The town of Maenza in Rome’s Latium region has joined Italy’s €1 Houses project, which will allow people to buy a house near the Italian capital for the first time, The Independent reported.
Several towns and villages across Italy are offering cheap properties to encourage people to move to their areas, which usually have dwindling or ageing populations.
The mayor of Maenza, Claudio Sperduti, said that putting the town on the scheme was part of a “pact for the rebirth” of the village, and aims to recover around 100 disused properties by liaising between existing owners and potential buyers, according to the publication.
He told CNN: “We’re taking it one step at a time. As original families get in touch and hand over to us their old houses, we place these on the market through specific public notices on our website to make it all very transparent.”
According to the scheme’s website, the town’s administration wants to “combat the abandonment of the ancient medieval village of the city center”, which is located about 70km southeast of Rome.
Interested buyers need to commit to renovating the properties within three years. Some are dilapidated and pose a danger to the public.
Buyers also need to pay a deposit guarantee of €5,000, which will be returned once the renovation works are completed.
Detailed plans on what the property will become, whether it is a home or converted into a bed and breakfast, shop or restaurant, must be filed.
Local officials will try to match interested buyers to their individual property requests, and while applications for the first few houses closes at the end of this month the mayor revealed that more will go on the market as talks get underway with homeowners, The Independent said.
It will not be mandatory for buyers to live in the homes they buy and renovate, but Sperduti said families with children and young couples who want to live in Maenza on a semi-permanent basis are encouraged to apply.
The 1 Euro Houses Project started when some Italian municipalities launched initiatives to counter the abandonment of towns and villages by local populations and revive areas struggling.