This article and tips were provided, by De Tullio Law Firm, to the British Consulate in 2011. Although the article pertains to a Calabrian case, information is relevant to all off-plan properties in Italy, wherever they are located.
The best advice I can give you before entering into a contract with a construction or renovation company is to call your legal advisor to get a contract drafted between you and the company you have chosen to carry out the work. A professionally drafted contract is your best protection should any problems with the construction works arise.
Whether there are issues with defective material, poor execution of works, deviations from the agreed plan or a request for additional money, a professionally drafted contract in both English and Italian will prevent a lot of problems, reduce stress and often save you a considerable amount of money. Read more
All binding legal documents relating to an Italian real estate transaction must be written in Italian, independent of the nationality of the parties.
Italian legal writing is highly technical, ritualistic and often archaic due to close links with Roman Law.
Ultimately it can appear obscure for people without a solid legal background in Italian law. On top of that, the profound differences between legal systems, more specifically between the English/American system based on Common Law and the Italian one based on Civil Law adds to the confusion. Read more
According to article 4 of the legislative decree 122/2005 the construction company is obliged to deliver to the buyer, at the moment of the transfer of ownership, an insurance policy as a guarantee for serious construction defects affecting the property. This insurance policy has a cover of 10 years.
How Can An English-Speaking Italian Property Lawyer Advise with The Purchase of A Property in Italy?
I am quite surprised when I hear people say that consulting an English-speaking Italian property lawyer when buying property in Italy is unnecessary, even a waste of money. Buying a home anywhere, including Italy, is probably one of the largest and most significant purchases you will make in your life.
It involves the law of Italian real estate property, which is complex and raises special issues of practice, and problems not present in other transactions and or jurisdictions. An Italian real estate attorney is a trained legal specialist, experienced at dealing with these problems.
Briefly, in the typical Italian home purchase, the buyer enters into a brokerage contract with a real estate agent, usually in writing. Negotiations with the vendor are conducted through the broker, who most often acts as an intermediary. Once an informal agreement is reached, buyer and seller enter into a formal written contract for the sale, the purchase agreement. The buyer pays deposits. Ownership is ascertained, titles, deeds and other due diligence needs to be undertaken. Finally, the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer, and the seller receives the purchase price stipulated in the contract. Read more
A recent topic of discussion is that of Emphyteusis, a regime which has its roots in Roman Law. It formed part of the feudal system and is connected with the agricultural economy. Farmers were offered the possibility to cultivate land thereby sustaining themselves. In return, farmers paid an annual ground rent or canon in money and or in kind. Read more
What is it for?
The Certificate of Habitability certifies the suitability of a residential property for human habitation. It is issued by the competent municipal offices following verification that the building and its systems comply with health, safety and structural stability regulations. According to law, prior to issuing this certificate, the competent authorities should also verify that the building complies with planning permission.
The case law of the Italian Supreme Court is unanimous in stating that in real estate transactions the certificate of habitability is one of the documents that the vendor must deliver to the buyer before completion. “The vendor of a property intended for residential use has a duty to deliver to the buyer the Certificate of Habitability without which the property is unmarketable”. (Cass. 23 of January 2009, n. 1701). Read more
In a previous post, I discussed the possibility of non-Italian nationals getting a mortgage to purchase an Italian property. This post provides a brief overview of some of the provisions contained in the European Mortgage Credit Directive (EMCD), which came in to force across all EU Member States in 2016, impacting the Italian mortgage and credit market. Read more
There are many legal aspects to consider when buying off-plan properties in Italy. We would always advise that you seek legal advice before investing. Developers and builders can be very persuasive, but whatever you do, don’t sign anything without taking independent professional advice.
Significant delays in delivery of off-plan properties is one aspect that irritates investors about Italian off-plan property purchases.
Buyers often try to integrate a late delivery penalty clause in agreements. However, enforcing penalty clauses is not easy. Often the agreement will have been drafted by the developer or builder. Where the developer or builder is a major company, penalty clauses are unlikely to have been mutually agreed between the company and the buyer. The agreement will therefore unilaterally favour the builder. Read more
I bought an Italian property and now there are big cracks in the walls. What can I do?
You moved in to your new Italian house three months ago and since then some serious cracks developed in a wall.
You called in a surveyor (geometra), who has informed you that there’s a serious structural problem. You expect to receive a full written report from the surveyor within the next few days. Read more