This chapter explores the black market in the private rental sector in Southern European legal systems, with a particular focus on Italy. The black market is an often neglected real world phenomenon constituted by unofficial, informal contracts which violate binding legal rules, in particular public law rules on tax, registration and inhabitability requirements, and are therefore mostly kept secret by the parties. Such secretive and illegal arrangements, which render resort to the courts more difficult, tend to disadvantage the weaker party, typically the tenant. Against this background, the Italian legislator has introduced sanction mechanisms under private law aimed at giving tenants incentives to report black market practices without endangering their own position. However, the mandatory adaptation of the contract to the advantage of the tenant has been declared void by the Italian Constitutional Court. Yet, other sanctions continue to exist: landlords may only enforce written and registered contracts whereas tenants may ask for registration even at a later stage to invoke their rights. Yet these measures presuppose an effective, swift and affordable judicial system trusted by the tenant, which is not fully present in Southern Europe in general and in Italy in particular.
Elena Bargelli and Giulia Donadio
Evictions in Italy have recently acquired primary importance on the political agenda and in public debate due to a dramatic surge in ouster proceedings from rented and privately owned residential tenures. This chapter starts with an overview of the eviction policy in the Italian legal system. It focuses on the socioeconomic factors related to evictions and the measures designed to prevent arrears, cease evictions from owned primary residences, as well as measures that postpone evictions from rented primary residences. Against this backdrop, the chapter then focuses on the right to housing as a fundamental right, as articulated as an expression of the Italian constitutional principles of social solidarity (Article 2) and equality (Article 3). The chapter subsequently examines the procedures leading to eviction in particular areas (mortgaged properties, rented housing, unauthorised occupancies), and clarifies their respective procedural phases. The chapter then identifies various common risk factors for evictions and provides a brief case-law summary in order to highlight the existence of best practices in response to increasing eviction proceedings in Italy.