A British couple recently had their Italian holiday home seized after losing a legal battle over the use of the land it was built on.
Brendan and Jane Crossan, reports the Daily Mail, were unaware that the dream property they bought in Liguria in 2006 was constructed illegally on agricultural land.
They purchased the cottage with a view to spending school and university holidays there with their three sons. The beautiful views, access to beaches and delicious food made the area a big draw for the whole family.
However, after a five year court battle, local police seized the property, giving the family just two months to remove their belongings and vacate the property.
As a repercussion, the couple will no longer be able to pay the mortgage for their UK home, and will be forced to sell up; they had used all of their endowment, which was meant to pay off their mortgage when they retired to their Italian cottage.
Additionally, with £20,000 of legal fees to pay, the couple have been forced to take out a second mortgage on their UK home.
They also face a fine of up to 50,000 euros or two years in jail for owning an illegal property.
“From the moment we stood on that terrace and looked out we knew it was the one. It was the views, the house, the position, everything. We looked at each other and thought – this is it,” said Brenda.
Fortunately, the vast majority of holiday home purchases in Italy and across Europe do not come with such problems. However, the story does highlight the importance of properly researching the legal standing of a property and the land it is built on before making a purchase.
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