As I predicated, our intended move from Luz to Portelas is grinding along much slower in reality than was suggested in fantasy.
In the land of make believe, we were supposed to be moving to Portelas in 16 days from now. What is the reality?
We still have not bought the property. Our solicitor is still checking very basic things. The idea is that the upper floors will be occupied by our family, while we will have the underbuild, commonly called the basement.
That particular part is not in dispute. At this point in time, there is a large property on a large plot of land in a part of Portugal that can only be described as rural. That is despite the number of close neighbours who drive a Mercedes.
Here’s where we hit the chunky bits. According to some recent change in law, a red line has been drawn through our plot, very close to the house. This is the limit of where we can have a swimming pool installed. In plain and simple English, this requires us to demolish the outbuilding to our rear, should we wish a swimming pool. On a vast plot of land, a swimming pool has to be stuck next to our house, not somewhere else on the land.
This restriction seemingly can be overcome. Our solicitor is working on it.
Then there is the underbuild. So far, we have been advised it is 100% legal. If there was the slightest whiff that it was not then I would be out of this deal.
Of course, it has to be more complicated than that, surely?
The underbuild, we are assured by the solicitor, is 100% legal. Further, as the previous occupants obtained planning permission for all the ‘holes’, commonly known as doors, windows, and garage door, we are legally entitled to do what we wish with these.
We wish to turn the garage into the main lounge. That involves taking the garage door off and replacing it with …. whatever ….. patio doors? This appears to be legal under current plans, as permission to stick in a garage door has been granted. And if one can have a garage door, one can have a patio door. Good stuff!
The issues at the moment are 1) we are unclear as to where we might be able to build a swimming pool and 2) while the underbuild is legal, the previous owners left without getting a ‘habitation licence’, which is required should one wish to rent out the underbuild. It seems the licence is about €85, but the previous owners did not wish to spend this. It could be that the previous owner, who was a chiropractor, working from a room in the underbuild, did not see anything to gain from coughing up €85.
I dare say we will learn more about the building as we go on. It appears the Portuguese locals know that we are trying to purchase the building, and at least one has a relative who built the house.
We also have it, before we even have bought the house, that someone local has sneaked into the land and stolen a pump. This pump was used to draw water from a borehole on our land. Yup, we get into strange regulations here again. If one supplies water, one gets a reduction in one’s water bill. So we have a borehole, but no pump. According to the locals, the replacement will be expensive. A new pump should cost around … €75.
I am in the process of moving to a land of extremes. Foreigners who drive a Mercedes on roads with pot holes. Locals who think that €75 for a pump is expensive.
Will the two sides meet?
What it does look like is what I predicted a while back. I have a visitor coming to Luz from abroad in early March. Several of the steps to move from Luz to Portelas have already been carried out. But it does not actually look like the item on top of my agenda in early March 2016 will be our house move.
It looks like the #1 item will be Madeleine McCann.