Buying a house in Italy by Swiss citizens, the Koller law
The limits on the purchase by Swiss citizens of a property in Italy
Buying real estate by Swiss entities in Italy can lead to difficulties.
Broker Immobiliare Exclusive Real Estate, a company specializing in the marketing of luxury properties in Italy, exposes in this article a topic that is very little known or even unimagined by most, which affects Swiss citizens who want to make a real estate investment in Italy.
In fact, in the case of a Swiss citizen, who lacks either Italian citizenship or a second passport in addition to the Swiss one, the need arises to verify compliance with the "condition of reciprocity" before the purchase of a real estate property in Italy.
This "condition of reciprocity" manifests its effects on non-resident Swiss citizens interested in buying a house in Italy, and in a mirror image of the Swiss forecast for Italians who are not resident in Switzerland.
In the Swiss Confederation there has long been a specific and articulated discipline, the Koller law of 1997, which regulates (and limits) the purchase of real estate by foreign citizens. Generally speaking, this regulatory complex is intended to prevent wealthy foreigners from buying homes in Switzerland solely for investment purposes, which would otherwise have had the negative effect of eroding the number of homes available and making their purchase more expensive. by the Swiss.
The system of reciprocity consists in equalizing the treatment of citizens belonging to different states when there is an agreement between the states of origin which establishes equality between the citizens of the states adhering to the agreement.
With regard to the purchase of real estate, this "condition of reciprocity" is in force between Italy and Switzerland thanks to the agreement signed on June 21, 1999, so in other words, in Italy the foreign citizen has the legal capacity relating to the enjoyment of a specific right, only if in his country of origin an Italian citizen could exercise the same right under foreign law.
In the face of all this, can a Swiss citizen buy a house in Italy?
The answer is generally YES, but with limitations.
These limitations, which we will list later, are completely canceled only in the event that a Swiss citizen transfers his / her residence to Italy.
And it is precisely a Swiss legislation, known as the Koller Law, which places a limit on the real estate desires of Swiss citizens who want to buy real estate in Italy.
Here is what the law indicates: a Swiss citizen interested in buying a house in Italy will have to comply with certain parameters:
- purchase of secondary homes, holiday homes and residential units in an apartment hotel, with a net living area not exceeding 200 square meters;
- purchase of land belonging to secondary and holiday homes (single real estate units such as villas and buildings) whose surface does not exceed 1,000 square meters;
- purchase of properties for commercial use only;
- properties by the legitimate heirs in the mortis causa purchases and by the relatives of the transferor in ascending and descending lines (grandparents, parents and children) and his spouse.
The only substantial difference between the Swiss system and the Italian one is that the Swiss citizen who is not resident in Italy and intends to buy a house in Italy, will not have to ask for any authorization from the Italian authorities.
It will be the task of the Italian notary - possibly also with the help of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - in the preparatory stages of the deed of sale to scrupulously verify that all the conditions are met and, in the event of an ascertained violation of the reciprocity condition, refrain from fulfilling the act requested, as it is contrary to the law.
Finally, it is necessary to assess the question of the admissibility of the purchase of a property in Italy through an Italian company owned by a Swiss citizen.
Regarding the constitution and participation in joint stock companies ("S.P.A. and S.R.L."), the condition of reciprocity is verified and, therefore, there should be no limitations whatsoever for Swiss citizens.
The condition of reciprocity is also respected in the case of a Swiss citizen taking up the position of member of the board of directors, except in the case of companies whose purpose consists in participation in other companies (holding) or in the hypothesis of assumption of the position of sole director.
With regard to the establishment and participation in partnerships under Italian law:
- simple partnership ("S.S."): the condition of reciprocity is satisfied;
- general partnership ("S.N.C."): at least one of the shareholders must reside in Italy and must have, individually or jointly with the other resident shareholders, the power to represent the company;
- limited partnership ("S.A.S."): at least one of the general partners must reside in Italy and must have, individually or jointly with the other resident shareholders, the power to represent the company.
Consequently, the admissibility for a Swiss citizen to establish a company under Italian law and, on the other hand, the admissibility that the Italian company subsequently purchases the property, would lead to the conclusion that the principle of reciprocity would not be violated.
Broker Immobiliare Exclusive Real Estate offers its customers complete assistance from the first meeting up to the notarial deed, supported if necessary, by expert external collaborators specialized in legal, tax and related technical checks to be carried out before the purchase. A network of professionals with specific knowledge of the regulations of each individual country will support the buyer, ensuring the protection, transparency and safety of real estate transactions.