09 October, 2017

In Italy, tenant does not pay the rent regarding the house in Italy: the collection of debt by the foreign owner – Italian qualified lawyer


A foreigner or a citizen or a foreign company, owner of a house or a whole building, could decide to rent a house both for residential purpose (for example, to a family or to a single tenant) and for a commercial purpose, for example like a shop, an office, a hotel or an industrial warehouse. In these cases, however, the biggest problem arises out when the tenant does not pay the rent (affitto) or the common charges (spese condominiali) and the foreign owner, also due to the distance, has no idea about how to proceed in order to obtain the due amount.



What to do if the tenant does not pay the rent or the common charges


It is important to start a legal proceeding in Italy concerning a debt collection. Furthermore, if the owner wants to have back his/her house and legally remove the tenant, it is necessary that the Italian qualified lawyer files for eviction (sfratto) before the Italian competent Court.



The injunctive relief (decreto ingiuntivo) to the tenant who does not pay the rent


A foreigner, owner of a house in Italy, appointing our law firm, will be able to quickly obtain an injunctive relief (decreto ingiuntivo) with the purpose of receiving an amount of money equal to the due amount of rent plus the due amount of common charges (if applicable). In this case, the speed in obtaining the enforceable order of payment by the Court becomes the key factor to surely obtain the amount of his/her own credit. The risk, indeed, that the owner may be running is that, waiting for long times, the debt may hugely increase until it becomes objectively difficult to collect completely the whole due amount. The injunctive relief, indeed, whenever it is not challenged within forty days since its notice, is a decision that has the same effect of a sentence and that allows the recovering, as quickly as possible, an amount of money.



The eviction of the tenant achieved by the foreign owner of a house in Italy


Sometimes, the foreign owner of a house in Italy may decide to definitively terminate rental agreement also by means of the eviction of the tenant, choosing of having the house back. In this case, it is necessary to start the so-called above mentioned “eviction” (sfratto) legal proceeding.



The eviction of the tenant for termination of rental agreement, i.e. when the rental agreement is expired


Every rental agreement has a starting date and a termination date. Therefore, it is possible to file to the Italian competent Court in order to obtain that the tenant leaves definitively the house on the moment of the final termination of the rental agreement, in case this rental agreement has not been renewed. It often happens, indeed, that the tenant does not voluntary automatically leaves the house. In these cases, being advised by an Italian qualified lawyer specialized in family law allows to the foreign client to carry out all the necessary fulfilments in order to obtain the eviction for termination of rental agreement and therefore to remove the tenant from the house to have back the possession of the house. Indeed, it is necessary that the notice of termination (disdetta) is sent pursuant to terms and conditions set forth under Italian law or agreed by the parties and as of termination’s date, if the tenant does not want to leave, it is necessary to proceed with no delay in order to remove the tenant without risking of wasting time in vain.



The eviction for lateness (morosità) of the tenant who does not pay the rent to the foreign owner


Generally speaking, when the tenant does not pay the rent timely, in accordance with terms and conditions of the rental agreement, the owner will be able to file before the competent Court a claim requesting both the order of payment and the eviction (and the consequent removal, if necessary) of the tenant. In this case, appointing an Italian qualified lawyer allows the client to begin the legal proceeding of eviction for lateness (sfratto per morosità) as soon as practicable, without making any kind of mistake, which could protract the whole case. Marzorati law firm, indeed, would evaluate that all the provisions set forth under Italian law (legge italiana) will be fulfilled in order to proceed in any of the following cases:


  • Rental agreement for residential purpose: the unpaid rent can even be equal to one-month period, but at least 20 days must be passed after the deadline of the payment;


  • Rental agreement for commercial purpose: the Italian law provides that the unpaid rent amount must be of an important value (valore importante). It appears, therefore, essential to evaluate immediately if the amount unpaid by the tenant can be considered as an important value or not: indeed, this is one of the assumptions that will be evaluated by the Court with the specific purpose of issuing, or not, the eviction.

Our law firm is able to deal with any kind of situation that could arise out during the legal proceeding evaluating, on a case-by-case basis and with no delay, how do “counterstrike” to the tenant before the Court. For example, in cases of rental agreement for residential purpose, the tenant could request to the Court a so-called “term of grace” (termine di grazia) in order to proceed with the due payment: this chance is sometimes chosen with the specific purpose of protracting the legal proceeding and, consequently, of protracting the leaving of the house. Furthermore, it happens quite often that the tenant keeps on missing to pay the rent and the common charges. It is therefore useful to challenge, just in case, this request by the tenant, e.g. controlling all necessary documents filed by the tenant to obtain this term of grace, which can be allowed only in case the tenant is in a difficult economic situation, which has to be proven. Usually when it is allowed, the grace term is a 90-days term, and within this term, the tenant must pay the due amount, otherwise the proceeding will go on with the eviction and with the order of release of the house.



The deposit amount paid by the tenant to the foreign owner


At the signing of the rental agreement, the payment of a deposit amount (cauzione) by the tenant to the owner is almost always set forth under the terms and conditions of the signed agreement. The deposit amount is a sum of money, which is considered between the parties as a guarantee for any possible unfulfilled obligations by the tenant or as a guarantee in case of possible damages. For example, if in the agreement is set forth that, when the tenant releases the building (e.g. the house, the shop, the office and so on), he/she must paint all the walls of the house and the tenants does not proceed like that, the foreign owner will be able to take and keep from the deposit amount the necessary amount of money to proceed with the whitewashing of the walls and to give back the remaining amount to the tenant. In these situations, especially for a foreigner who lives abroad, it could be very useful to appoint our law firm. Indeed, we could evaluate all possible damages, possibly also appointing Professionals who work in the area where the building is located: these Professionals will be able to draft an estimation concerning the possible reparation and maintenance costs.



The eviction is not always enough to remove the tenant


If, after obtaining the eviction injunction by the Italian competent Court, the tenant does not spontaneously leave the house, it is possible, with the necessary legal advice of an expert Italian qualified lawyer, starting to proceed with the execution phase of the eviction legal proceeding. The appointed Italian qualified lawyer will indeed file the eviction injunction to a public officer (ufficiale giudiziario), who will – together with the appointed lawyer – present himself / herself in front of the door of the rented house to order to him / her to leave the house and to deliver the house keys. In case of a negative outcome, the appointed Italian qualified lawyer will be able to call the police to request their intervention on this matter so that, together with the public officer, they will be able to force the tenant to leave the house forcedly.



The goodwill allowance that the foreign owner of the house could be forced to pay


In the rental agreement entered into with commercial purpose, for example in case of a shop, an office, a hotel, an industrial warehouse or a field, there could be provided the request of payment of the so-called “allowance for the loss of goodwill” (perdita di avviamento commerciale), which means that the tenant has the right to receive a certain amount of money to compensate all the inconveniences and all the costs that he/she will have to pay for finding another place where moving his/her new location. Our law firm, thanks to our many years of experience already occurred in the real estate area of expertise, will be able to evaluate if a request like this can make any sense: for example, no allowance is due in case of termination of the agreement for breach of contract by the tenant, bankruptcy of the tenant (or of his/her company) or in case of notice of termination by the tenant. Furthermore, our professionals will be able to evaluate if the requested sum is a fair one or if it is an excessive one, taking into consideration the remedies provided for under the Italian law.


Marzorati Law Firm, with the specific purpose of advising its client all over Italy, has also developed a network, made of at least a barrister/solicitor, an attorney-at-law, an abogado, and an avocat à la cour, all qualified in their respective country of practice.

For contacting us click here