The importance of appointing a lawyer and the function of Italian public notaries in property transactions.
Conveyancing is a legal process which includes a wide range of legal and administrative work involved in the transfer of the ownership of a property from the vendor to the buyer.
The conveyancing process is intended to offer a transparent legal platform to safeguard the interest of all parties involved in the property transaction.
In this regard, the Italian jurisdiction has adopted a system of land registration to facilitate the legal conveyancing, whilst encouraging reliance on public records and assuring land purchasers that they are taking good title.
The Italian conveyancing is strictly governed by Italian law and can be carried out only by a public notary (Notaio). Notaries in Italy are legal professionals who act as public officers. When instructed to assist in legal conveyancing procedures, they verify the identities of the parties, check the title deeds and the existence of any encumbrances. In real estate legal conveyancing, the role of the notary is to oversee and consult on all aspects of a property transaction, from verifying the title of the seller, to tax-related issues. Notaries in Italy (and not lawyers “Avvocati”) are solely responsible of the legal work involved in real estate conveyancing procedures. On completion the notary makes the property transaction official by filing the property title with the new owner at the Local Land Registry.
It is however important to remember that a notary represents the Italian government and neither the seller or the buyer. Notaries are appointed by the Italian Ministry of Justice to act on behalf of the Italian State and must remain strictly impartial by serving as a neutral party. This might generate some confusion about whether buyers need a lawyer or just a notary when buying a property in Italy. They need both because lawyers and notaries perform different functions in real estate conveyancing and thus it is advisable for foreign buyers to obtain the assistance of Italian lawyers (Avvocati) through the labyrinth of the legal conveyancing process.
Your lawyer will act exclusively on your behalf to organise all the required searches and report on the title and the land. Your lawyer will draft a preliminary contract and advise on the timeline to exchange of contracts which will be concluded by the Notary on completion.
While it is not a legal requirement in Italy that purchasers should use a lawyer for legal assistance throughout the conveyancing procedure, buyers increasingly decide to appoint their own Avvocato to make sure that their best interests are protected all the way through the Italian property buying process, pre and post-sale.
As independent lawyer, we can work only for you and protect your own interest.
Our Italian-qualified lawyers have unique hands-on experience in negotiating complex real estate transactions, as well as handling the legal analysis and documentation.
For information about buying a property in Italy or to request the assistance of our Italian Lawyers, do not hesitate to contact us.