Agrarian pre-emption and neighboring pre-emption: rights, requirements and regulations

Agrarian pre-emption and neighboring pre-emption: rights, requirements and regulations

Real Estate Insights Jul 03, 2024 No Comments

Information guide on a very important legislative instrument both for those who intend to sell a property and for those who want to purchase.


Pre-emption is the right of a person to be preferred to another, on equal terms, in the stipulation of a legal transaction, such as a sale, according to legal criteria or according to the will of the parties involved.


The right of pre-emption of agricultural land is an important legal institution that aims to protect agricultural territory and encourage the continuity of agricultural activities. This right guarantees certain individuals priority in purchasing agricultural land for sale, before it can be sold to anyone else.
Law no. 590/1965 art.8  and by law n. 817/1971 art.7. attributes it to the direct cultivator tenant of a plot of land in the purchase of the rustic land that the owner intends to sell.

The right of agricultural pre-emption therefore concerns land rented to direct farmers, or sharecroppers, or partial colonies or to joint ventures.


  • The right of agricultural pre-emption can be validly exercised only with regard to land with agricultural use. If there is a rural building on the land, it is necessary to verify whether or not said property is in a pertinent relationship with the land. If, on the contrary, it is the land that is in a relationship of relevance to the building, agricultural pre-emption is excluded.
  • Whoever exercises the right of pre-emption must necessarily directly and habitually cultivate the land put up for sale for at least two years and must not have sold other rustic land with a taxable land income equal to € 0.52.
  • The land for which he intends to exercise pre-emption, in addition to others already owned by him, must not exceed three times the surface area corresponding to the working capacity of his family.
  • Whoever exercises the right of pre-emption must cultivate the land on the basis of a valid contract (rent, sharecropping, colony, etc.). 

In fact, the right of pre-emption does not apply if the tenant, sharecropper, etc, has communicated that he does not intend to renew the lease or if the latter has ceased due to a serious breach (for example failure to cultivate) or due to withdrawal.

Finally, agricultural pre-emption is not permitted in the event of expropriation, forced sale, exchange, forced liquidation, bankruptcy, or in the case of a change in the urban destination of the land from agricultural to building land.


The right of agricultural pre-emption of the neighbor is sanctioned and regulated by article 7 of law 817/1971 which extends to the cultivator owner (direct cultivator or I.A.P.) of lands bordering those offered for sale the priority right to purchase it before third-party buyers, provided that no tenant is established on that land.


The right of agricultural pre-emption can be validly exercised in the presence of these requirements:

  • the land must border the land offered for sale
  • the neighbor must own and cultivate the agricultural land directly

It is important to specify that there must be a physical and material contiguity between the land, not even a functional one. In this regard we recommend reading this article:


The current legislation establishes that the interested farmer can exercise the right of agricultural pre-emption within 30 days of receiving notification of the proposed sale of the land.

The owner who intends to sell must notify the neighboring farmers, by registered letter, of the preliminary sale agreement or accepted purchase proposal which must indicate the name of the buyer, the sales price and the other particular clauses established by the parties.

In case of exercise of the right of agricultural pre-emption, payment of the purchase price of the land must be paid within the following three months.

In the event that the farmer who exercised the pre-emption right demonstrates that he has made the request for the granting of a loan, the deadline for payment of the price is suspended until the financing is granted and in any case no later than one year.

In the event that the owner of the land does not notify the preliminary document, or if the conditions indicated in the deed of sale (price, methods, parts) are different from those indicated in the preliminary document or in the accepted proposal, the holder of the right of agricultural pre-emption has the possibility of exercising, within one year from the transcription of the notarial sale contract, the redemption: that is, it has the possibility of replacing the buyer in the ownership of the agricultural land.

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Chiara Peppicelli

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