Housing Plan: what abuses can be remedied?


Emma Potter

In Italy, the debate on building abuse is enriched by a new chapter with the announcement of House Plan by the Minister of Infrastructure, Matteo Salvini.

This legislation promises to resolve the “small discrepancies” which, in recent years, have hindered the real estate market. However, the Housing Plan raises controversial issues, as some see it as a disguised amnesty, while others appreciate it as a necessary amnesty.

Let's explore the implications of this provision which could affect 80% of Italian homes.

The basis of the Housing Plan and the amnesty of building defects

The Housing Plan, proposed by the Ministry of Infrastructure, targets the formal discrepancies that have paralyzed the Italian real estate market for decades.

These irregularities, often the result of divergent interpretations of existing building regulations, have made real estate sales complex, accumulating a considerable amount of paperwork in the courts.

With the introduction of this law, an “amnesty” is expected that could be of interest up to 80% of the nation's homes.

Minister Matteo Salvini underlines the objective of the measure: to unblock the real estate market, allowing owners to overcome bureaucratic and legal impasses that have hindered the fluidity of real estate transactions for too long.

In particular, the Housing Plan aims to address those discrepancies considered not serious but still significant, facilitating their regularization and thus relaunching the sales market.

The concept of “double compliance” plays a crucial role in the difficulties of regularizing building defects. This principle implies that certain interventions, legitimate at the time of their implementation according to the building regulations in force at the time, may become irregular with changes in legislation.

As a result, many homes today find themselves in a situation of non-compliance which prevents their regularisation. Minister Salvini highlights how this situation has created a bureaucratic traffic jam that has blocked almost 80% of Italian properties, making not only sales complex but also simple renovations or changes of intended use that would otherwise be practicable under current regulations.

Details of the Home Plan measurement

The Housing Plan aims to address a wide range of building irregularities, with particular attention also to the complex issue of “double compliance”.

Specific measures of the plan include the regularization of:

  • Formal discrepancy: These are discrepancies related to different interpretations of existing building regulations, often minor but bureaucratically cumbersome.
  • Internal building differences: Involve changes made internally by owners, such as converting balconies into verandas or adding partitions, without appropriate permits.
  • Differences due to double conformity: The Housing Plan aims to resolve situations where previously permitted modifications are now blocked due to changes in regulations, facilitating the regularization of these cases without the current restrictions.
  • Changes of intended use: Facilitate changes between homogeneous building categories, improving flexibility in the use of properties and resolving bureaucratic issues that currently prevent such transitions (find out more: Changing the use of property: how does it work? ).

These measures are designed to relieve pressure on the courts and unfreeze the property market, allowing modifications and transactions that were previously unworkable.

Concrete examples of remediable building abuses

The Housing Plan will offer a practical solution for different types of building irregularities that have prevented the regularization of many properties so far.

For example, many homes feature porches built without proper permits, turning balconies or terraces into enclosed spaces; these modifications, once a major obstacle, could now be legalized through the payment of a fee and the retroactive obtaining of the necessary permit, assuming they were permitted at the time of the original construction.

Furthermore, houses with minor discrepancies, which complicate sales due to intricate bureaucratic procedures, will be able to be put on the market once these irregularities have been formally resolved.

Among the internal abuses, there are often mezzanines and partitions built without the necessary permission, modifying the original plan of the apartment and creating new walkable surfaces. The Housing Plan also proposes a way out for these cases, simplifying the regularization of these changes.

The change of intended use between homogeneous building categories is another aspect that the Housing Plan undertakes to facilitate, offering owners greater flexibility in adapting their properties to the needs of the market, overcoming the bureaucratic barriers that currently prevent such transformations.

Impact and expectations of the Housing Plan

The Housing Plan represents a significant attempt to resolve a problem rooted in the Italian building system, offering a way to regularize a wide range of building irregularities which until now have complicated the lives of many owners and blocked the real estate market.

If implemented correctly, this plan could not only unlock countless real estate transactions, but also stimulate the construction industry with renewed interest in renovations and building improvements.