Minimum square meters for habitability: the complete guide to the requirements


Emma Potter

When deciding to invest in a property, whether for purchase or rental, it is essential to carefully consider the habitability requirements. Among these, the surface area available for each inhabitant plays a crucial role in ensuring a comfortable living experience that complies with current regulations.

But what exactly are these minimum measures? And how do they apply in different contexts such as studio apartments or larger homes?

We therefore examine the minimum specifications required for living spaces, based on the provisions of the Ministerial Decree of 5 July 1975 and further regional regulations.

Minimum square meters for the habitability of a house

According to the Ministerial Decree of 5 July 1975, every home in Italy must respect certain minimum surface standards to be considered habitable. These standards are designed to ensure an adequate level of comfort and privacy and vary based on the number of occupants.

For the first four inhabitants, the rule provides at least 14 square meters per person; for each additional inhabitant, at least 10 square meters are required. In addition to the total surface area, the dimensions of the bedrooms are also regulated: for example, a single person must have at least 9 square meters at their disposal, while for two people we are talking about at least 14 square meters.

These requirements are fundamental to ensuring that each individual has the space necessary to live with dignity and comfort.

Minimum square meters of a studio apartment

The issue of studio apartments is particularly interesting when discussing habitability requirements. A studio apartment, by definition, is a single environment that combines the functions of a living room, bedroom and kitchen.

According to national legislation, a studio apartment for one person it must not be less than 28 square meterswhile for two people the minimum surface area rises to 38 square meters.

In addition, the rules also specify height requirements: no less than 2.40 meters for corridors, bathrooms and closets, and at least 2.70 meters for other environments. These provisions ensure that even the most compact spaces offer adequate liveability and comfort.

However, there are several exceptions to the general rules on minimum habitable surface area that deserve attention.

For example, in the case of studio flats classified in the land registry as C/2 (warehouses and deposits), it is necessary to obtain specific authorization from the Municipality to convert them into homes. This procedure can vary significantly from one region to another, reflecting differences in local regulations.

It is therefore important to understand how these exceptions influence the assessment of the habitability of a property and what strategies can be adopted to navigate these legal complexities. How can the needs of heritage conservation be balanced with those of modern habitability?

When is a house considered habitable?

A house is considered habitable when it meets a series of essential requirements defined by national and regional regulations, the purpose of which is to guarantee safety, comfort and healthiness for the occupants.

The Ministerial Decree of 5 July 1975 clearly establishes these standards, which include aspects such as minimum surface area, ceiling height, direct natural lighting and an adequate ventilation system.

To be specific, a home must have a minimum surface area that varies depending on number of occupants and rooms with minimum heights of 2.70 meters for the main living spaces and 2.40 meters for service areas such as corridors and bathrooms.

So how many square meters must be large for each inhabitant?

  • 1 inhabitant – 14 m2
  • 2 inhabitants – 28 m2
  • 3 inhabitants – 42 m2
  • 4 inhabitants – 56 m2

In the case of a studio apartment:

  • 1 inhabitant – 28 m2
  • 2 inhabitants – 38 m2

Furthermore, it is essential that every habitable room has windows that allow natural air exchange and sufficient lighting to maintain a healthy and livable environment. The presence of these elements is crucial to define a space as habitable according to Italian laws.

Before concluding any real estate transaction, be it purchase or rental, it is vital to obtain a professional assessment of the property's habitability. A licensed technician, such as an engineer or architect, can provide a detailed assessment that considers not only surface standards, but also other critical aspects such as insulation, natural lighting, and air exchange.

These professionals are able to interpret local and national regulations and evaluate whether a property meets the standards required to be considered habitable.