The use of notaries’ escrow accounts, recently introduced in the Italian legal system for the purchase of immoveable assets, is getting more and more popular

Pursuant to law no. 147/2013 then modified by law no. 124/2017 either party to a real estate sale
is now entitled to claim that the sale price (with the relevant purchase taxes) is held in a specific
bank account (conto corrente dedicato) of the notary in charge with the drawing up of the purchase
deed. The fuds are to be held in this account until the notary registers the purchase title and this
must usually happen within two days from the signing. The law is very specific about the fate of this
account in the event of the notary’s death or assault of his/her assets by creditors.
If, after the signing of the deed, the notary does not discover any liens on the property subject of
sale, then he/she will proceed timely with the statutory registration and transcription
performances and will transfer the funds into the vendors’ account. In the event that the notary
finds detrimental registrations or mortgages, then he/she will pay the vendors’ creditor and
transfer the balance to their account. However, if in the account there were not enough monies,
the notary would be entitled to suspend the payment of the sale price to the selling party and the
ball at that point would pass to the lawyers and… the judge, however, at least, the funds would be
sitting safely in the notary’s account until the situation is somehow sorted out.
This legal device, to which many foreign buyers are already accustomed, has recently become very
popular because, when properly and knowingly used, it does offer transparency and reassurance
before the feared “technicalities and intricacies” of Italian law.