Your Property and the legal requirements

March 2020

If you own a house in Italy then you are probably more concerned with the beautiful view than with the requirements imposed on your property by Italian law. Yet it is important to consider this, especially if you intend to sell your property. Experience has taught us that many homes do not fully meet current legal requirements. And without full conformity, a property cannot be transferred (anymore) by the notary and is in fact difficult to sell. And as a seller you are responsible for the legal situation.

Building permit

Your home was once built on the basis of an issued building permit. That may have been a long time ago, certainly if you are the proud owner of an age-old home, but that may also be more recent. You or the previous owner also had to apply for a permit for any renovations or modifications to the property. For the future buyer it is important to have certainty that the home has not been illegally rebuilt or even built. Experience has shown that homes have often been modified over the years without the required permission. An extra window, an extension or even a swimming pool could have been build in the past without considering the legal requirements. A permit is required for all these situations. Italian law stipulates that a property can only be transferred if it fully meets the issued building permit (s). A property that does not meet this requirement will not be transferred by the notary. It must then be examined whether the modifications can still be legalized. There are various possibilities to consider if you doubt whether your home is 100% legal. It is advisable to consult a good Italian geometra about this.

Land Registry

Italian law requires that every home is properly described in the local land register. In practice, this means the presence of floor plans that accurately reflect the current layout of your home. These floor plans must be included in the cadastre of buildings. In addition, there must be a map in with the contours of the property are drawn in. This map must be present in the land registry. For the notarial transfer, these documents must be submitted to the notary, after which they are attached to the notarial deed as attachments. If you do not have the correct cadastral documents for your home, this must still be done. It is advisable to consult an Italian geometra.

Other documents

For the notarial transfer you must also have a valid energy performance certificate (APE) and a certificato di agibilità (habitability certificate). If these documents are missing please consult an Italian geometra.



If the property does not (yet) meet the requirements set by law and the land registry, we recommend taking all the necessary steps. Your property cannot be sold if it does not meet all legal and cadastral requirements. And even more important: in every Italian purchase contract and notarial deed, the seller guarantees to the buyer that the property to be transferred meets the legal requirements in all respects. If the seller cannot meet this guarantee, major financial consequences can occur! To prevent these risks it is worth considering asking a geometra to prepare a so-called 'relazione tecnica'. We will elaborate on this in a subsequent article.

Ronald de Rooy

Managing partner & Other regions