Any advice very welcome......

LisaQ Image
12/07/2012 - 13:18

I am in the process of selling a property in Sardinia, I am using the same estate agent from whom I purchased the property in 2006 to sell the property, I have received an offer and now the estate agent has come back to me to advise me that the top floor rooms and terrace are not on the land registry documents and I will need to pay approx 800 euros to get them updated? More worrying, is that he also states that the previous owners do not appear to have any planning permissions to restore the property or make any significant changes to the building.... Starting to panic a wee bit and would be grateful for any advice/ experience/ knowledge of similar situations, for example ....should this have been picked up when we purchased the property?



Well, I think your agent is being a bit economical with the truth.  Legally in 2006 it wasnt necessary to provide all the paperwork that is now required for an act of sale, so yes, some authorisations/non authorisations slipped through the net.  However, if its the same agent that sold you the property, I think you are perfectly entitled to say 'why didnt you sort it/alert me at the time - in stead he wanted an easy sale, the 'stupid' foreigner wont know and the old owners got away without paying what they should have paid.  I would take the agent to task frankly, at least let him know that you know that he knows etc  For the rest - without knowing more its impossible to say whether they will send bulldozers or just sign it off - but it depends on what are the significant changes and where the property is.   

Thank you so much for your response, having had a sleepless night, I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I'll just have to take whatever the Comune chucks at me on the chin. Yes,  I was the stupid trusting foreigner ( my ego has taken a bit of a bashing there .. ha ha x) we move out there to live permanantly in our second house in 18 months after my husband retires and to be honest I feel a little bit anxious now, I'm sure this is just a knee jerk reaction and I'll put it behind me once I get this sorted out, time to take the rose tinted glasses off and start thinking practically. The estate agent is also a well known geometra in the community and has a fair bit of clout, I think he is well aware that he hasn't done his job properly and is now going to the Comune to try and get all the necessary retrospective planning permissions on my behalf, I think he will have a much better chance of success than me given his connections. It is a small town in western Sardinia and we have always found the Comune and all our neighbours to be very helpful, supportive and friendly, I just hope that this remains the case regarding this problem! It would appear that the kitchen and upstairs loo on the second floor weren't on the original plans, and it used to be just a terrace/flat roof, so I suppose they could ask us to restore it to it's original state, fingers crossed that they are in feeling generous and allow us to take the easy route, but gee I hate parting with my hard earned cash at the best of times! Hard lesson currently being learned methinks! Thank you Ram, I really appreciate your input.

I know exactly what a can of worms you have opened! We have experienced the same with my mother in laws house. There has been a change in the law and now the geometra has to sign a document for the notary saying that the property is exactly as the deeds says it is. The punishment for not doing so I believe is harsh. Previously Notaries didn't bother because everybody made alterations and nobody got planning permission and it didn't matter. It does now; you can’t sell your house without these permissions being granted retrospectively and fines being paid even if you didn’t make the alterations. In the case of my mother laws house the original builder made small changes as he was building the house in 1920, some rooms were slightly smaller, some were slightly bigger, obviously the council isn't asking for the house to be re built but permission and a fine will have to be paid. Every owner since then has made small changes internally so did my parents in law. A lot will depend on the council as to how harsh they are about it all. I wish I could offer some reassuring words but since we applied for these changes to be recognised in October 2011 we are still waiting for the approval and reckoning of the charges, it is a frustrating and slow process. We have been fortunate as we managed to sell the house last year; the notary was very understanding and accepted the paperwork from the council that it was all in hand as sufficient to proceed with the sale. He did hold back 20000 Euro as a guarantee that it would all be completed and we cannot access that money until it is. The council that we applied to was Viareggio, but the paperwork then had to go to Lucca for approval. Lucca were difficult even though the paperwork had been agreed by Viareggio, they kept insisting on changes to the documents and asking for photos of various things You have my sympathy, good luck

Lisa, you have my sympathies; but as they say we only learn by our mistakes and hindsight is a great gift in these scenarios. Stick with your estate agent/geometra and hope it all gets sorted as you rightly say he should have ascertained these facts prior to your sale if he was working on your behalf. Just a warning though, as most Comunes are cash strapped at the moment fines will likely to be harsh. I hope it all turns out for the good.

Thank you for replies, we are still waiting for information from the Comune, however the agent has advised us that it looks likely that the terrace and top floor may have been added prior to 1967 when no planning permission would have been required! Definitely got my fingers, toes, arms and legs crossed for that to be the outcome! 

I recognise your name, I've followed your posts on this forum and it's predecessor with much interest, thanks for all the info over the years that have made it much easier to understand and adjust to the Sardinian way of life x

I am sure that you will be able to sort it out. We had a similar problem when we purchased our property some 5 years ago. My husband, a retired architect, immediately realised that the property description on the owner's title did notshow a series of improvements and changes of use done over the time. We consulted with Council, had a discussion with the owner and his geometra, got a price reduction and then we submitted new planimetry. Yes, it costed a bit of money and effort. But now, everything is fine and we are all happy. So do not worry and spend sleepless nights over the issue.

If the works were done before Sept 1967 then you are in the clear - and its difficult to be precise about such things, as there was no paperwork back then.  Its amazing how many 1980s extensions were suddenly built 20 years previously. However you do have a strong point in your favour.  If this agent is a working geometra, and he is also a valid estate agent who took commission on your purchase, and was cited in the act of sale, he acted illegally.  He cannot be both - if he is an agent he should have revolked his geometras licence and vice versa.     LEt him know that you know that he should know and he should bend over backwards to accommodate you GRATIS.

In reply to by Ram

If you are unlucky enough for your comune to try to fine you it is worth trying to find out if aerial photos exist of the area in 1967. Many comunes took such photos exactly to establish the truth of when things had been built. I know my comune has such photos. If you get on well with your neighbours why not ask them if they know when the addition was built? There are bound to be long time residents with memeories like elephants; after all it is an Italian village? good luck.

Before 1967 there was basically no such thing as a planning permission, even less anything resembling building regulations, as far as normal houses were concerned. When the possibility of these sorts of control became legislation (in 1967) there had to be a provision made for existing buildings - thus any building (or extension/alteration) which you can "prove" was built before 1967 is considered okay.  As Ram has hinted, "proving" can be quite...well....easy!

If you only have to pay 800 Euros because of this I would say you are quite lucky. The law changed in 2010 and with this new declaration the SELLER has to make in the deed of sale it is really important sellers make sure their house is exacly the same as the planimetria catastale. The Notary can and might turn a blind eye only if the differences are very minor, but the Seller still takes responsibility and the penalty is that the deed of sale can later be declared null and void. It is true that before 2010, there was more of a culture of let the buyer beware, and let the Seller try to get away with it. A responsible agent who knew the property well should have been aware that there was oart of the house not shown on the plans.  Even if you have to pay a bit more, I really recommend getting your  own independent geometra to sign this all off for you, to make sure you will sell with peace of mind there will be no come back. The agent can help you find a buyer but leave it at that. You could try to get the costs of the new plans deducted from his provvigione?   charlotte

What is rendita as stated in the land registry . Is it the value of the property?can an independent accountant from his own accountancy firm give an  estimated value considerably lower than that of rendita of the same property ?the rendita  of the two apartment is €697,000 and the accountant's value: €303,000 .