Property Restoration Rules

Clients often ask me about the rules regarding property restoration, citing that there’s so much conflicting information in the public domain. Often they’ll turn to people on forums who moved to Abruzzo many years ago and although well-meaning; things change and these people may not have the up to date information.

One important thing to say is that the law changed back in April, (22nd to be exact), meaning it’s no longer necessary to obtain permission as long as the restoration you do to your property has no impact on the environment. For example building extensions or another storey will have an impact on the surroundings and will therefore require permission. 

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Below are the main works as listed in the ‘Infrastructure decree’ which you do not need to seek permission from the comune before undertaking:

Ordinary maintenance works:
• Installing, but also repairing or replacing, railing, security grilles or grates.
• Replacing external and internal flooring,
• Resurfacing internal and external plasterwork,
• Renovating gutters and downpipes.
• Changing doors, windows, stairways
• Installing an air-to-air heat pump, provided that it has a heat output of less than 12 kW. These appliances offer also a “green” alternative for air-conditioning houses as they use renewable energy such as air to heat or cool rooms.
• Installing (but also repairing or upgrading) lifts, but only inside buildings and provided that this doesn’t involve altering supporting structures.

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Works to create a comfortable living space outside your door:
• Installing barbecues, tool sheds, fountains, planters and benches, kennels for dogs and cats.
• Installing gazebos and pergolas within certain size limits and when not permanently fixed to the ground
• Create a garden play area for children
• Installing partition walls in the garden as long as they are not masonry walls

Home renewable energy systems:
• Installing, replacing or renovating solar and photovoltaic panels, wind turbines generators or parts of them

Architectonic barriers:
You can remove architectonic barriers, such as stairways and lifts, if they don’t alter the existing structure of the property.

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The only other advice I’d add is, if you’re unsure then ask. A trip to the comune only takes a short time and could put your mind at rest. Also feel free to copy and print out the above infrastructure decree to take with you just in case the person behind the desk has not been aware of the changes.

Buon lavoro.

Cucina Rustica

We are finally getting to the end of our house restoration, I can hardly believe that only five months ago our place was literally just a shell. There’s still a lot of small jobs to get finished, like the window fitted where the second front door used to be and the kitchen. Of all the rooms in the house the kitchen has undergone the greatest transformation, the room above has been taken away, the roof has been replaced and it now has a new floor. During these changes our cooking facilities have changed many times. When we first moved in everything was on boxes, with all the electrics being endless extension cables.

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Then as the roof and room above came down, the kitchen was installed in the corner of the living room with the fridge freezer standing beside the fireplace. Now the floor is in, we’ve reinstalled our rustic kitchen. No more microwaves balanced on boxes, or electric rings on top of old floorboards. It’s still a work in progress, but it means we can have a few days with space in the living room before we move it all out again to finish it off.

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Learning to live without a working kitchen has been trying at times, especially when it comes to cooking. I coped with washing dishes in the outside sink, but wanting to bake bread when you have no oven came test your patience. At some point this week we’ll plaster where the electrics have been installed and hopefully next week the laminate flooring will have been laid and we can begin assembling the cupboards and get the new cooker delivered from Casoli.

Once finished, will I yearn for my cucina rustica again?

I doubt it.

Call the Fashion Police

Today I received a text from a friend asking if we’d like to come over for a bite to eat, so as, Let the Rhythm Get You, the Megatone Records classic by, Touch and Go plays, I reply in the affirmative. The remainder of the day passes without incident and it’s soon time to get ready to go out. Now you have to bear in mind that we are still living on what is essentially a building site, so it’s a strip wash at the outside tap, a shave in the washing up bowl with hot water provided by the kettle and hair washing bent over the ancient washing tub out the front. Oh the joys of house restoration. (I have now learned the times the school bus passes, a semi-naked Englishman at the outside sink, is not what a bus full of kids want to see.)

So with most of my clothes and shoes boxed up and stacked in the darkened space that is due to become the bathroom, I have a small amount of clothing that is worn, washed, worn, washed etc. So small is my wardrobe, that I’ve not really paid attention to what is on the dust free (ha! that’s a laugh) pile of washed clothes. There’s only twenty-minutes in which to dress and leave if I’m to be punctual for our dinner date and the options do not look good.

There’s a pair of what I call my, One Direction trousers, two pairs of balled-up socks: yellow or purple and a red or a blue shirt. I hunt around for shoes and cannot find any, only the pink canvas pumps that I’ve been wearing of late. I’m shouted at to get a move on and with a less than friendly reminder, it’s pointed out that we no longer have time to pop into Eurospin to buy a bottle of prosecco to take with us.

So I hurriedly dress, slipping on the socks, wriggling into my green, One Direction trousers and then receive a look that Medusa would have been proud of. “Are you going out like that?” I’m asked, I look down and shrug before saying, “This is all I have that’s ironed. This and my Orange Ted Baker pyjama bottoms and a yellow vest.”

As we climb into the car, the Oh says, “It’s a good job we’re not going out in public.”

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There’s a siren in the distance, could it be the fashion police, or has Gok Wan just collapsed with apoplexy.