Hello from Catalonia, Spain! Half a year ago my girlfriend and me started looking for a plot to build a house and a food forest around here. We quickly found out that building a new house in rural area is impossible due to legalities. The alternative, buy a plot with an existing house, seemed to be an option but as we found out it's equally impossible to live there permanently. The only legal way to live on rural land is in a masia, which are currently out of our budget, and most of them are also much bigger than we need. So we are looking for people (individuals/couples/families) that would like to cohouse a masia with us.
First a tiny bit about us: my girlfriend is 25 years old and is Catalan. I am a 33 years old guy from the Netherlands. We met in the Netherlands, moved to Catalonia after some years there and are now expecting a family expansion.
I'll list some projects we have in mind. Everything is based on permaculture and sustainable living. Some will depend on the location and nearby facilities.
Get the masia in liveble condition (if necessary) with local and natural materials; rainwater collection; potentially obtain a well. Compostable toilets and/or septic tanks; grey water recycling with reed beds.
Initially we'd grow vegetables in a small garden, while the food forest grows/expands. Probably chickens or running ducks make good animals to have around. Possibly geese as guard dogs.
We want to create an income from workshops in multiple ways. We want to engage with primary schools to have children grow their own vegetables. This may be on our plot where the children visit us, or on a plot close to the school and we go there. For adults we'd like to organise workshops like building with natural materials; identifying edible wild plants and mushrooms and cooking with those; making natural dyes with plants and minerals, to dye clothing or make paint. I'd like to learn about making fabrics like linnen or hemp, maybe wool if there is an option for sheep.
I have years of experience training capoeira and I want to take that to a higher level by teaching it professionally. If creating a training place within the property is realistic, it may be shared with other sports like yoga.
Now, the business part. We are thinking of about 6 individuals or couples, who each can bring in around €80.000 to buy a masia and probably reform it. I realise this sounds like a lot of money, whereas fincas rusticas around here sell for half this amount. Keep in mind living in this place is legal, unlike fincas rusticas. Many masias have enough rooms for multiple families, sometimes in multiple buildings. Many have many hectares of agricultural land and/or forest. The amount of people in the group affects how many rooms the masia needs to have, as well as the budget. Therefore the details will have to be worked out in a later stage. At this moment we have no specific place in mind, we're just looking for people as a starting point. What is done in similar settings is that the group of people put their money in a foundation. This foundation is then the owner of the masia. This way, if someone does decide to leave, they can sell their part back to the foundation and the rest of the community can go on about their business while finding a new member.
I'm trying to keep it somewhat short, but there is a lot to keep in mind in such a project. Feel free to ask anything. If you think we are overlooking important aspects, please tell us! And if you're interested in joining, please send us a message at letsbuyamasia # gmail.com so we can exchange ideas and get to know each other.
You should really get in contact with us, we're a group looking to start something very similar to what you're describing, in northern Spain, we're a little busy lately so I can't spend the time to write a full detailed explanation here since I'm not sure you'll see it. If you do see it however (and anybody else reading and interested) please get in touch with us so we can discuss things further!
Here below you can check out the website, and I'll also leave the link to the telegram group chat in case you have an account and want to chat directly
Hey, if you see this I would love some more details/links about the legalities making it impossible to live full time in an existing house in the countryside of Catalunya. I have similar plans and my understanding was that if there is already a house there that has been previously used as habitation, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Thanks!
Hiya this is Rod, living in Barcelona.
The land laws are coupled to the correspondent town hall, so you must ask them for details.
However, the general national rule says you can't build (no one will grant) on a rural land.
You better check the status (rural/urban) at the Catastro (link below), if your land is urban (very strange outside a town) you are restricted to the area and height already registered.
If the land is rural you have two possibilities:
There's an old building at the land you can maybe restore it under the community's restrictions for visuals and use.
If there's no building or remains at the land, you can't build or live in neither a timber or motor house (latest law changes).
I'm in the same case as you, I dream building my own house but it's not legal to do it under these circumstances.
I recently talked to the person who is responsible of this matter at the Perelló town hall and he was clear about it. I also know some people who receive the demolition warrant from Rural Agents to tear down their illegal house.
The only way to do it is creating a group of people and "sell" a restoration plan for old buildings, this was done by some communities in the past so I guess there is a bit of space to fit into.
There are also failures in the system like the poor guys from Fraguas who were sentenced to jail.
I'm open to any doubt or connect to anyone with same interests or to share info.