Italian Real Estate Leaseback Scheme

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Italian Real Estate Leaseback Scheme: buying a house in instalments

The 2016 Stability Law introduces a new real estate leaseback contract, which allows the purchase of a property without resorting to a mortgage.real estate leaseback

The real estate leaseback scheme is a financial product for those whose annual income does not exceed 55,000 Euro and are in a position to take advantage of first home benefits, in other words, people who do not already own another property.

The contract can only be entered into by individuals and banks or leasing companies. The bank or leasing company commits to buy, or to build, a property on behalf of a client, who then becomes the property lessee. The property is therefore owned by the lender, while the lessee has the right to use the property upon payment of an initial instalment and a monthly rent thereafter. Read more

Italian Property Buying Process

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buying process

At What Stage of the Buying Process Should You Contact a Property Lawyer in Italy?

People planning to buy an Italian property frequently ask me at what point of the buying process they should involve a lawyer.

On the one hand, people worry that if they contact a lawyer too soon, they will end up wasting their time or incur unnecessary additional costs when they might not actually proceed with a property purchase immediately. Read more

Buying properties in Italy is a major decision

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buying properties

Buying properties in Italy is a major decision. Proceed with caution. Do your research. Always get independent advice.

Continued slow economic growth in Italy is helping to keep property prices low and therefore attractive for those looking to invest. Interest rates show no sign of substantially increasing in 2016 either in The UK or in the Eurozone. 2016 is therefore looking to be another year when many Britons will purchase an Italian property.

Each year, I am engaged by clients whose Italian property purchase started out as an impulse decision, driven more by emotional than rational considerations. Unfortunately, at some point during the purchase, the dream has turned in to a nightmare. All sorts of additional costs are incurred; costs which could have been completely avoided if legal advice had been sought prior to purchase. Read more

2019 Stability Law – Flat-Rate Tax Scheme

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Usucapion

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Usucapion

‘Limitation of actions’

Usucapion (usucapione) is a legal procedure which can give you ownership of a property in Italy without need of any specific title such as a deed of purchase or a Will and without any agreement with the owner of the property. Usucapione pictures one legal situation which is connected with possession of a property which must be without violence. This possession must take place, with public knowledge. After a number of years which can be 10 or 20 depending on the circumstances, you can obtain the legal title and become the legal owner of this property; this happens even if you aware the owner of the property is someone else.Usucapion

You become owner of a property belonging to someone else if you possess the asset i.e. you make use of it somehow for a period of time and if you behave, during this time, as if you were the owner of this property.

On the other hand, the true owner should have behaved by not showing any interest in this property, letting the property be implicitly used by another party; typically someone moving abroad, not taking care of this property and neglecting it.

What is the purpose of this? Usucapion has the legal purpose of giving certainty to legal relationships giving a privilege to someone not being the owner, who nevertheless takes care of it. In relation to the owner not taking care of it and neglecting it completely.

20 years for real estate assets, acquired in bad faith. This starts from the moment of possession. While this becomes 10 years if you obtain possession in good faith. This period of time must be continuous with no interruptions, in order to convert this factual condition (possession) into ownership it is necessary to obtain a court decision to declare that usucapione occurred. It is a ‘factual’ condition and must be recognized in court. You can give evidence in any way but this typically takes place through witnesses. The peaceful possession taking place throughout time without interruptions can give title of ownership of a property. However it is necessary to obtain a court decision declaring usucapione is taking place.

Therefore if you own property in Italy which you have neglected for sometime it is advisable to consult an attorney to prevent the risks connected with usucapione.

Please note, any statement made in this article is intended to be a general practical introductory explanation only and not formal legal advice. This firm accepts no liability or any responsibility for any statement made.

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What is a certificate of occupancy?

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Certificate of occupancy in transactions of properties in Italy

The Certificate of Occupancy (also called Certificate of Habitability) certifies the suitability of a residential property as being fit 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 the certificate of occupancy, the competent authorities should also verify that the building complies with planning permission.

The case law of the 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. As a matter of fact the buyer has the full right to verify that the property is suitable to satisfy his legitimate interest, that is the usability and marketability of the property. The above mentioned certificate can be considered an essential requirement of the building because it has direct effects on the legal use of the property as stipulated in the contract.

Unless otherwise stipulated in contractual agreements, the responsibility to provide the certificate of habitability belongs to the vendor. In case of delay or failure to deliver a certificate of habitability, there is a clear case of non execution of a contractual obligation (breach of contract). A recent decision by the Supreme Court states that, “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).

In case of absence of certificate of habitability the property can nevertheless be transferred with a notarial deed of sale but only with the buyer’s express, written consent. Verifying the existence of the certificate of habitability before completion of the purchase of a property should certainly be part of the legal due diligence.

Please note, any statement made in this article is intended to be a general practical introductory explanation only and not formal legal advice. This firm accepts no liability or any responsibility for any statement made.

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Italian real estate attorneys and Italian inheritance attorneys

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Legal responsibilities of real estate agents in Italy

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Real estate agents in Italy

Legal responsibilities of real estate agents in Italy

According to the Law 39/1989 real estate agents must be registered with their local Chamber of Commerce. If the agent is not registered, he will then be liable to fines and other penalties and he will not be entitled to the agreed commission. This legislation also provides an important guarantee for the consumer, in that it requires the agent to have adequate insurance cover in order to practise their profession. The scope of such insurance policy must provide the consumer with cover in the event of  professional negligence on the part of the agent.

According to article 1759 of the Italian Civil Code the real estate agent must make certain disclosures to the parties if s/he knows or becomes aware of matters which strike at the roots of a transaction – your Italian Attorney can advise in full detail on such situations. Whilst the real estate agent is not required to undertake any technical-juridical investigations concerning the property which might have an impact on the transaction (legal due diligence), he is nevertheless charged with duties to disclose information according to the principles of  normal professional diligence. The  agent is therefore obliged to give information on each circumstance within his knowledge or that he should have known about under those principles . To impart wrong or non-verified information to a party would not be acceptable according to the law.

Failure to abide by such principles could result in contractual liability and trigger the right of the consumer to request repayment of the commission. In special circumstances the consumer could also be entitled to request compensation in the form of  damages.

If the culpable silence of a real estate agent induced the consumer to finalize a contract under different conditions than he would otherwise have done had he been properly informed, then the real estate agent could be responsible to pay for the consumer’s losses.

According to article 1755 Civil Code, if the deal is closed thanks to his intervention, the real estate agent is entitled to a commission from both parties. Such a right could arise from a point as early as  the signing of the preliminary contract, assuming that it were otherwise complete in all its essential elements.

In order to be entitled to the commission the real estate agent must have played a decisive role in the transaction. Simply generating the lead of a potential buyer without accomplishing any other task is not enough.

The law does not stipulate or control the rate of  commission, and this can therefore always be freely agreed by the parties. It is always advisable to agree the commission in writing.

Please note, any statement made in this article is intended to be a general practical introductory explanation only and not formal legal advice. This firm accepts no liability or any responsibility for any statement made.

Contact us today. We can help.

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