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).
A buyer has the right to verify that the property is suitable, that it is useable and will be marketable at a later date. The Certificate is an essential requirement of the building because it has direct effects on the legal use of the property as stipulated in the contract.
Who shall provide the Certificate of Habitability?
Unless otherwise stipulated in contractual agreements, the responsibility to provide the Certificate of Habitability belongs to the vendor. In case of a delay or a failure to deliver the Certificate, there is a clear case of non execution of a contractual obligation (breach of contract).
Where no Certificate of Habitability exists, the property can 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 be part of the buyer’s legal due diligence.