Defects and non-compliances in Italian property purchases

During our legal careers, my father and I have encountered numerous improbable scenarios in the realm of property transactions. From couples discovering they bought a property that didn’t legally belong to the vendor to families facing hidden defects and non-compliances in their dream homes, the risks can be significant when buying real estate in Italy.

Importance of Professional Advice

Many buyers, both Italian and non-Italian, seek ways to save costs during the property buying process, often at the expense of professional advice. Relying solely on the vendor or real estate agent’s representations about the property may work out well, but it also presents potential risks.

The Consequences of Ignoring Professional Advice

Once a buyer signs a reservation offer, preliminary contract, or the deed of sale and invests a substantial amount of money, seeking legal recourse in case of defects or non-compliances becomes challenging. Without prior independent, professional advice, rectifying issues can become complex, frustrating, and costly.

The Importance of a Geometra

Engaging a qualified surveyor (geometra) to survey the property before finalizing the purchase can help identify defects and non-compliances. If issues are discovered, the surveyor can recommend seeking independent legal advice, enabling the buyer to explore various options under the Italian Civil Code, such as contract termination or price adjustment.

Protection for Promissory Buyers

Article 1460 of the Italian Civil Code offers protection for promissory buyers facing defects that the vendor failed to disclose during the transaction. Such buyers have the option to terminate the contract if the vendor concealed a known defect or to negotiate for repairs or a price adjustment to address the issue.

Dealing with Financial Charges

Article 1482 of the Italian Civil Code protects promissory buyers who uncover undisclosed financial charges on the property during due diligence, such as mortgages or liens. In such cases, the buyer can request a suspension of purchase payments until the property is cleared of encumbrances.

Seeking Knowledge and Support

It is essential to understand the risks involved in a property investment in Italy. If you are a promissory buyer seeking support, guidance, or advice regarding defects and non-compliances, do not hesitate to get in touch.

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