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Need advise for off-grid Portugal  RSS feed

 
Bauluo Ye
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After being disillusioned with the Spanish law, I find myself in Castelo Branco, researching the possibility of making the move to Portugal. Based on the info I've found so far, I conclude the legal situations in Portugal and Spain are similar when it comes to living on your own land. It's not possible, unless you bring the money for an intact-ish house or a building project. What's left is the option to live year round in a "non permanent structure" and hope your particular camera turns a blind eye. Is this the off-grid modus operandi for Portugal or am I missing something? How big of a deal is this anyway? Should I consider renting something to get an address? Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
 
Bauluo Ye
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Quite soon after last post I decided to go for the sub-legal option of living in a non permanent structure. No money to do everything legit (right away). So be it.
Before I know if I'm seriously interested in a plot from ERA, I'd like to know the restrictions on it. Nothing fancy. Can I build a shed? What are the max dimensions? Can I dig a pond? Can I make terraces? ERA isn't willing to give up any info before I make a bid, accompanied by a 2500 euro cheque (which will be returned according to the sales agent). I can write down all my preconditions on the "reservation document". It already came up after I had seen a tiny part of the plot for just a couple of minutes. Who the hell dreamed up that kind of bullshit? Since I didn't want to part with that amount of money on such a thin basis, I asked a lawyer to do this research for me. I'd for sure like to know what's for sale before making a bid but ERA has been frustrating this from the start. My lawyer didn't get any info from them either so she had to go around them. Communicating with my lawyer is very difficult because she's very busy, which isn't helping. I know she has found out a thing or two already. There are multiple owners, for instance, and one isn't recognizing the land. It doesn't sound good at all, but I know this is a common situation in Portugal.

I suspect ERA will view all my preconditions as assignments/work and will present me with a bill for that in the end. I also suspect they want to secure their commission with this procedure. Does all of this mean that ERA is scared as hell I'll try to make a deal with the owners without them? I wasn't thinking of it before, but by now it has turned into a wonderful alternative to wasting my time on company bureaucracy. I ain't freaking out as much as I was before (thanks Burra!), but I still have a hard time making sense of it all. Perhaps someone here can shine some light on this matter. Thanks in advance.

By the way, REMAX in Castelo Branco askes for a 6000 euro cheque. Folks, this an't normal!

 
Bruno Brusini
Posts: 5
Location: Macaronesia (Canary Is.)
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Hey Bauluo,

I don't know about Portugal, but in Spain the way to work around is not to have permanent living structures, 'permanent' being immobile, and unable to be disassembled. A house made out of shipping containers is legal, and so would be a house. Foundations are out of the question, since they'd make the structure permanent (spanish: inmueble). However, I'd say that depending on the area and the neighbours, you may be able to live peacefully without being worried by the law.
 
Bauluo Ye
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Dear Bruno Brusini,

Thank you for your reply and sorry for my very late response! I've also concluded that non permanent structures are probably the way to go if finances are not sufficient for a legitimate dwelling. It's similar in Portugal. If possible, I'll try to go as stealthy as possible and live in an existing barn. Indeed it depends on the area and the neighbours is such a solution works. It is a bit of a gamble, but I see no other option. Are you currrently living like this? Kind regards, Ye.
 
Bruno Brusini
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Location: Macaronesia (Canary Is.)
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Hi Bauluo,

I agree, it's a gamble! If I'm not mistaken, non-permanent would be legitimate and lawful as long as its within your land. If you don't own the land, I'm not sure about how it'd work. Don't take my word for granted, since I'm no expert on the topic

I guess the situation in Portugal is quite similar to that in Spain. If that's the case, there should be a lot of abandoned small villages, farms and barns. A lot of them are sold at a pretty low price, since the big expenditure comes with refurbishing. Maybe that's an option?

I'm currently living in a suburban apartment, however the permaculture project I hope to carry out includes non-permanent bioconstruction structures. I think it'll be fine as long as there are no troublesome neighbours, heh

Regards,
 
Andre Lemos
Posts: 62
Location: Castelo Branco, Portugal
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Bauluo,
off-grid living is a concept that 99,99% of the councils are not aware. That being said, lands are divided between rustic and urban, if you buy a land rustic without some kind of ruins you will not be allowed to build and even temporary living concepts will be frown upon... you can do it but be sure to get along with your neighbours so that they won't call authorities.

The amount they ask is to see if you are really interested, it's a way to put off wannabe buyers... but it's a normal practice.
 
Bauluo Ye
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Bruno Brusini and Andre Lemos, thanks for your reply. You both mention the neighbors as potential party crashers. My hunch is that, at least in Portugal, this is a bigger risk than the camara obstructing all the fun. Not saying it's a big risk. An acquaintance told me he's been living in a caravan for years and he knows of others doing it for way longer. The bottom line is it's a gamble. I don't see a way to check beforehand what the neighbors are really like. The best way would be not to have them at all. It is possible. Most folks in the villages seem quite conservative. I can imagine popping up weird constructions would invoke trouble. This is not my intention. My thinking is a xisto barn can serve as a dwelling but still look like an ordinary barn. At least it's legal to live there for <180 days/year. Who's going to check if this guy from The Netherlands out there in the woods isn't overstaying. My acquaintance told me that mostly people don't give a damn about it. I'm a nervous type though, so if I can go legit within my budget, I'll go for it. So far, no luck. Happy new year anyway!
 
Andre Lemos
Posts: 62
Location: Castelo Branco, Portugal
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Bauluo, you are right, they are very conservative, but people in the small villages will open their heart if you are honest, friendly and nice and i am sure most of them will help you out.

A friend made a strawbale house in the middle of his land and until now, surprisingly to me, no police or council officials appeared there.

A great 2016 to you as well!
 
Bauluo Ye
Posts: 42
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Great feedback!
 
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