The certificate of habitability/use of a property under Italian law

Real estate transactions in Italy can carry significant risks with regard to possible irregularities both in the property itself and in the associated documentation. Certain irregularities can, under certain conditions, even affect the validity of the purchase contract (absence of certificate of habitability/use, cadastral or urban non-compliance of the property).

The Italian Court of Cassation, through judgment no. 23604 of August 2, 2023, addressed the important question of the impact of the absence of the habitability/occupancy certificate (it certifies that the building and the installed installations comply to safety, hygiene standards, (health and energy saving requirements correspond) in real estate transactions and stressed that the absence of the certificate does not always and automatically result in the termination of the contract for breach of contract on the part of the seller.

If the absence of the certificate is due to the real and irremediable absence of the safety and hygiene and health requirements which make the good suitable for use, in this case the buyer can legitimately request the termination of the contract. 'purchase ; if the absence of the certificate is due to the lack of safety and hygiene requirements, but this defect can be corrected, this can be considered as a defect of the good and the buyer can alternatively request the termination of the contract or a price reduction. paid. However, if the absence of the certificate is of a purely formal nature (only the material document is missing), but the safety, health and hygiene requirements are met, the purchase contract cannot be terminated for this reason. In this case, the buyer will only be able to claim damages.

Regarding the correspondence between the current state and conditions of the property and the corresponding cadastral documents, Italian law provides for the nullity of any real estate transaction act if, in addition to the cadastral identification, the unit deeds real estate do not contain reference to the cadastral plan and the information provided by the owners of the property. The declaration made to the property contains that the cadastral data and maps correspond to the real state of the property.

It is therefore up to the parties (and in particular the Buyer) to ensure that: (i) the usability certificate is available; (ii) the actual state and conditions of the property correspond to the cadastral documents.

Contrary to popular belief, the notary is not obliged to check the cadastral and town planning conformity of the property and cannot refuse to accept a document if the certificate of habitability/use is not available.

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