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What is the holding account (deposito prezzo)?

Deposito prezzo is the term used for a specific bonded holding account for the balance of payment related to the purchase of an Italian property.

Deposito prezzo protects against the risk of legal claims or encumbrances that may arise between the signing and registration of the deed of sale at the land registry (catasto).

deposito prezzo

Once you have signed a deed of sale, it is sent to the land registry, where an official stamp is placed on the deed of sale. The registered deed of sale is returned to the notary you used to authenticate the transaction.

It generally takes two to three weeks to obtain the registered deed of sale and thereafter, you can obtain a copy from your notary.

Registration of the deed of sale is of paramount importance; until a property is registered, buyers are at risk of adverse legal issues coming to light. It is also crucial to check your copy of the deed of sale after registration to ensure that it is correct in every detail.

Following the introduction of Law no. 124/2017, article 1, from paragraph 63 onward, which came into force on 29 August 2017, purchasers may claim the right to request that the notary public keeps the outstanding balance of payment for a property in a specifically designated escrow account until such time as the land registry stamp is placed on the deed of sale, usually one to two days after signing it.

Buyers are exposed to the risk that, in the period between the date of signing the deed and the date of its registration, the vendor could become encumbered with unexpected debts or legal claims such as: outstanding mortgage payments, property seizure, an attachment, a court order, and so on.

While notaries endeavour to fulfil their obligation to get deeds of sale registered within 30 days of signing, any type of issue that arises at this stage can jeopardise the property conveyancing process.

To avoid any risk, if requested to do so, the notary must keep the balance of the purchase price in a dedicated bonded holding account pursuant to deposito prezzo provision. The balance is paid to the notary by the buyer until registration formalities are finalised. A registered deed of sale, provides certainty that the conveyance has been completed; that there are no legal claims and encumbrances. It is only further to this that the notary will transfer the balance of payment from the account reserved for deposito prezzo to the vendor, usually in one to two days from signing it.

Effects of deposito prezzo

Deposito prezzo must be requested by at least one of the parties to the transaction. The money, which the buyer pays to the notary (and it must be to the notary, not to the vendor), must be kept by the notary in a holding account that the notary has specifically opened for this purpose, “bonded holding account pursuant to Law 147/2013”.

This sum is absolutely safe. This holding account is completely separate from the patrimony of the notary, it does not fall into the notary’s personal succession plan or become part of the notary’s matrimonial regime property in case of death prior to your deed of sale registration.  the notary’s matrimonial regime.  Money held in the account can neither be confiscated by the notary’s creditors, nor can it be confiscated by the vendor’s creditors.

Moreover, the notary is not entitled to any interest generated by this account. Any interest accrued is in fact used to benefit small and medium-sized businesses in Italy.

Optional choice of deposito prezzo

The protection of deposito prezzo is optional: at the time the deed of sale is signed, the buyer, depending on the case, can opt to use or waive it.

It could be useful to communicate ahead of signing the decision to make use of deposito prezzo, so that the vendor and the notary can prepare for this. However, if there are serious and/ or unexpected grounds, a decision to use deposito prezzo can also be expressed directly at the time of signing the final deed of sale. Should you need further information concerning deposito prezzo, feel free to contact De Tullio Law Firm at this email address.

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