HomeSearch NewsForeigners and housing: what is it the housing suitability certificate? In which cases it is necessary?

09 February 2024

Foreigners and housing: what is it the housing suitability certificate? In which cases it is necessary?

Answers to frequently asked questions


For a foreigner, an available accommodation constitutes one of the essential prerequisites for being allowed entry and stay in Italy. Accommodation can be obtained through someone's hospitality or by renting or buying a house. Whatever the reason, any individual who lodges or hosts foreigners in their home is obliged to inform the public security authorities with a declaration of hospitality (read more in the dedicated FAQs )

What is the meaning of “suitable accommodation”?An accommodation is “suitable” when it complies with the standards and requirements established by local or national authorities to guarantee the safety and health of the occupants. The accommodation indicated by the foreigner for the purpose of issuing/renewing their residence permit must meet the requirements of habitability and hygienic-sanitary suitability, and comply with the minimum parameters established by the regional laws for public residential housing. These requirements may vary depending on the location, but they usually assess matters like structure, fire safety, indoor air quality, accessibility, plumbing and electrical systems and other regulations related to housing conditions.

What are the characteristics of suitable accommodation?The general requirements for suitable housing are contained in the Decree of 5 July 1975 of the Ministry of Health, which establishes the main hygienic-sanitary needs of a living spaces and the minimum size of the premise in relation to the expected number of occupants. Minimum height: 2.70 meters 1 inhabitant – 14 sq.m. 2 inhabitants – 28 sq.m. 3 inhabitants – 42 sq.m. 4 inhabitants – 56 sq.m. Additional 10 sq.m. are to be added for each subsequent inhabitant. The bedrooms must have a minimum surface area of ??9 sq.m. if “single”, and 14 sq.m. if used by two people. Each accommodation must be equipped with a living room of at least 14 sq.m. The surface area is only one of the mandatory requirements. Others include hygiene, height, heating, humidity, ventilation, lighting etc. Furthermore, additional rules and limitations could be required by regional and local regulation.

Who has to present a housing suitability certificate?The housing suitability certificate is required for all foreigners who request a residence permit for: - Employed and self-employed work; - Family reunification and cohesion (holders of a residence permit for international protection are not required to demonstrate the availability of a suitable accommodation to submit an application for family reunification) - EU residence permit for long-term residents.

Is the availability of suitable accommodation a prerequisite for issuing a residence permit for work?When a foreigner enters Italy for work reasons for the first time, it’s the employer’s responsibility to indicate a suitable accommodation for them in order to complete the application for work permit. Once the worker is in Italy, when visiting the Sportello Unico to sign for a residence contract, they must present a certificate of housing suitability, or a receipt certifying that it’s been requested already, including documentation of the actual availability of the accommodation. The certificate must also be presented upon renewal of the residence permit. The existence of the housing suitability parameters can be self-certified when requesting a work permit, but a certificate must be attached when signing the residence contract or when renewing the residence permit. According to Italian law, in fact, the lack of suitable accommodation leads to the rejection of any application for renewal of the residence permit for work reasons.

Which authority is responsible for verifying the adequacy of the accommodation’s state?The certification of suitability of the accommodation must be requested at the Ufficio Tecnico of the Municipality or, alternatively, at the Ufficio di Igiene Pubblica of the ASL. The request can be made by the owner of the accommodation, by the tenant or by the person who is resident, domiciled or guest in the property.

Are there penalties for employers and workers if an audit shows that the accommodation does not meet the definition of “suitable”?In case an audit proves that the accommodation is not suitable as per law requirements, any application for the issue or renewal of a residence permit is rejected. The employer's commitment to guarantee the availability of a suitable accommodation for the worker is actually a subsidiary guarantee, as this burden only exists if the foreign worker is not able to secure one before entering Italy.

What documents are needed for the request?The documents necessary for submitting the housing suitability application generally include: - The completed application form; - A copy of the title to the property (e.g. the purchase or the rental contract); - Declaration in lieu of affidavit, relating to the housing features; - Copy of the cadastral plan with indication of the intended use; - Copy of a valid document of the applicant; - Certification of payment of secretarial fees and/or tax stamps where needed. The specific documentation may vary according to the municipality, therefore it is advisable to inquire on the institutional website of the municipality where the accommodation is located.

How long does the housing suitability certificate last?The ministerial circular 04/17/2012 n. 3 clarified that the declaration of housing suitability is technically not a “certificate”, but represents a certification of technical conformity issued by the municipal Ufficio Tecnico (technical office). Therefore, this declaration cannot be replaced by a self-declaration. As per Italian law, “certificates issued by public administrations certifying state, personal qualities and facts not subject to modification have unlimited validity. The remaining certifications are valid for 6 months from the date of issue if legal or regulatory provisions do not provide for a longer validity". Under normal circumstances, these certificates do not expire, but should nonetheless be renewed every time the habitability characteristics or hygiene conditions change. However, the Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione, except in cases of family reunification, might require a certificate no older than 6 months.

How long does it take to obtain housing eligibility? The waiting time may be different according to the Municipality, but if the documentation is correct ane complete, it should take around three/four weeks.