Living near a lake stream or river in waterside homes is definitely high on a lot of people’s wish list when they are house hunting in Portugal.
Living near an inland water course is probably more attractive to many than living “front line” at the coast. For one you don’t have the constant problems with salt and sand scouring your property and making everything- and I mean everything rust.
As we are talking about Portugal there are of course some things to consider that are not the norm in your home country. Expecting or assuming that they will be could end up costing you dearly.
Take for example a plot of land that I know of.
It extends right up to the edge of the lake. I am a keen fisherman and have had my eye on this plot for quite a while.
In my mind’s eye I can see a perfect 2 bed cottage with outside barbeque and a large porch ready to welcome me back home after a hard days fishing at the bottom of my garden PARADISE !
Well indeed I thought it was until I drove past the plot in July and across the lake I could see lots of brightly coloured tents with no one around them.
While having lunch in a nearby café I asked the owner if the scouts were camped at the lake he said scouts! No these are definitely not scouts they are young people from Lisbon who spend most weekends of the summer at the lake taking drugs, having sex, drinking and playing music loudly all night. (his words not mine)
While this broad brush comment may not be wholly true it certainly pushed this plot to the bottom of the list and I drove away for the last time very disappointed.
Take another situation where an old stone house has been standing along the side of a river for at least 100 years. Just when the new foreign owner buys it the riverside retaining wall collapses allowing the water to access the base of the wall and in a very short time make it collapse.
Who do you call, who is responsible?
In your home country there would be a well publicized phone number that you could call. There may not actually be anyone who cares or does anything as a result of your call but you will feel better “having let someone know”!
The first point of contact here is at your local Camara. The engineer will come out and take a look. He may then tell you that it’s the river authorities problem and you should contact them.
Here is what I recommend you do. Call the authority and make an appointment to go in and see them (face to face is always best) You could also ask the person you speak to at the Camara to call them on behalf and make your appointment for you.
Take with you clear photographs and a Google earth map and co ordinates of exactly where the problem is. (its good to also have this information in a form that can be easily emailed to the person you talk to) If you do this you have given them some of the information so that they can start writing their report and get the ball rolling. Once they inspect the problem they can decide if it is indeed their responsibility or that of the local authority.
Summer and Winter
My final comments about living next to water concern the different water levels in summer and winter. On my list of potential home sites next to idyllic fishing I know of an old ruin that looks out on to a river which has water in it all year (important) In the summer there are pools with fish that are also ideal for wild swimming. Sitting on a large rock by the waters edge in the dappled sun I was idly thinking how fantastic this would be if only the owner would drop the price a little. I then noticed a line of debris, twigs plastic bags and so on in the bushes above my head height. When I stood up I could see another line of rubbish about 3 meters above the current summer water level. As I scanned the line around the land I estimated that it had come 1 to 1 & ½ metes up the side of the house. So that’s why there was no one living in it !
Both of these problems prove that it is best to take your time when buying land. fall in love with it by all means but be thorough in your research.