Buying tip - to checkI'll get round to renaming these posts or reorganising the whole blog, but meantime, there is also some info on buying in the 'Let's buy it' post.
However, here are details of a totally unexpected issue that you should be aware of if buying or renovating in Slovakia. Having alerted the local authorities way back to the fact that we would be renovating the house, at the beginning of October 2006 we received a letter saying that we need planning permission. Oops, work started quite some time ago.
To explain, we are not enlarging the house. We are adding a loggia, but only to the existing terrace. After much worrying we found out that the objection was to the new windows that we put in the roof. Windows? Are they crazy ??!Seeing as only fruit trees and the occasional deer could possibly have grounds to object to our new windows, we didn't initially take this very seriously. After further investigation though we discovered that the old boy who built the house never had planning permission for a 1st floor, even if he did prepare for it structurally. Fair enough to him. Why would anyone pay the taxman extra for something that can't be seen and is only for one's own personal enjoyment ? like a bedroom.
It does cost more to get permission for an upstairs, and obviously it costs a lot more to heat which explains why most older houses only have a ground floor.
Another case of, 'when is a roof a roof, and when is it an extra 3 rooms' ? Luckily though the local pen-pushers don't seem to be on a vendetta and things have now been arranged without too much acrimony or expense. But it was a warning. Partly our fault because we didn't use an architect and we didn't tell the lawyer what we were planning to do with the house. Had we done either I believe we would have avoided this hiccup.