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.