family home, including plots of land, wells, and orchards.

But this is not always a guarantee that relatives will remain on good terms and/or in contact for years to come.

“The disposal of potential €1 houses faced a dead end as most relatives sharing the same property were at loggerheads with each other for personal reasons or could not agree on a sale, some of them barely spoke or knew each other, while others lived in distant cities. They live in distant cities.” “Even abroad,” says the mayor.

In some cases, homes were not formally divided between heirs in the past, so the property line was broken along the way without a clear indication of who should be the current owner.

According to Fiordaliso, tracking down descendants of owners who had long emigrated abroad, mainly to the United States, Canada and Argentina and may have had different family names, or may have transferred their Italian properties to foreigners without notifying the Patrica City Council, has been difficult. A very difficult task.

“It's like looking for a needle in a haystack,” he adds.

The only two derelict houses Patricia was able to sell as part of her €1 scheme were owned outright by two local residents, so there was no need to contact fourth cousins ​​or great-grandchildren, and they could sell the properties at no charge. Complications.

Patrika Municipality

The remote medieval village has a population of about 3,000.

In cases where there are family disputes, relatives may choose not to sell their share due to legal issues associated with inheritance disputes, or even as a form of revenge.

Original owners who have lived elsewhere for many years may be wary of revealing themselves to local authorities and may be subject to back taxes on their property and waste disposal fees of up to 2,500 euros (about $2,730 per year, plus unpaid utilities). Bills

Another reason why the one euro scheme did not take off in Patrica could be the state of the abandoned houses.

Some homes are too neglected to be sold, even if the owners are willing to agree to it.

Patrica resident Gianni Valico and his two brothers decided to put their parents' abandoned house on the market to see what would happen, but they soon discovered that the house was unwanted.

“We thought: why not try it? Even if it was only for one euro, we would be getting rid of a pile of useless stones. We were curious to see if someone might be interested anyway in buying it,” says Valico.

“We were aware that after half a century our parents’ house had been reduced to rubble, completely destroyed, as if it had been flattened.

“The roof and most of the walls had collapsed, leaving an open-air room covered in grass and shrubs. All that remained there was a plot of land, an ugly garden in the heart of the historic centre.

According to Valico, a neighbor was using what was left of the house to get rid of his old items.

“Then we realized no one would ever buy it,” he says. “It is a bad investment that requires a lot of money to rebuild the house. It is better to buy a small country cottage in the surrounding areas.”

Fortunately, not all of the abandoned houses in Patrica, which can be sold for one euro, are in such poor condition, some have gained interest from potential buyers.

“A few foreigners came to see the abandoned residences worth one euro. There was a lot of interest but unfortunately we had nothing to offer them,” says the city mayor, adding that those interested were from the United States and Europe.

Meanwhile, Fiordaliso was devising new ways to enhance the city's appeal in hopes of attracting newcomers.

The city council recently funded the renovation of the exteriors of some old mansions, prompting many local residents to completely redesign and put their old family homes back into use after decades of neglect.

Local resident Alessandra Pagliarossi took things a step further by converting the 1950s mansion her husband inherited into a stylish bed and breakfast called Patricia.

“We redesigned the roof, which is practically no longer there, as well as the interior. The mayor’s move finally gave us a good excuse to completely renovate the property that was there without benefit”.

Those who decide to start a business such as a bed and breakfast or artisan boutique in the old area are exempt from paying taxes on waste disposal, advertising and use of public spaces for 10 years and are given tax breaks to cover restructuring costs.

“For a small bed and breakfast, that would amount to roughly €1,200 (about $1,310) a year in tax savings, which is a lot of money,” says Pagliarossi.

Foreigners who plan to move to Patrica and start a small business are also entitled to tax benefits.

As a result, two new B&Bs and one restaurant have been opened so far.

Several Americans from immigrant families have recently visited Patricia to look at properties, says local realtor Ilario Grossi, who runs the Immobile Lipini real estate agency, located in the nearby Chicano town.

But the town's ready-to-move-in homes, which include two-bedroom properties starting at 20,000 euros ($21,832), are proving more attractive.

“There is interest, but when many (foreigners) see the poor appearance of old houses, they prefer to choose ready-made apartments that have already been remodeled or that only need minor repairs,” Grossi says.

“So purchasing one of these newer buildings is much more convenient than purchasing an older building that needs major renovation, where the final cost will ultimately be much higher.”

Despite these challenges, Fiordaliso has not given up on selling some of the town's long-neglected homes, even if it means having to negotiate between warring relatives.

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Rainerio Manuel
Rainerio Manuel

"Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst."



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