Q Question: What are the building and planning permit requirements for an Italian property?
A Answer: In Italy you need to comply with building rules and regulations in order to do any construction work on an Italian property. For example, you typically need permits to build a property, to add an extension, for renovations as well as remodeling work, even small projects.
If you do not comply with the construction work rule above, there might be a building violation.
Depending on the nature and entity of the work to be done, or work that has already been done, you might need to pursue one of the following options:
- Building Notice: If you do minor work, without any impact, or with nominal impact, on zoning and property value that does not make a substantial alteration to the property surface area, you need to notify the local Municipal authority about the work that needs to be done. The Italian term for such notice depends on specific case circumstances. Common notices are: Dichiarazione di Inizio attività (or DIA), or Comunicazione di Inizio Lavori – (CIL/CILA) or Segnalazione Certificata di Inizio Lavori (SCIA).
- Building Permit (Permesso di Costruire): If you do more substantial work you need a Building Permit. You need to apply for a Permit, and it needs to be granted, prior to starting the work.
- Formal Building Amnesty (Permesso in Sanatoria, or just Sanatoria): If you start the construction work without a notice or a building permit, you might be able to regularize your position by filing a Sanatoria. You file a Formal Building Amnesty (Sanatoria) to update the property record. You can apply for a Formal Building Amnesty when the work done is not in conflict with mandatory rules and regulations. You cannot get a Sanatoria if, for example, you have done work that, had you asked for a permit, it would have been denied.
- Substantial Building Amnesty (Condono Edilizio, or Condono): If you have done work that goes against local building rules and you cannot get a Formal Building Amnesty (Sanatoria), you might be able to fix the situation through a Condono. A Condono is possible only if the government passes a special Condono law that determines the applicable terms. In the past the government established deadlines to file Condono applications for certain types of building violations done before a certain dates.
If you are buying a property you want to make sure that the construction is fully compliant with building rules and regulations and that the owner gives you a complete copy of any notice, permit or amnesty that was processed for the property. The Italian Supreme Court in March 2019 reiterated the duty for the buyer to carry out a proper due diligence, instead of relying merely on the representations by the owner.
Also, if you are selling a property, you want to make sure that it is fully compliant and that your owner’s disclosure report is complete and accurate. Recent building compliance rules are stricter than past rules. If you acquired the property before 2011, it is possible that compliance issues that were not detected and/or addressed at the time of your acquisition might be flagged under current laws and might represent an obstacle to complete the transaction. Current sanctions and fines are more severe, thus today’s compliance issues might prevent the sale of the same unaltered property.
Based on recent statistics by the National Italian Mortgage Association (Assovib), approximately 40% of Italian properties have compliance issues that need to be addressed in order for the sale to be completed.
If a building compliance violation is found after the owner has accepted a buyer’s purchase offer, this can represent legal ground for owner’s breach of contract, with severe financial consequences such as compensation claims from the buyer.
We offer assistance selecting and instructing local surveyors to review property building compliance and to fix any building violations before the property transfer.
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