Many of our articles have described the requirements to purchase a property in Italy as a foreigner, which has become very popular in recent years due to an attractive real estate market which offers a wide range of properties at very competitive prices. This article instead will provide you with a detailed overview of the three main steps which need to be accomplished after you buy the property of your dreams in order to ensure that all legal and bureaucratic requirements are fulfilled.
- Setting up utilities
The first thing you need to do after you purchase your property is to set up utilities (i.e. gas, water, electricity and TV license). In order to do this, you need a valid Italian Tax Code. The most straightforward process to set up utilities in your name is to do what Italians refer to as voltura (bill transfer). This consists of changing the account holder’s name on the bills without suspending the service. Although the cost for the name change may vary depending on the company, it usually involves a one-off payment of €23.00, €25.51 for administration costs, a stamp duty of €16.00, VAT which adds up to 22% on the amount due, and an optional security deposit.
On the other hand, if utilities are deactivated, you need to proceed with what is known as subentro to install water, electricity, gas and television and start a new contract. Please be aware that you also need to consider the activation costs which may vary among suppliers depending on where the property is located. Once your new accounts have been activated, you will receive your utility bills by mail or email every other month and you can remit the payment online or at a local post office. If you use the online bill service to pay utility bills you can get a reduced rate. The meter readings will take place once or twice a year and your bills will be adjusted to reflect use. Utilities in Italy include:
- Electricity: the average household spending for electricity is approximately €50 per month; however, this varies depending on the specific provider.
- Water: the average household spending for water is €26 per month. In this case, the monthly expense may vary depending on where the property is located.
- Gas: the cost for gas mainly depends on the area in Italy where the property is located. Since Italy has different climates, gas providers have established 6 payment zones. Monthly expenses for gas also depend on the efficiency of the property’s heating system and house insulation.
- Television: if you have a TV in your house, you need to pay €90 per year regardless of whether or not you turn the device on. The payment for this tax is usually divided into 10 installments and these are included in the electricity bills from January to October.
- Paying local taxes
Other expenses related to a property include the following taxes:
- IMU (municipal property tax): you need to pay this tax every year unless you are eligible for a tax exemption. The Italian law allows for exemption if the property is the owner’s place of residence. Tenants do not need to pay this tax because it is paid by the owner. The amount is calculated based on the cadastral value of the property.
- TARI (municipal solid waste tax): you must pay this tax every year. Unlike IMU, TARI is paid by the tenant. The rate is determined by the surface area of the house and it is proportionate to the average quantity of waste produced per unit of surface area.
The application forms to pay local taxes can be found on the Municipality’s website.
- Setting up an internet connection and other services
- Internet: Italians spend on average €30 per month for their internet connection. There are several providers which offer good internet access services. The two main data transmission technologies to connect to the Internet are ADSL and fiber-optic. ADSL connection can offer a maximum download speed of 20 Mega whereas the fiber can reach a download speed of 1000 Mega. ADSL is usually cheaper than fiber and its coverage is widespread. On the other hand, fiber is mostly found in medium to large cities only.
- Boiler maintenance: boilers need to be cleaned periodically to maintain their efficiency and to limit their consumption. By law, checks need to be carried out periodically by a qualified technician. The average cost is between €50 and €100 per maintenance check.
- Home insurance: this usually covers fire accidents, theft or other incidents. There are different types of home insurance policies with different “coverage packages” that can be integrated. Please be aware that insurance companies usually require their clients to be residents of an EU member state in order to offer them a house insurance policy.
It is worth mentioning that language barriers may present challenges when you start looking into the aforementioned procedures because the paperwork is entirely written in Italian. Therefore, if you do not speak Italian we suggest you contact international real estate specialists who are fluent in English and who can help you set up utilities and pay taxes.
If you need further information do not hesitate to contact our international real estate consultants at email@example.com . We will be happy to assist you.