QQuestion: What is an Italian Certificate of Habitability?
For example, the Certificate of Habitability is proof of compliance with the earthquake-resistant standards designated by Italian law for each geographic area. The Certificate of Habitability is necessary to render a property legally habitable as well as connect the property to utilities such as water, gas and electric. Some Italian regional laws require the habitability certificate to be in place to grant a bed and breakfast license.
As an alternative to the Certificate of Habitability you can refer to the “Affidavit of Habitability“. For example, if you renovate your property you can have a licensed surveyor (e.g., an Italian engineer or architect) to fill out and sign a form that represent an Affidavit of Habitability and which has mostly the same exact effects of a Certificate of Habitability. This option (Affidavit as opposed to the Certificate) can be very helpful in situations where the municipality cannot find on record a Certificate of Habitability for your property.
Bear in mind that in Italy it is legal to sell a property without Certificate of Habitability. For example, a property can be sold even if it is a ruin or has an outdated electric system. However, if the owner does not disclose in advance to the buyer that the property does not meet habitability standards, the buyer has legal ground to claim breach of contract, price reduction etc.
If you are interested in purchasing an Italian property, ensure that the owner has a valid certificate (or affidavit) of habitability in place prior to making your offer. When a property is sold as residential, the owner has a duty to provide said habitability or disclose its not existence before accepting a purchase offer. If the property does not have a habitability certificate in place, you can still agree to buy the property. Lack of habitability certificate in a residential property sale entitles the buyer to claim vendor’s breach of contract and, in most cases, ask for double the deposit back.
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