UK Resident Selling Property in Italy

Consider getting independent legal advice if you plan to buy or sell property in Italy, a country where you may not be familiar with the language or the procedures and associated technicalities.

 

Legal representation for both the buyer and seller is not common in Italy during the sale or purchase of a home. While this may seem like an overly complicated process, it’s actually the Notaio’s job to double-check for errors and give sound advice to the buyer and seller.

 

As a seller, you should expect to receive a detailed formal offer from an interested buyer if you’re working with an estate agency. A check for the deposit (referred to as the “caparra”) will be included with the formal offer. Upon acceptance, you will be entitled to this deposit and the offer will become a “compromesso,” also known as the preliminarily agreed upon agreement.

 

Consequently, it is imperative that any offer received by a real estate agent be carefully checked before it is signed. Any clauses that will adequately safeguard you can be suggested for inclusion by a lawyer. A lawyer should also review the mandate of any agent before it is signed.

 

If you need more time before the sale can go through, signing a preliminary contract in a private sale may be worth it. For example, if you inherit a property and have found a buyer but cannot sell until the Italian succession procedure is complete, a preliminary contract would be useful. It could also be used to bind the buyer and seller together in a single transaction.

 

Unless both parties agree to an extension, the completion date specified in the preliminary contract is binding on both parties. If the seller fails to complete the project by the agreed-upon date, the buyer has the right to cancel the contract and demand a refund of their deposit plus any damages they have suffered as a result of the seller’s failure to deliver. After this date, the seller can rescind, keep the deposit they’ve received, and demand damages from the buyer if they don’t finish the transaction.

 

One reason the seller might not be able to complete is because of issues with the property’s compliance. The Land Registry must be updated before a property can be sold if, for example, renovations or construction have been performed without the necessary authorization or planning permissions. Due to more stringent building codes today, these problems may have gone unnoticed during the purchase process. Prior to signing a preliminary contract, you should be aware of any issues that may prevent you from meeting the agreed-upon deadline for the sale of your property.

 

To ensure the property has all necessary planning permissions and that the floor plans registered with the Land Registry accurately reflect its current state, we recommend hiring a local architect or surveyor, regardless of whether you’re the buyer or seller (the seller has to declare that it is in the deed of sale).

 

Civil and criminal consequences can result from selling a property knowing that it has construction or other issues (the deed of sale could be annulled and damages, along with the full purchase price, awarded to the buyer).

 

In order to avoid purchasing a property with problems that will have consequences in the future, a buyer should either obtain this report or request that the seller provide one.

 

There must be a “certificato di agibilita'” (certificate of agibilita’) in the condominium building if an apartment is to be sold (a certificate which confirms that the building containing the apartment adheres to all the health and safety regulations). It is possible for a buyer to demand that it be included in the deed of sale, despite the fact that its absence does not necessarily prevent a sale or risk the deed being annulled in the future. It is possible that the buyer will claim breach of the preliminary contract if the seller fails to deliver by this deadline and demand a refund of the deposit in full. As a result, the buyer is likely to ask for a discount on the purchase price because this certificate is missing.

 

The Notaio will suggest a date for a meeting (“il rogito”) where all parties will be present to hear the deed of sale read out, iron out any last-minute issues, and sign the deed of sale once all checks have been completed and any other issues have been resolved.

 

Alternatively, you can instruct someone else to sign the deed on your behalf using a Power of Attorney. A certified translator must translate the deed into English before you sign it in person if you do not speak Italian.

 

It is the seller’s responsibility to provide Notaio with copies of all relevant planning permissions, as well as the property energy certificate and certificate of use for the land (such as proof of title). Condominium administrators must also sign a letter stating that there are no outstanding payments when selling an apartment.

 

On top of that, the seller will have to pay a 20% capital gains tax (Plusvalenza) on the sale of the property. If the property is being sold within five years of purchase and is not registered as the seller’s primary residence, the seller is liable for any damages that may occur. If the property was inherited, capital gains tax will not be applied.

 

The “imposte di registro,” or registration taxes, are the responsibility of the buyer (Registration taxes). Taxes are based on a percentage of the property’s “valore catastale,” or tax value, not its sale price.

 

This property will only be taxed at 2% if the buyer declares that it will be their primary residence (“prima casa”). Within 18 months of the deed being signed, however, the buyer must register as a resident at his new property’s address in order to avoid hefty fines and penalties.

 

If the seller has an Italian bank account, the buyer can hand over a banker’s draught at the rogito or make a bank transfer to cover the remaining balance. These funds may be held on account by the Notaio and then transferred to the seller.

 

It may take up to 14 working days after signing the deed of sale before the seller receives any money from the sale of the property because the financial institution must conduct checks to ensure that they have first claim on the property.

 

The transaction is complete and the keys are handed over to the new owner once the deed of sale has been signed by all parties. It is the Notaio’s responsibility to pay all applicable taxes and fees on behalf of the buyer, and to update the Land Registry to reflect the transfer of ownership, as well as any associated charges, of the property just sold.

 

Whether you’re buying or selling a home in Italy, the services below are what you may need:

 

  • Inquiring into the original deed of sale, the floor plans, and the Land Registry entries to determine if there are any outstanding charges on the property and if there are any potential building or land registry issues;
  • Contacting and verifying the authority of any real estate agents;
  • Assisting a local architect or surveyor to provide a detailed report on the property and advise on any issues, how to fix any problems, and the costs and timings of the same;
  • Preliminary contract for sale; verifying the formal offer to purchase
  • Working with condominium managers to ensure that all necessary certificates are in place, and requesting a declaration from the building’s owner.
  • Assisting the Notary with any questions or concerns;
  • organising the translation of any relevant documents;
  • Compiling all of the necessary paperwork;
  • Providing you with information about your tax obligations and other expenses;
  • examining the draught sale agreement;
  • To ensure that another person can attend the completion on your behalf, you should prepare a bilingual Power of Attorney
  • The rogito, if requested, will be attended on your behalf or with you.
  • Assuring that the sale has been recorded and that the transfer has been completed.
  • Recommending the transfer of utility names and advising on ongoing liabilities, such as property taxes, after the completion of the project.

 

 

 

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