Central heating: the condominium is responsible if it malfunctions


Emma Potter

In a recent verdict that marks a point of reference in the real estate legal landscape, the Court of Turin issued a sentence that awakens attention to a crucial aspect of condominium life: the right to efficient heating.

In sentence no. 1271 of 23 March 2023, the court addressed the problem of thermal imbalances within a condominium, establishing significant principles on the responsibilities of condominiums and the management of central heating systems.

Let's explore together the details of this ruling and its repercussions on condominium law and the management of heating systems.

The legal question

At the center of the legal dispute is a central heating system dating back to the 1950s, featuring floor coils that were no longer capable of ensuring uniform heat distribution within the building.

An owner of an apartment located on the mezzanine floor found internal temperatures that they did not exceed 17-18°C during the winter monthsa marked contrast to the excessively high temperatures recorded in the apartments on the upper floors.

After repeated ignored attempts to urge the condominium to take corrective measures, the owner hired a system engineer to conduct a detailed investigation, whose report identified the main causes of the problem: the deterioration of the basement windows, the absence of insulation insulation between the cellar floor and the mezzanine floor, and above all the obstruction of the floor coils caused by the accumulation of debris and sludge over the years.

Based on the expert report, the owner initiated legal action against the condominium, claiming the latter's responsibility for not having carried out the interventions necessary to correct the defects in the heating system and requesting compensation for the expenses incurred for the expertise and for the inconvenience suffered.

The sentence

The Court of Turin, with the sentence no. 1271 of 23 March 2023accepted the owner's requests, underlining the responsibility of the condominium under article 2051 of the Civil Code, which establishes that every individual is responsible for damage caused by things in his custody, unless he can demonstrate that the damage is was caused by a fortuitous event.

Article 2051
Damage caused by thing in custody

Everyone is responsible for the damage caused by the things in their custody, unless proven by fortuitous circumstances.

In this context, the condominium, as custodian of the heating system, was not able to provide evidence of a fortuitous event that could exclude it from liability for the malfunction of the system and for the consequent damage suffered by the owner of the apartment .

In addition to compensation for damages, the judge ordered the condominium to carry out all the necessary interventions to eliminate imbalances in the heat distribution and to ensure the correct functioning of the heating system.

This decision sets an important legal precedent which reiterates the duty of condominiums to maintain and control the common areas and systems serving the building to prevent damage to individual condominiums.

Implications and considerations

The ruling of the Court of Turin not only represents a victory for the individual owner involved, but also establishes an important legal precedent for all condominiums and condominium administrations. This case highlights the crucial importance of maintenance and efficiency of central heating systemshighlighting the responsibility of condominiums in guaranteeing the living comfort and safety of residents.

Furthermore, it highlights the obligation to supervise and control the common parts of the building, including service systems, as established by articles 1117, 1123 and 1130 n. 3 of the Civil Code.

This ruling highlights two fundamental aspects: the objective liability of the condominium for damages resulting from malfunctions of common systems and the right of individual owners to receive compensation for expenses incurred due to condominium negligence. Strict liability means that the condominium is required to compensate for damages unless it can demonstrate that the damage was caused by a fortuitous event, an exonerating proof that was not provided in the case in question.

The implications of this ruling go beyond the specific case, offering guidance for resolving future disputes related to the maintenance and efficiency of condominium systems. For condominium governments, the verdict highlights the importance of taking a proactive approach to facility maintenance and troubleshooting, to prevent costly disputes and ensure the well-being of residents.

Furthermore, the case highlights the role of technical reports in providing concrete evidence of the causal link between the damage suffered and the malfunctioning of the systems. The reliability of these reports, also confirmed by the official technical consultant, strengthens the position of condominium owners who seek justice in similar situations.


The ruling of the Court of Turin represents an important point of reference in condominium jurisprudence, reiterating the principle according to which the well-being of the home and the safety of residents are inalienable rights that condominium owners have the duty to protect.

This case highlights the need for responsible and careful management of the common areas and systems serving the buildings, promoting a more conscious approach to condominium maintenance and conflict prevention.