How to Successfully Get Your Deposit Back in Italy
For those of you who know me, then you know very well that it takes a lot to leave me speechless, but speechless I was, when I discovered recently a case of a company in Italy with over €250,000 in unreturned deposits, due almost exclusively to a non-existent check-in strategy, leaving them way open to unscrupulous landlords.
Regardless of whether you are a corporate or individual taking over a property in Italy — in simple terms, if a thorough check-in is not done, it will be almost impossible at the end of the tenancy, to prove if any dilapidations claimed for by the landlord are valid or not, as you essentially have no proof — therefore, you don’t have a legal leg to stand on.
Important Steps for a Successful Check-In
- Only work with licensed realtors in Italy — stay clear of so-called “middlemen” and people who are not licensed to work in Italy as realtors.
- The owner, tenant, and the realtor (if applicable) need to sign an incredibly detailed check in form, which should be in both English and Italian. English is not an official language in Italy, so you do not want that the landlord claims that he / she was signed a document they did not understand.
- The initial state of the property should be documented with at least eighty photos that are taken in context, so that it is very clear what they are referring to — this is essential to guard against spurious dilapidations at the end of the tenancy. The tenant must be able to prove the condition of the property at the beginning of the tenancy. Otherwise, it becomes a he said / she said endless saga.
- The tenant needs to understand very carefully what their responsibilities are as a tenant, so that they know exactly how to treat the property during the tenancy, so they fully understand what is not deemed normal wear and tear in Italy.
- The tenant needs to make sure that they understand fully how to communicate any issues with the property to the landlord to avoid any complications at the checkout. Always communicate issues about the property with the landlord though registered mail with a return receipt or by PEC email (if possible). Do not communicate issues by phone, SMS messages, regular email, or WhatsApp.
- Document, document, and document some more is the key in most cases to a successful checkout from a property. The tenant should never withhold rent from the landlord, as this could put them in the wrong and lead to legal issues.
By doing a thorough check-in, the tenant can avoid many issues arising when they leave the property. A check-in, done correctly, can go a long way to contributing to a quick return of the deposit, as well as the ability to refute any request for unjustified dilapidations.
These are general guidelines only, if you require any case specific assistance, please feel free to contact me www.damienofarrell.com
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