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Homeowners claim €9 billion from Italy’s building ‘superbonus’

Italy has approved investments of over nine billion euros so far for works related to making energy efficiency upgrades and reducing seismic risk, new figures show.

Billions have been claimed under Italy's building 'superbonus'.
Billions have been claimed under Italy's building 'superbonus'. Photo by Gianluca Carenza on Unsplash

Italy launched the ‘superbonus 110‘ in May 2020 to restart a sluggish economy following the impacts of the pandemic, offering homeowners a tax deduction of up to 110 percent on renovation expenses.

Interest in the scheme has been high, with many property owners now facing delays and sometimes abandoning projects due to builder shortages and the complex bureaucracy required to access the scheme.

READ ALSO: Italy’s building bonus: Can you really claim back the cost of renovating property?

Critics have asked whether the superbonus has achieved its objectives of upgrading Italian property standards and boosting the construction sector.

But new figures from Italy’s energy and development agency, ENEA, updated to the end of October 2021, show that investments in the superbonus are considerable.

Such government-funded building projects related to energy efficiency and anti-seismic interventions have amounted to more than 9.7 billion euros to date.

The findings reveal that on a national level, some 57,664 claims have been filed to access the superbonus and that over 6.7 billion euros have already been claimed for completed renovation works.

The 3 billion euros of difference are assigned for ongoing renovation works which have not yet been completed.

The regions filing for the superbonus the most include Lombardy in first place, claiming 1.5 billion euros of investment, followed by Veneto, Lazio and Campania.

Figures show that the demand for the superbonus continues to rise, as ENEA recorded an increase of 24.8 percent in claims filed between September and October.

Photo: Mattia Bericchia on Unsplash

Overall, some 69 percent of projects have been finished out of the total works started under this building incentive.

Data are also broken down for works on condominiums, single-family buildings, and independent building units.

READ ALSO:

Condominiums accounted for almost 50 percent of the economic value of the scheme, with a total investment of almost 4.8 billion euros in this type of building.

Single-family homes accounted for the highest number of requests, with 29,369 claims filed so far worth a total of almost 3.1 billion euros.

Former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who initially introduced the scheme, claimed that ENEA’s figures show “growth, work and environmental sustainability”, adding that the superbonus must be extended as “it is not time to slow down the restart of the country”.

Time is running out for owners of single family homes to access the superbonus, however.

The Italian government announced its raft of budget measures for 2022 at the end of October, including extensions to tax breaks for home renovations.

EXPLAINED: What changes in Italy’s new budget?

The superbonus scheme has been extended for condominiums until 2023, but for many homeowners hoping to claim it for their single family homes, deadlines are approaching.

The bonus is set to continue for the whole of 2022 for single family units, but with a serious caveat: you’re only eligible if it’s your first home and you have an ISEE (the social-economic indicator of household wealth) of 25,000 euros maximum.

From January 1st to June 30th 2022 it will not be necessary to comply with the ISEE limit.

If you don’t fall into this category, however, the deadline of June 30th 2022 remains.

That means there are potentially just 8 months to complete all building works as so far there has been no mention of being able to finish a project on a single family home already started after this date.

For condominiums benefitting from the 110 percent deductions until 2023, the bonus will then drop in stages – to 70 percent for 2024 and 65 percent for 2025.

Other building bonuses have also been rolled on but some have been slashed in terms of the amount available to claim, meaning budgets could change considerably for those planning to carry out works in 2022.

Are you using Italy’s superbonus to renovate your property? Please get in touch or leave a comment below to tell us about your experience.

See more in The Local’s Italian property section.

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PROPERTY

How to avoid hidden traps when buying an old property in Italy

Buying a cheap home to renovate in Italy sounds like the dream, but it can quickly turn nightmarish amid restrictions, red tape, and bickering relatives. Silvia Marchetti explains some of the most unexpected pitfalls and how to avoid them.

How to avoid hidden traps when buying an old property in Italy

With so many Italian towns offloading cheap old properties for sale, lots of people have been tempted by the chance to buy a fixer-upper in a sunny, rural area and live in the perfect idyll. And most are oblivious at first of what risks the purchase might entail. 

The older the properties are, the more potential traps along the way.

READ ALSO: The Italian towns launching alternatives to one-euro homes

There have been several villages in Italy eager to sell €1 and cheap homes that have had to give up on their plans once hidden issues came to light.

Back in 2014, the towns of Carrega Ligure, in Piedmont, and Lecce nei Marsi, in Abruzzo, tried hard to sell their old properties off at a bargain price but just couldn’t get past Italy’s labyrinthine red tape, hellish property restrictions, and scores of bickering relatives.

Both towns’ mayors found themselves chasing after the many heirs of unknown property owners who had emigrated in the 1800s. All existing relatives, who technically owned small parcels of the same house (whether they knew it or not), had to all agree on the sale.

Under Italian law, over time and generations a property ‘pulverizes’ into many little shares depending on how many heirs are involved (if one single heir is not named).

You can end up in a situation where you agree with two owners that you’ll buy their old house, and then one day another five knock at your door saying they never gave their consent, nullifying your purchase. So it’s always best to check beforehand the local land registry to see exactly who, and how many, are the owners, and where they are. 

READ ALSO:

In Carrega Ligure and Lecce nei Marsi, families had long ago migrated across the world and the many heirs to some properties were impossible to track down.

But there were also other obstacles.

“We wanted to start the renovation project by selling dilapidated one euro houses, and then move on to cheap ones, but the tax office would not agree on the price – saying that the old properties had a greater value, that they weren’t classified as abandoned buildings but as perfectly livable houses in good shape”, says Lecce nei Marsi mayor Augusto Barile. 

This meant buyers would have ended up spending tons of money in property sale taxes.

“Even if these were just small houses, potential property taxes start at €700, and could have been much higher,” he explains.

“This would have been a nightmare for any buyer finding out about this at a later stage, after the purchase”.

Barile says the town hall had not made a prior agreement with the tax office to reclassify and ‘downgrade’ the value of the old buildings, which also required an update of the land registry. 

READ ALSO: The hidden costs of buying a home in Italy

Council officials in the village of Carrega Ligure faced a wall of red tape when they tried to sell off abandoned properties. Credit: Comune di Carrega Ligure

Several potential buyers I spoke to back then said that when they found out about the tax office’s involvement by word of mouth (mostly thanks to village gossip at the bar while sipping an espresso), they fled immediately without even taking a look at the houses. 

The best advice in this case is to pay a visit to the local tax bureau ahead of any formal purchase deal and make sure that the old, dilapidated house you want to buy is actually ‘accatastata’ (registered) as such, or you might end up paying the same property sale taxes as you would on a new home. Hiring a tax lawyer or legal expert could be of huge help.

In Carrega Ligure, where old shepherds’ and farmers’ homes are scattered across 11 districts connecting various valleys, a few abandoned homes located near pristine woods came with a nice patch of land – which turned out to be another huge problem.

Old estates often cannot be disposed of due to ‘vincoli’ – limitations – either of environmental or historic nature, that do not allow the property to be sold, or simply due to territorial boundaries that have changed over time, particularly if the original families haven’t lived there for a long time.

READ ALSO: How Italy’s cheap homes frenzy is changing rural villages

In Carrega Ligure it turned out that “a few dwellings located in the most ancient district couldn’t be sold because of hydrogeological risks. State law forbade rebuilding them from scratch, as floods and mudslides had hit the area in the past”, says Carrega Ligure mayor Luca Silvestri.

Meanwhile, other properties were located within or close to the protected mountain park area where the village districts spread, and where there are strict rules against building to preserve the surroundings.

Another issue was that a few old homes came with a patch of land which was quite distant, on the opposite side of the hill, says Silvestri, making it inconvenient for buyers looking for a house with a back garden.

In this case, checking territorial maps, and speaking to competent bodies such as park authorities if there are ‘green restrictions’ in place, can spare future nuisances.

See more in The Local’s Italian property section.

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