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The Certificate of Habitability certifies the suitability of a residential property for living purposes. It is issued by the competent municipal offices following verification that the building and its systems comply with health, safety and structural stability regulations. According to law, prior to issuing this certificate, the competent authorities should also verify that the building complies with planning permission.

The Italian Supreme Court confirms in real estate transactions the certificate of habitability is one of the documents that the vendor must deliver to the buyer before completion.  The vendor of a property intended for residential use has the obligation to deliver to the buyer the Certificate of Habitability without which the property is unmarketable”. (Cass. 1701/2009).

The Certificate is an essential requirement of the building because it has direct effects on the legal use of the property as stipulated in the contract.

Who shall provide the Certificate of Habitability?

Unless otherwise stipulated in contractual agreements, the responsibility to provide the Certificate of Habitability belongs to the vendor; in case of a delay or a failure to deliver the Certificate, there is a clear case of non execution of a contractual obligation (breach of contract).

On the other hand it is worth to precise the buyer can purchase a property without the Certificate of Habitability if properly informed and accepting this condition: in this case the transfer of the ownership right can be perfected correctly.

Many banks refuse to approve mortgage applications in case the property does not present the Certificate of Habitability.

Verifying the existence of the Certificate of Habitability before completion of the purchase of a property should be part of the buyer’s legal due diligence.

Avv. Alessandro Clemente
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