The lease contract is governed by Articles 1571 et seq. of the Civil Code and by the following special laws:
(a) Law no. 392 of 27 July 1978, "Discipline of the lease of urban real estate", known as the "fair rent law", concerning the lease of urban real estate for residential use (arts. 1-27) and for use other than residential use (arts. 28-42), as well as commercial leases, short leases and holiday leases;
b) Law no. 431 of 9 December 1998, "Regulations on leases and release of property for residential use".
Law 431/1998 regulates the rental of property meeting the tenant's housing needs.
Law 431, however, abolished only some of the provisions of Law 392/1978, leaving some common aspects relating to the rental of urban property unchanged.
Since the rules are in part overlapping, it will be necessary to assess on a case-by-case basis to know which law is to be applied according to the specific aspect stated in the contract.
Lease agreements for residential use are distinguished into rent-free and rent-agreed agreements.
c) Legislative Decree No. 42 of 22 January 2004, "Cultural and Environmental Heritage Code".
The decree regulates leases on listed buildings.
d) Law 167/1962, "Provisions to encourage the acquisition of buildable areas for economic and social housing" (as amended by Law 865/1971 et seq.)
Law 167 relates to the regulation of leases of buildings constructed in subsidised housing for tenants who fall within the income limits established by Law 457/1978 (Residential Building Regulations).
WHAT IS A LEASE CONTRACT?
A lease is "the contract by which one party undertakes to let the other party enjoy a movable or immovable thing for a given period of time, in return for a specific fee" (Article 1571 of the Civil Code).
The nature of the lease contract follows from this definition:
* is consensual (it is perfected by the mere agreement of the parties)
* produces obligatory effects
* has as its object a personal right of enjoyment
* is for payment (to be distinguished from the commodity contract)
* it is a contract for payment of consideration (the availability of the property against payment of a fee)
* it is a contract of continuous performance (a so-called 'duration contract')
RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE LANDLORD
The landlord is bound by the following obligations:
* to deliver the leased property to the tenant in a good state of repair (Art. 1575(1) of the Civil Code)
* to keep the leased property in a state to serve the agreed use (art. 1575, sub-section 2, Civil Code)
* ensure the peaceful enjoyment of the property during the lease (Art. 1575, para. 3, Civil Code)
* carry out the necessary extraordinary maintenance repairs (art. 1576, para 1, Civil Code)
* indemnify the tenant for any damage resulting from vices in the leased property, unless the tenant was blamelessly unaware of them at the time of delivery (art. 1578, subsection 2, Civil Code)
* indemnify the tenant against harassment that reducing the use or enjoyment of the thing, caused by third parties claiming to have rights over the same (art. 1585, paragraph 1, Civil Code)
RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE TENANT
Here are the tenant's main obligations:
* taking delivery of the thing (art. 1587, sub-section 1, Civil Code)
* observe due care and diligence in using the property for the use determined in the contract or for the use that may otherwise be presumed from the circumstances (art. 1587, para 1, Civil Code)
* pay the agreed fee (Art. 1587(2) of the Civil Code)
* bear the costs of preservation and ordinary maintenance (Art. 1576, para. 2, Civil Code)
Knowing the rights and obligations arising from a lease agreement is extremely important in order to avoid conflicts between the parties and prevent possible legal disputes.
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