Save-Home Decree: how it works and what can be remedied


Emma Potter

In the last few days you will surely have heard about the house-saving decree, a new Government measure which aims to remedy small construction irregularities in houses.

The home-saving decree was strongly supported by the Minister of Transport Matteo Salvini and after a long process, modifications and adjustments it was approved by the Council of Ministers.

In this article we will see how the new home-saving decree works, what measures have been introduced and what building interventions can be remedied.

The purpose of the home-saving decree

The house-saving decree was introduced to regularize all those slight construction irregularities which do not allow citizens to sell their homes and buyers to take out a mortgage.

The legislation regarding building amnesties is very fragmented and cumbersome, furthermore it is estimated that there are over 4 million outstanding procedures regarding small irregularities, consequently the intervention aims to streamline these procedures and make it easier for citizens to remedy some building interventions .

The decree has not yet been published and we will have to wait a few days to find out the definitive text, but it is already possible to understand what the new measures are by consulting the summary sheet in PDF format.

It is appropriate to specify that this is not a building amnestybecause the amnesty will only concern small discrepancies, but it is a measure that speeds up access to contributions, mortgages and other types of subsidies and guarantees immediate marketability of the properties.

Construction and manufacturing tolerances

One of the most important rules contained in the text of the home-saving decree concerns manufacturing toleranceswhich remain unchanged at 2% for a surface area exceeding 500 square metres, as already indicated in the Consolidated Building Act, but there are variations regarding surfaces of smaller size.

With the new decree we move to one 3% tolerance for surfaces between 300-500 m2, del 4% for those smaller than 300 square meters and even more 5% if they concern surfaces of less than 100 m2. The limits for manufacturing tolerances are applied for all those interventions performed by May 24, 2024.

If, however, the executive tolerances are analysed, i.e. all those small irregularities that require a different layout of the systems or other building works, the creation of finishes or architectural elements not foreseen in the original project, it is noted that an amnesty is granted for the works always carried out by 24 May 24.

In particular, the house-saving decree specifies which executive tolerances can be remedied: different positioning of doors and windows, “smaller sizing of the building”, presence of executive irregularities in both internal and external walls, design errors in graphic representation of construction works, errors relating to the project already corrected during construction.

Free construction and the principle of double conformity

To streamline bureaucratic procedures, Minister Salvini has decided to introduce other works in the so-called “free construction“, which groups together all the interventions that do not require authorizations (building permits) or housing titles.

Starting from the introduction of the house-saving decree, free construction works will also be considered removable panoramic windows, including those installed in the internal porticoes of buildings. It will also not be necessary to submit any authorization for the installation of solar shading such as pergolas or awnings, whether attached or as integral parts of the building, as long as they do not create completely closed areas or cause too much clutter.

Another provision that modifies the current legislation concerns the overcoming of the criterion of “double compliance“, which provided for the conformity of the works with the regulations in force at the time of construction and with those envisaged at the time of submission of the application.

This principle of double compliance has caused significant problems for properties built several years ago which could not be remedied as they did not comply with the regulations in force at the time the amnesties were submitted. To make these buildings marketable, this dictate of the law is overcome and all the small discrepancies that respected the building regulations at the time of construction and which today are in compliance with the urban planning laws are considered remedied.

The double compliance criterion, however, is still valid for irregularities considered very serious, consequently it will not be possible to remedy them in any case.

The latest innovation introduced in the home-saving decree concerns the streamlining of procedures regarding the change of intended use of the property. The individual real estate units may change their intended use only if this change falls within the same functional category, for example an apartment may be transformed into an accommodation facility, it will be sufficient to present the certified notification of commencement of activity at the municipality in which the property is located .

In the event that you want to obtain a change of intended use between different “functional categories”, this change must fall within certain categories, for example residential, tourist, commercial and productive.

How to fix small irregularities

Now that we know what small building interventions can be remedied with the house-saving decree, let's see how to activate this procedure and what the costs are to be borne.

Compared to the previous rules in which the principle of “silent rejection” was valid, the so-called “silent consent” is now introduced: the administration that does not respond to the request for amnesty within a certain time considers this request accepted.

To allow citizens to have certain deadlines regarding the procedures for accepting applications, some limits have been introduced: within 30 days it will be possible to obtain an amnesty for interventions that require the presentation of the SCIA and 45 days for all other permits that fall within the amnesty (certified reporting).

Home-saving amnesty: the costs

To remedy small building defects, costs are foreseen, which are increased significantly compared to the regulations in force. The new decree provides that the cost for amnesties can be between €1,000 and €31,000, depending on the type of intervention and the value the property acquires, taking into account the market prices of the area in which the building is located.

The fines to remedy minor discrepancies will be larger for those who live in municipalities such as Milan or Rome, where property prices are higher than in much smaller urban centres.