Italy: A town wants to sell its abandoned homes for $1 but the owners won’t let it

Rome: The mayor of a quaint medieval Italian town wants to replicate the one-euro home initiative, inspired by the success stories of places like Mussomeli in Sicily.

But according to Newswire Travel, homeowners in Patrica, a town of about 3,000 people in central Italy, aren’t prepared to sell their abandoned properties.

The news outlet said that Lucio Fiordaliso, the mayor of Patrica, has struggled to transform the town using the offer of $1 homes, which Business Insider has covered extensively.

Earlier this year, the deputy mayor of Mussomeli told BI that the program had revitalized his town, with almost 300 houses sold.

“We first mapped all abandoned houses and made an official call out to the original owners to invite them to hand over their dilapidated family properties, but we managed to sell just two homes for one euro,” Fiordaliso told Newswire.

He said that the town needs the owners to offer up their old houses because, without their consent, the properties can’t be sold.

This makes the process “almost impossible,” he said.

Despite initially receiving a “positive response” from 10 homeowners, the mayor told the news outlet that they withdrew their participation at the last moment, with many others failing to respond to the call at all.

Fiordaliso suspects people changed their minds because of ownership conflicts with relatives who hold shares in the same property.

The news outlet said that homes are often divided between multiple inheritors, each owning distinct sections of the property, like patches of land or individual rooms.

Under Italian law, the sale of a property requires the consent of all heirs, but family feuds could result in a “deadlock” when somebody disagrees with selling their part, the mayor told Newswire.

He added: “Some hardly spoke or knew each other, others lived in distant cities and even abroad.”

Fiordaliso said there were also difficulties locating heirs who moved abroad and might have different surnames. “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” he told Newswire.

Plus, owners living elsewhere might hesitate to reveal themselves to authorities due to the risk of facing back taxes and unpaid bills on their properties, Newswire Travel reported.

Adding to these challenges, the news outlet noted that some of the properties are in terrible condition.

One local, Gianni Valleco, said his parents’ abandoned home had essentially turned to rubble. He tried to put it for sale for just one euro but soon realized that “nobody would ever buy it,” he told Newswire.

Although Fiordaliso told Newswire there was international interest in Patrica’s one-euro home initiative, there simply wasn’t the inventory.

In the meantime, the mayor is exploring other ways to revitalize the town.

According to Newswire, tax exemptions are now available for people who start a business in the town’s historic district.

This has already led to the opening of two bed-and-breakfast hotels and a new restaurant, it said.