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'Empty' village offers cut-price home rent to 'repopulate' the area
By thinkSPAIN Team Sun, Jan 11, 2015
A VILLAGE in the north-western region of Galicia is seeking tenants for €100 a month to 'repopulate' it, since nearly three-quarters of the population has left.
A Xesta, a hamlet which belongs to the larger village of A Lama, has 176 houses but only 50 residents – 27 of the properties stand empty all year round and the rest are only weekend or summer homes.
Only two children are registered on the padrón, or census, and there are no births, since residents of working age have had to move elsewhere to be nearer bigger towns with jobs available.
And those left, retirees, are gradually dying off from old age with each decade that passes.
In light of the ever-declining population, the comfortably-sized stone houses in this picturesque location are up for rent for just €100 a month.
Owners, mainly younger adults who live elsewhere and have inherited the properties from parents or grandparents, are keen to keep the village from crumbling and becoming deserted, and say they do not want to make a significant income from their homes – rather, just keep them in use.
Tenants will be required to pay for maintenance works, and certain cosmetic renovations may be needed as many have not been lived in for 15 or 20 years, but very few need structural repairs.
Most have very large allotments or even small farms attached.
So far, several hundred people have called the owners about renting the properties, saying they want to live in a quiet country location – even though they work an hour away by car.
They say they are pleasantly surprised by the villagers' attempts to keep their little country enclave alive, since it is very uncommon for owners of second homes to want to rent them out even when they are empty for most or all of the year.
And in practice, living in 'the sticks' in A Xesta would not be entirely incompatible with needing to work – the larger village of A Lama, which has supermarkets, a health centre and pharmacy is just 15 kilometres away and the provincial capital city of Pontevedra is 40 kilometres away.
Homeowners are keen to give A Xesta a new lease of life, especially in the autumn, winter and spring, since many of the families who have emigrated – mainly to México or Brazil – often return there in summer, particularly as it is winter in Brazil when it is summer in Spain, which is also the hottest part of the year in México but more temperate in Galicia.
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