This Italian city is struggling to sell its vacant houses for 1 euro. Because

(CNN) — In recent years, the sale of homes for one euro has generated a lot of interest in Italy, where dozens of people opted to acquire abandoned properties in some of the country’s most populous cities.

But while towns such as Mussomeli in Sicily and Zungoli in Campania have managed to sell many abandoned homes to foreigners eager to live the Italian dream, others have had difficulty selling their vacant homes.

Among them is Patrica, a remote medieval town of just 3,000 inhabitants located south of Rome, where more than 40 abandoned properties were left to rot in the early 20th century.

Located on a rocky plateau overlooking the Sacco valley in central Italy, Patrica is an idyllic place, but life here was not easy for locals in the past.

abandoned house

The Italian town of Patrica, south of Rome, is struggling to get rid of its abandoned homes.  (Credit: Patrika Municipality)

The Italian town of Patrica, south of Rome, is struggling to get rid of its abandoned homes. (Credit: Patrika Municipality)

Many people left their homes empty for decades in search of a better future.

In an effort to revive this dying city, its mayor, Lucio Fiordaliso, has tried to emulate the success of other Italian cities, which have put their vacant homes up for sale for just over a euro or a dollar. So far there has been very little success in this.

“First we explored all the abandoned houses and officially called the original owners and invited them to hand over their ruined family properties, but we managed to sell only two houses for one euro each,” Fiordaliso told CNN. “

Although local authorities in cities hit by earthquakes and other natural disasters have the right to put abandoned houses up for sale without the owners’ permission, this is not the case in Patrika and other similar cities.

“First we need the willingness of the owners or their heirs to get rid of their old homes,” says Fiordaliso.

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

Fiordaliso explains that the municipality received a “positive response” from 10 owners after sending out a “public call to be included in our one-euro housing project”, but they backed out at the last moment. The rest never responded.

public tender

Many families in the city left their homes vacant for decades in search of a better future.  (Credit: Patrika Municipality)

Many families in the city left their homes vacant for decades in search of a better future. (Credit: Patrika Municipality)

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

Abandoned buildings in ancient Italian cities are sometimes divided between several heirs, who own only a part – such as a bathroom, a balcony, a kitchen – and according to Italian law, nothing else without the written consent of all the heirs. Can be sold.

In the past, it was customary for children to inherit parts of the family homestead, including plots of land, wells, and gardens.

But this does not always guarantee that relatives will remain on good terms and/or in touch even years later.

“The sale of potential one-euro homes faced a stalemate, as most of the relatives sharing the same property were at odds with each other for personal reasons or could not agree on a sale, some with difficulty. Others were talking or knew each other, others lived in distant cities and even abroad,” Mayer explains.

In some cases, houses were never officially distributed among heirs in the past, so the property line was broken without any clear indication as to who should be the current owner.

According to Fiordaliso, tracing the descendants of owners who moved abroad long ago, mainly to the US, Canada and Argentina, and who probably had different surnames, or who sold their Italian properties without notifying the Patria municipality Was transferred to foreigners. It was a very difficult task.

He added, “It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

The only two abandoned houses that Patrica managed to sell under her one-euro scheme were 100% owned by two local residents, so it was not necessary to contact a fourth cousin or great-grandson, and they were able to sell easily. Property.

family relations

The remote medieval town has about 3,000 inhabitants.  (Credit: Patrika Municipality)

The remote medieval town has about 3,000 inhabitants. (Credit: Patrika Municipality)

In situations of family feud, relatives may decide not to sell their share due to legal issues related to inheritance disputes or even out of revenge.

And the original owners who have lived elsewhere for several years may be afraid to give their information to local authorities and potentially face taxes on their property and waste disposal fees of up to 2,500 euros (about $2,730 a year). Additionally, there may be a tax burden on unpaid utilities. Bill).

Another reason why a euro plan was never implemented in Patrika may have been the state of its abandoned houses.

Some have been left with so much to sell, even if their owners were willing to do so.

Patrica’s neighbor Gianni Valeco and his two brothers decide to put their parents’ abandoned house up for sale to see what would happen, but they soon discover that the house was far from desirable.

“We thought: ‘Why not try it?’. Even if it were for just one euro, we would get rid of a lot of useless stones. We were curious to see if anyone might be interested in buying it Is,” says Valeco. ,

“We knew that after half a century our parents’ house was reduced to rubble, it was completely destroyed, as if it had been demolished.

“The roof and most of the walls had collapsed, leaving an open-air room covered with grass and bushes. Only a patch of ground remained, an ugly garden in the historic centre.”

According to Valeco, a neighbor was using leftovers from the house to dispose of his old items.

“Then we realized no one would buy it,” he says. “It is a bad investment that requires a lot of money to rebuild the house. It makes more sense to buy a rural house in the surrounding area. “

Fortunately, not all the abandoned houses in Patrika that could be sold for one euro are in such a terrible condition, and some have aroused the interest of potential buyers.

“Some foreigners came to see the abandoned houses for one euro. There was a lot of interest, but unfortunately we had nothing to offer them,” explains the mayor. He further said that interested people came from the United States and Europe.

Meanwhile, Fiordaliso has come up with new ways to enhance the town’s attractiveness in hopes of attracting new people.

new plan

Recently, the municipality financed the renovation of the exterior facades of some old palaces, allowing many residents to completely remodel their old family homes and give them a new use after decades of neglect. Was encouraged.

Alessandra Pagliarossi went one step further and transformed the 1950s mansion she inherited from her husband into a beautiful B&B called Patricia.

“We rebuilt the roof, which practically no longer existed, and the interior,” says Pagliarossi, who benefited from the new tax exemption. The mayor’s move finally gave us a good excuse to completely renovate the property. , which was lying there unused.” By the municipality to reactivate the local economy.

Those who decide to start a commercial activity, such as a B&B or an artisan boutique in the old town, will be exempted from paying taxes on waste disposal, advertising and the use of public spaces for 10 years, and will receive tax credits. Will be given. Cost Restructuring.

“In the case of small B&Bs, this would mean a tax saving of around 1,200 euros per year, which represents a huge amount,” explains Pagliarossi.

Foreigners who are planning to settle in Patrika and open a small business can also benefit from tax benefits.

So far, two new guesthouses and one restaurant have been opened.

Real estate agent Ilario Grossi, who runs the Immobil Leppini real estate agency in the nearby town of Cecano, says many American descendants of immigrant families have come to Patrica recently to look at properties.

But two-bedroom ready-to-occupy homes starting at 20,000 euros (US$21,832) were more attractive.

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

“So it is more convenient to buy one of these than to buy an older building that needs a large-scale renovation, where the final cost will be much higher.”

Despite these challenges, Fiordaliso has not given up on selling some of the town’s houses that had long been abandoned, even if he has to negotiate between warring relatives to do so.

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