The Certificato di Agibilità (also called the Certificato di Abitabilità) is similar to a certificate of occupancy. The local authority issues the certificate, which states that a building and its equipment are compliant with safety, hygiene, health, and energy-efficiency regulations.
DPR (a presidential decree) no. 380 of 2001 rules the Certificato di Agibilità. Pursuant to Article 24 of the abovementioned decree (which took effect on July 1, 2003), this certificate is issued in reference to new constructions, reconstructions, super-elevations (total and partial), and renovations that affect hygiene and safety.
The certificate must be requested within 15 days after the work is complete.
One of the requirements before authorities can issue the Certificato di Agibilità is that the building be ready for occupancy. The local authority must verify static and earthquake-safety compliance in respect to local and national regulations.
Based on current laws, it is not expressly required that the property owner provides such a certificate or shows proof of it to the buyer.
However, in cases of the sale of a residential property, the current Italian high court, the Suprema Corte di Cassazione, says that in the absence of a Certificato di Agibilità, the buyer may refuse to sign the closing deed, or if the deed has been signed, the buyer can terminate it for breach of contract on the seller’s part, and the buyer has the right to claim double the amount of the down payment from the seller.
Therefore, to avoid disputes, we always advise putting this stipulation into the negotiation of the terms of the contratto preliminare di compravendita (preliminary sale and purchase agreement).
Generally, we encourage sellers to obtain such a certificate and buyers to make certain (before they sign any document or transfer any money) that a Certificato di Abitabilità is available, or that the property at least meets the requirements to successfully apply for one.
When dealing with a building constructed or renovated before DPR no. 380/2001 was in force, a buyer has to check its condition him or herself. In fact, because a buyer is required to state that he/she will purchase the property as is at the closing, we advise the buyer to have a comprehensive survey of the property performed before the closing, and make sure the building meets his or her expectations.