Renovating a property in Italy is a complex process requiring a wide range of competencies
Renovating a property in Italy means making sure all the work meets legal requirements. Otherwise, you run the risk of criminal prosecution.
Before renovating a property in Italy, do your homework
Obtaining legal assistance will make the entire renovation process easier and crucially, ensure that all legal requirements are met in a timely manner.
Legal support can save you money and mitigate the risk of criminal liabilities and prosecution.
Legal due diligence is key
Before you buy a renovation project in Italy, it is vital to do some in-depth research about the property. This legal due diligence step verifies, amongst other things, the compliance status with municipal planning and land registry documentation.
At De Tullio Law Firm, we offer a complete range of services to assess the legal situation before you purchase a property or before you start renovation work.
Firstly, we can check that the current (de facto) condition and the official (de jure) condition of the property match all the documentation lodged with the cadastre. Secondly we can search for all the planning and building permits lodged with the Municipal Technical Office and check these are in order. Thirdly, we can ascertain from municipal records that the entire property – including any additions and outbuildings, have all the relevant planning consents.
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Without the above, you will not be able to obtain authorisation to commence renovation works. Renovating the property will require that you apply for the relevant permits issued by the local municipality.
Buying to renovate
Once you are sure that the property meets legal requirements and structural specifications and if you have decided to proceed with the purchase, having a legal professional on your side will be helpful in negotiating the property price and ensuring the purchase goes smoothly.
Choose a specialist property lawyer with expertise in building law and regulations. Bear in mind that if down the line, you undertake any work that is not legally compliant, you run the risk of prosecution. In Italy this can mean a protracted, costly matter and will obviously require legal services. In the long run, it may be more cost-effective to budget legal services from the outset of your project.
Steps involved in renovating a property in Italy
Design and Planning
Once you own the property, technical experts – a surveyor and/or an architect – assess its de facto condition and design the renovation work.
Plans must meet provisions of current legislation, with particular regard to energy efficiency and sanitation regulations.
You will also need to respect zoning and planning regulations in the design.
In order to draw up suitable tenders, you should make a complete list of materials and finishes at the design phase.
Subsequently, you will need to choose a building company to carry out the work.
This step involves submitting the executive project – drawn up by your surveyor or architect – and the above-mentioned specification list of the works to at least three companies. In this way, you have a comparison to help choose the most competitive and suitable offer.
Usually, for refurbishment, there are three types of companies involved (construction, electrician, plumber).
To simplify management of the work, it is advisable to contract only one company, who will then sub-contract the work. It is vital to check that your chosen building company conforms with Italian fiscal requirements, in particular through the DURC (Documento Unico di Regolarità Contributiva), a document proving that the company makes social security contributions on behalf of its employees.
In order to avoid conflicts of interest, it is advisable to nominate a project manager unrelated to the building company.
The next key step is to draw up a detailed contract between yourself and the building company. This is an area that requires a thorough understanding of the law. Your building contract guarantees your legal protection during and following the completion of your building work. The contract is of paramount importance, especially if you need to seek legal recourse at some point. You should ensure that your contract is legally binding and specifies the building company’s duties.
It is also advisable to check what tax deductions and/or funding is available. Even if you have already started renovation work, incentives periodically become available.
Building permits and starting renovations
You will need to officially declare the property owner, project manager and building company and apply for the relevant building permit. Your local municipal technical office is responsible for providing a building permit. When you have received the relevant authorisation, building work can commence.
A Safety and Coordination Plan (Piano di Sicurezza e Coordinamento) must be drawn up pursuant to Legislative decree 81/08, and a Safety Coordinator (Coordinatore della Sicurezza in fase di Esecuzione) must be appointed to supervise the building procedure. The building company must comply with the terms specified in this document as well as draft its own Operational Safety Plan (Piano Operativo di Sicurezza, POS). All waste produced on the construction site must be properly managed and treated in compliance with local disposal laws.
Once work is complete, you will need to have everything assessed, inspected and approved. Then the cadastral value of the property needs updating in the land registry and you can apply for a certificate of habitability.
Are you considering renovating a property in Italy? Are you experiencing problems with a renovation project in Italy? If you would like support or further information, our legal professionals can help. We can make your project easier by guiding, advising and protecting you through the entire procedure. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also be interested in Building a House in Italy: a short step by step guide.
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