The duration of the lease for residential use with free rent cannot be less than 4 years. Let’s see how it works

The duration of the rent-free lease must be 4 years

The law provides that, after the first 4 years, the contract is automatically renewed for another 4 years.

Any other agreement is void.

What happens after the first 4 years?

After the first 4 years, the renewal for another 4 years is automatic, with the exception of two hypotheses. Let’s see them:

1. Withdrawal of the tenant
In the lease agreement with free rent, the tenant, if there are serious reasons, can withdraw from the contract at any time by notifying the owner with 6 months’ notice, by sending a registered letter indicating the reason for the withdrawal.

The law does not establish what the ” serious reasons ” are.

To identify the “serious reasons” it is necessary to refer to the rulings of the jurisprudence which established that they must present themselves as objective circumstances, therefore unrelated to the will of the tenant, unforeseeable and occurring during the lease relationship (transfer to another city for work reasons, lack of healthiness in the leased property, health reasons, etc.).

In this case, the owner has the right to pay the fees for the 6 months following the date of the notice of withdrawal, without prejudice to any new lease of the property in the 6 months.

The wrongful termination entitles the owner to also request compensation for damages (amounting to no royalty payments), upon the termination of the contract for non-performance of the conductor.

2. Cancellation of the owner
In free rent leases, the owner, at the end of the first 4 years, if he wants to avoid the automatic renewal of the contract for a further 4 years, must send a registered letter to the tenant at least 6 months before the expiry date. with which it indicates the will to cancel and the reason for the non-renewal.

The reasons for giving the cancellation have been indicated by the law on leases and can only be the following:

1. the owner intends to use the property (for residential or commercial or craft or professional use) directly for himself, for one of his children, for his spouse or for family members up to the 2nd degree (children, parents, grandchildren, grandparents, brothers);

2. the owner, legal person, company or public body or in any way with public, social, mutual, cooperative, welfare, cultural or religious purposes intends to allocate the property to the exercise of activities aimed at pursuing the aforementioned purposes and offers to the tenant another suitable property of which the lessor has full availability;

3. the tenant has another free and suitable apartment in the same municipality;

4. the owner, provided he has a regular building permit, intends to carry out the demolition or radical transformation to create new buildings, or, since it is a property located on the top floor, the owner intends to carry out elevations in accordance with the law and to carry them out it is essential for technical reasons the evacuation of the property itself;

5. the property is included in a severely damaged building that must be rebuilt and the tenant’s permanence is an obstacle to the completion of indispensable works;

6. the tenant does not occupy the property continuously without justified reason;

7. the owner wants to sell the leased property and has no other properties other than the one he used as a home. In this case, the tenant has the right of first refusal in the purchase of the leased property.

To remember:

  • If the cancellation occurs for reasons other than those communicated by the landlord, the tenant is entitled to compensation for damages.
  • If the owner does not expressly communicate the reason, the cancellation is void and the contract is extended for a further 4 years.
  • If the reasons listed above do not apply and the owner also withdraws from the free rent rental contract, the tenant is entitled to compensation for damages of no less than 36 months ‘ rent.
    Alternatively, the tenant can ask the judge to restore the lease if the owner, within 12 months, does not use the vacated property for the use requested by him.


What happens after the second contract expiration (after 8 years)?

At the second expiry of the contract, the following hypotheses may occur:

1. if one of the parties has no interest in renewing the contract, the cancellation or withdrawal must be communicated by a registered letter which must reach the recipient at least 6 months before the expiry date;

2. if, on the other hand, both parties want to keep the contract, there is a tacit renewal for another period of 4 years, which in turn can be renewed for a further 4 years;

3. if one of the parties intends to renew the contract but under different conditions, it must communicate the renewal proposal by registered letter at least 6 months before the contract expires.
After receiving the renewal proposal, whoever received the proposal can:
– accept the new conditions and sign a new contract;
– rejecting the proposal, the contract will cease upon its natural expiry;
– negotiate new conditions that will be accepted by both parties by entering into a new contract.
In any case, the response of acceptance, refusal or counter-proposal must be communicated through a registered letter to be sent within 60 days of receipt of the renewal proposal. After 60 days or in case of no response, the contract is considered terminated.