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.

It is strongly advisable that you discuss the legal aspects of the purchase with the notary, who interprets all Italian property laws, before signing any legally binding purchase/sale agreements. We can direct you to a suitable Notaio.

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.

Common practice holds 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.

Using an Independent lawyer

Every lawyer will tell you their services are indespensable when it comes to buying property in Italy.

In reality every property transaction is unique. You have the option of engaging a lawyer to assist you along each step of the property purchase, especially;

  • when drafting the Proposta (offer document)
  • when preparing 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;
  • where you want a lawyer to represent you at the Rogito, when you will not be there.

It’s common in Italy for buyers and sellers to work together and rely on the Notaio for all legal assistance and advice. This is certainly true for smaller purchases and where the agreement and property appears to be straightforward.

However, for larger transactions, where complexities exist, and where you would like a lawyer to assist for the reasons indicated above, 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 and guidance click below to get in touch and ask a question about your specific 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.

Click to get in touch about your Italian property purchase needs

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