Some time ago, the Italian government announced a multitude of schemes that help home-owners fund the cost of their renovation works, and many of these offer to pay for entire projects completely. The most popular are the EcoBonus, SuperBonus 110% and the SismaBonus.
The EcoBonus pays for all insulation works to ensure that houses have the highest possible energy rating, the SismaBonus focuses on strengthening a property to safeguard against earthquakes, while the SuperBonus 110 goes even further – paying for thermal insulation, heating systems and/or solar panels, as well as anti seismic works.
But how easy is it to claim any of these bonuses? And can funds be guaranteed prior to purchasing a home?
We asked our geometra, Tania, to share her experiences of working with Italy’s bonus schemes.
There are many questions and stories online about schemes such as the EcoBonus, SuperBonus 110% and others. Do you need a geometra or ingegnere to assist you?
Yes. To apply for any of these bonuses, you will need a professional technician such as a geometra, architect, ingegnere or accountant to complete the application. You don’t necessarily need to prepare a full project, but plans must be discussed with a geometra who can advise on current rules and expiration dates of the bonuses – as these rules and dates are amended frequently.
READ MORE: ITALIAN HOME DESIGN & RENOVATIONS
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HOW TO APPLY FOR A SUPERBONUS OR ECOBONUS
What are the requirements needed to apply for a bonus?
To access any bonus, you must check that any previous works to your property have been carried out legally, with correct applications and floor plans held at the offices of the local comune (council) and province. Any errors or irregularities can result in fines being issued and these must be settled before you can proceed.
Once fines are settled or the comune is satisfied that there are none to pay, the geometra or ingegnere can then apply for the relevant bonus.
How do you claim the SuperBonus 110, EcoBonus & SismaBonus?
There are three main ways to claim one of Italy’s bonuses:
1. The client pays for the works up front, and then applies for reimbursement to be given back in instalments over five years.
2. A geometra or ingegnere works with participating banks to arrange a line of credit, and in this case the client pays the interest on the loan only. The loan is paid off when the bank obtains the bonus from the government.
3. A building company carries out the work and at the same time requests payment from the government in the form of a bonus. This option has no cost to the customer.
READ MORE: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GEOMETRA & AN INGEGNERE?
HOW EASY IS IT TO CLAIM A SUPERBONUS IN ITALY?
Have you encountered any issues in working with these bonuses?
Often, the process isn’t always swift. Once an application is made to a bank to issue a line of credit, it can take three to four months before the bank is able to make a decision, based on whether permission is granted to receive a bonus. Some banks and building companies have now stopped participating in the bonus scheme as they have had to wait for long periods of time to be reimbursed with the bonus.
Several have also encountered challenges in completing the required 30% of the project by the specified deadlines. A few deadlines have now been amended due to a shortage of building companies and a rise in cost of materials.
Can a home-owner make an application to the government for a bonus?
No. Applications can only be made by a technical person such as a geometra or ingegnere. A technician must apply directly to participating banks, the post office, or to a building company, not with the government.
Will a potential house-buyer be guaranteed a bonus to fund renovation works?
Nothing is guaranteed before you purchase a home. Nobody will guarantee this or give you a signed document to say that you qualify for a bonus or that you will get one.
My advice is to have the funds available for your renovations and not assume that you will be able to obtain any of these bonuses. Should you enlist a geometra to prepare a renovation project to the comune and then be told that you qualify to claim a bonus then this is, as the name suggests, an added bonus!
READ MORE: IS MY ITALIAN HOME ‘ABUSIVO’?