Salva-Casa: Salvini's plan to regularize houses with small discrepancies


Emma Potter

The announcement of the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Matteo Salvini, on the “package of rules for intervening on housing”, called Save-Homesparked widespread public debate.

This initiative, presented as a series of measures aimed at regularize small differences or structural irregularitiesimmediately raised questions about its nature: is it a disguised building amnesty or a necessary intervention to simplify bureaucracy and help small property owners?

With almost 80% of Italian real estate affected by discrepancies, according to a study by the National Council of Engineers, the urgency of a solution appears indisputable.

The measures of the Save-Home plan

The Save-Home Plan presents itself as a compendium of regulatory interventions aimed at remedying a vast range of building irregularities.

The categories of non-conformities affected are various and include:

  • Formal differences:
    The discrepancies can also take on a formal nature, especially in relation to older properties for which it is not possible to find the latest building permit. The latter represents the document that certifies the compliance of the property with the building regulations in force at the time of its construction or last modification. The lack of this document can generate significant complications, particularly during the sale or renovation phase.
    To address these situations, regulations are being studied that would facilitate the verification of the legitimate status of the property even in the absence of the building permit, for example through the Certified Report of the Start of Activity (SCIA) in amnesty and the payment of a fine.
  • Internal building differences
    One of the most common challenges in the construction sector concerns internal defects in buildings. These can come in various forms, such as relocating a wall, adding an unexpected mezzanine, or changing the position of a window. These changes, although they may seem minor, can have significant repercussions on the property's compliance with current regulations.
    The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport evaluates theintroduction of manufacturing tolerances which allow a certain flexibility, for example by reparameterising the 2% tolerance relating to parameters such as height, gaps, cubic volume and surface area.
  • Changes of intended use
    the possibility of changing the use of properties between homogeneous categories without incurring heavy bureaucratic procedures (Read more: Changing the intended use of a property: how does it work?).
  • Non-remediable discrepancies due to the “Double Conformity” regulations
    One of the most delicate issues in the construction field concerns the modifications made to buildings which, although they could be remedied at the time of their construction, today would not fall within the possibilities offered by the current urban planning instrument. This scenario raises the issue of “double compliance“, where a building may have complied with building regulations at a given historical moment, but would not comply with current laws.
    The current bill aims to overcome this obstacle, allowing the amnesty of modifications that were compliant in the past but no longer permissible today, such as the extension of a house beyond the limits set by the original building permit.

These measures have the potential to “condone” a vast number of irregular situations, making it easier for owners to obtain amnesty for building interventions carried out in the past.

The objective declared by the Ministry with the Save-Home Plan is twofold: on the one hand, it wants to put an end to the uncertainty that grips small property owners, many of whom have been waiting for years for the possibility of regularizing their homes. The difficulty of proceeding with renovations or selling properties due to minimal irregularities has created a block that the Plan intends to overcome.

On the other hand, there is an awareness of the need to lighten the load on the municipal technical offices, often overwhelmed by an excessive amount of requests for amnesties. Administrative simplification and efficiency therefore translate into an intervention on administrative procedures to ensure timely and certain responses to citizens.