Legal - D&G Property Advice
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The Italian Legal environment and entitlement to buy in Italy

From time to time, we’re asked about the legal requirements to buy in Italy.

Who can buy, and who cannot buy in Italy?

Italy’s Reciprocity law essentially states that in the absence of any bi-lateral agreement regarding property between 2 countries, foreigners (non-Italian citizens) are entitled to acquire property in Italy in the same way Italians are legally able to buy property in the foreigner’s own country.

Italy’s Reciprocity law essentially states that in the absence of any bi-lateral agreement regarding property between 2 countries, foreigners are entitled to acquire property in Italy in the same way Italians are permitted to buy in that same foreigner’s own country.

This implies that where any property-buying restrictions do exist for Italians buying in foreign countries, the same restrictions could be applied to the foreigner in Italy, generally speaking. However there are exceptions. As stated above, where Italy has agreed with specific foreign governments that the foreign citizen can buy in Italy without specific restrictions, then these reciprocity rules do not apply. Examples of such exceptions include China and Australia.

It’s important to note that you don’t need to hold Italian residency rights before you buy property in Italy. You can buy for investment purposes initially, and decide later if and when you want to move to Italy (and can stay legally) on a permanent basis.

You can discuss the legal aspects of the purchase with a notary, who interprets all Italian property laws, and ensures they are followed, before signing the final binding purchase and sale agreement.

The Notary (Notaio) in Italy

The Notary is a required participant in every Italian property title transfer including sale of property. The notaio acts as an Italian public officer, fulfilling an official role on behalf of the Italian authorities, and does not work on behalf of the buyer or the seller, they act as a neutral party.

The law provides that the notary is chosen and paid by the buyer.

You, as the buyer, may be offered a local Notaio by the selling agent. It’s important to note the Notaio’s official role, and recognise that you are able to choose your own Notaio and advise the selling agent which Notaio you prefer to use. This choice could turn out to be critical.

Using an Independent lawyer

It’s very common in Italy for buyers and sellers to work together and rely only on the Notaio for all legal assistance and advice.

You have the option of engaging a lawyer, and they may provide you with additional peace of mind, especially for;

  • reviewing the Proposta (offer document) and drafting the preliminare purchase agreement;
  • for reviewing the Atto Notarile at/before the Rogito;
  • where there are particular considerations about estate planning or when you need to understand and plan for how Italian property is treated in an Italian Will;
  • for larger transactions, where complexities exist, it’s often advisable to hire an independent lawyer;
  • That lawyer could be in Italy, or qualified in Italian law and living outside Italy.

For more information about buying in Italy, and purchase advice and guidance, click below to get in touch and ask a question about your specific legal situation or concern.

D&G Property Advice assists foreign buyers in realising their dream of buying property successfully in Italy.
D&G is not a real estate agent. We exclusively represent only the buyer’s interest when project- managing the buying process.

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We make the process of buying property in Italy simpler, from anywhere in the world.

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