Real Estate Blog

How to ensure the building capacity of a land parcel

11 Dec 2018

Legal, by broosco team

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A parcel is the land located outside an approved urban plan or outside the boundaries of a settlement and can be built only under specific conditions.

Consequently, before buying such a property, one should make sure that he appoints an engineer and a lawyer to check:

a) the property deeds so as to clarify the way this land was created (if e.g. it is a part of a major land being divided in the past) and

b) the urban terms applied on this specific parcel. The reason is that the urban legislation is vast and complicated.

The general terms defined by the current urban legislation are:

a) minimum surface of four thousand (4,000) sqm AND

b) frontage on a shared road of at least 25 meters.

If according to the registered property deeds the parcel of land exists as is before the 31-12-2003 then the first condition (4000 s.m. surface) is enough, unless if it's located on a national, provincial, or municipal road, when also a frontage of 45 meters is demanded.

The urban authorities are very meticulous in the exanination of the property documents insisting on proof that the specific parcel wasn't the result of a division of a major land area after that date (31-12-2003).

Apart from the building capacity of a parcel, the most common issues that come up when deciding to buy one are:

a) the definition of the borders: parcels are usually limited by natural grades, wire, stone fence etc., which aren't always very specific. It's advisable to ask the owner to mark the property boundaries by putting at least some wooden or metal beams BEFORE you buy it in order to avoid future conflicts with neighbours.

b) the forestry office certificate: although it's a crucial document allowing or prohibiting the land's building capacity, it's not one of the justification documents the notary will demand from the seller in order to proceed to the purchase act. It's therefore a document YOU will insist on getting from the seller in order to make sure the land you wish to buy is NOT forestry land. The official registration of all properties at the forestry maps is currently taking place gradually in different areas of the country, so when the Forestry Maps are officially announced, the sale procedure will include the specific certificate according to the Forestry Maps which the seller will have to provide to the notary.

c) the topographic plan: the seller should provide an updated plan of the parcel defining the urban terms applied, the currently applied coordinates, if the land is close to archaeological sites or in a protection zone where construction is prohibited, close to a stream that has not been defined, to a seashore or a beach, in a residential control zone (ZOE) where residences are prohibited, or in zone Natura.

Stlill, the main issue when acquiring a parcel is above all it's capacity to be built. You can't rely to the seller and under circumstances nor to your engineer to clarify this, the reason being that each case is different and the only competent authority to provide a valid answer is the urban office. Try, therefore, to insist either on a certificate defining the building capacity of the land or even better on a construction approval (the first step of the building permit procedure) , both issued by the urban office and proceed to the final sale act once this is acquired.

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