The legal framework regulating international property sales in Italy is governed by Italian law and international treaties
For international property sales, where there there is a conflict between Italian and International laws, Italian law will prevail.
Art.51 of the Italian law n. 218 (31st May, 1995) states that a real estate conveyance will be regulated by the law of the place where the property is located.
The Rome Convention binding all EU Member States (19th June, 1980) regulates the law applicable to contractual obligations.
Choice of law
The signatories to a contract may choose the applicable law for the whole or part of a contract and select the court which will have jurisdiction over any disputes. By mutual agreement, the parties may change the law applicable to the contract at any time (known as the principle of freedom of choice).
If the parties have not made an explicit choice of applicable law, the contract will be governed by the law of the country with which it is most closely connected, according to the principle of place of habitual residence, place of central administration of a party to the contract, principal place of business or location of a business responsible for performing the contract. However, specific rules apply in the following case:
- where the contract concerns immovable property, the law applicable by default is that of the country in which the property is situated.
As a consequence, if a property is located in Italy and the sale involves individuals who are resident in Italy or elsewhere, the transaction will always be subject to the legal requirements of Italian law.
The jurisdiction of courts in civil and commercial matters
EC Regulation 44/2001 lays down rules governing the jurisdiction of the courts in civil and commercial matters. A judgment given in an EU Member State is automatically recognised. No special proceedings are necessary unless recognition is contested.
According to this Regulation, in the case of real estate transactions, the exclusive jurisdiction will belong to the Courts of the country where the property is located. Consequently, if the property is located in Italy, the exclusive jurisdiction will belong to the Italian Courts.
If you are uncertain as to what your situation is, it is advisable to contact an Italian lawyer. At De Tullio Law Firm, we have extensive knowledge and experience of Italian and international law. For over 55 years, we have been providing specialist legal services for residential and commercial property sales and purchases throughout Italy. Whatever your legal matter in Italy, Get in touch with usfor a free consultation.