Property renovation in Italy


Handling all of the legal and contractual issues, as well as the substantial matters, which renovating a property implies is often a challenge even in one’s own home country. Dealing with property renovation in Italy, where one is frequently unfamiliar with the legislation and rules, as well as less fluent in the language, may be a daunting task, and should not be underestimated. Many Italian properties that attract foreign purchasers need to be renovated, restored and sometimes partially rebuilt. The typical Italian farmhouses, quite often old and neglected but extremely alluring, serve as an excellent example. Many of these were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, and left to decline and decay when their inhabitants moved away from the countryside. Buildings that are in need of renovation are generally placed on the market with the wording da restaurare, i.e. needing restoration work, or da ristrutturare, needing renovation. Another common phrasing is restaurato parzialmente or rinnovato parzialmente, which generally implies that part of a building is (more or less) habitable, but the rest needs renovating or, in several cases, rebuilding. Challenging aspects of renovating a property in Italy include construction agreements with the contractors, policies and liability regulations one must comply with, and, first and foremost, sourcing and selecting reliable, experienced trustworthy professionals – i.e. architects, surveyors, builders etc.. – one can count on.

italian property renovation

In short: knowing your way around the rules and laws of renovation, being able to ascertain costs implied and counting on a team of expert pros is a must.

Beware of minimizing legal requirements. Complying with standing legislation and ensuring all the renovation and restoration work on your property conforms to the legal requirements is vital: owners who undertake renovation work without the needed authorizations and not complying with existing rules are subject to criminal prosecution.

Having reliable local advisors and legal consultants by your side not only facilitates and speeds the renovating process up, it also, and very importantly, guarantees you meet legal requirements properly and promptly. 

Find your Italian renovation property for sale

The first momentous, if somewhat intricate, matter to address is assessing the property’s legal situation to verify whether the property already has the needed renovating authorization documents, or if these need to be obtained. If the building/restoration permits have not been requested the owner is required to apply for these at the local municipality.

The second pressing issue is working out the contractual part of the renovation deal. In Italy, construction agreements with an Italian supplier are ruled by the standing Italian Regulation (precisely Civil Code Articles 1655 to 1677) on the matter in terms of liabilities, insurance and eventual damage.

Article 1655 of the Italian Civil Code entitled “notion” defines this type of contract and states verbatim: “The construction agreement is the contract by which a party assumes, with the organization of the necessary means and with management at its own risk, the completion of a work or service for a fee”.  

Renovation work in Italy is to be carried out in a workman-like manner, meaning it must be brought about with professional and technical expertise. Consequently the contractor is duty-bound to detect any inaccuracies and/or defects present in the building project that could hinder or negatively affect the construction work, and immediately notify the client.

As concerns property renovations requested by private individuals the appointed construction company in charge of the renovation work is obliged to sign two mandatory insurance and liability related policies. 

In detail these are:

  • Provisional, definitive surety 
  • Posthumous, ten-year policy

The reasons these insurance obligations are mandatory is that they serve to cover financial areas, i.e. guarantee sureties to entities and individuals, and offer coverage for the multiple risks which may incur in connection with the construction site activities and/or the after-effects of construction. The ten-year posthumous coverage on the building for damage to the work and to third parties is another fundamental element of an insurance coverage for construction companies: in fact the builder is obliged by law, in public contracts where the amount exceeds the threshold provided for by art. 35 of Legislative Decree 50/2016 (or where provided by the Client) or in contracts between individuals in the case of the sale of future property (pursuant to Law 210/04 and subsequent amendments), to take out ten-year posthumous insurance for the works when completed. In addition, the obligation also extends to the stipulation of a related liability insurance for a construction company that protects the company in case of damage to third parties and / or people (and not only).

Crucial aspect of all renovation projects which need to be properly evaluated and defined are the owners preferences and desires, both as concerns what it shall look like and/or what facilities it has to feature, and what its destination is to be. Decisions concerning the building’s relevant architectural aspects greatly depend on if the building is to be an individual’s, or family’s home, or if its ultimate destination is to house a commercial activity, for instance a vacation home for tourists. Italian property renovation can be adventurous without the necessary help.

Our team of highly-skilled resourceful English-speaking architects, engineers, surveyors and real estate developers provides the comprehensive wide-ranging assistance a foreign investor needs to successfully see their way through renovating a property in Italy, without necessarily having to personally oversee the whole procedure. Offering legal assistance from A to Z, project expertise and state-of-the-art technical and architectural proficiency we guarantee smooth procedures and steady progress during the entire renovation process.

Our Services

  • Fluent in English we easily communicate with our clients, providing straight-to-the-point information on all issues and matters and ensuring attentive no-nonsense onsite assistance at all times;
  • proficient in leading-edge contemporary technology we share ingenious dedicated software with our clients, allowing them to personally “design” their dream house;
  • our architects and engineers are knowledgeable and inventive experts able to advise clients and suggest innovative options suitable for all properties, from private homes to those destined to become vacation homes for tourists or international students;
  • experienced in Italian bureaucracy and daily needs we provide priceless insider’s advice on the best available solutions as concerns minimizing utilities’ costs. This includes, but is not limited to, installing electricity automatic stops, electronic keys and other options useful for managing their properties from abroad;
  • we follow up and continuously follow through, updating our clients about the ongoing of the construction site with videos and daily reports in English;
  • we always provide our clients with a choice, by drafting a minimum of three different quotes (luxury/medium price/budget cost) in order to meet  each and every client’s needs and economic allowance.

Contact us