Italian Real Estate Law

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We are a German-Italian law firm based in Stuttgart and Modena with a vast network of professionals of legal experts, tax advisors, accountants and consultants etc., both in Germany and abroad.

We are happy to assist you with any questions related to German-Italian real estate matters.

We offer:

  • advice, execution and representation relating to the acquisition and sale of real estate in Italy

Peculiarities in Italian Real Estate Law

Preliminary contract regarding the acquisition of real estate

The preliminary contract regarding the acquisition of real estate, called ”preliminare“ or ”compromesso“, is valid in writing according to Italian Law; i.e. notarization is not necessary for its validity. The ownership of the real estate does not change with the execution of the preliminary contract. The purpose of the preliminary contract is to give both parties – under certain conditions – the possibility to claim the change of ownership at the notary.

The buyer of the property usually makes a down payment when signing the preliminary contract. The buyer needs to know that he can lose the down payment if he does not respect the provisions of the preliminary contract. The vendor on the other hand even risks having to pay double the amount of the down payment to the buyer if he does not adhere to the contract.

Real Estate Tax (IMU = Imposta municipale Unica)

IMU replaces the former ICI. The Italian Real Estate Tax is calculated every year. Owners of a property do not receive a letter communicating the current amount owed and the due date but have to gather the information themselves – an accountant can be of help here.

The Italian Register of Real Estate

The legal force of the Register of Real Estate does not apply in Italy. This means that a copy of the register does not prove ownership of the property.


It is important to know that the Italian Law recognizes malicious usucaption (usucapione). Anyone living in the real estate for more than 20 years can claim the change of ownership of the property although he knew that he was not the owner or entitled to claim ownership in the first place.