Finding a rental home in Italy—a practical guide for expats
Learn the must-know rules and top tips for renting a home in Italy, including everything from contract types and costs in different cities to what documents you need.
8 min read
Just moved to Italy and looking to rent a house? Or maybe you’re preparing to move and want to plan ahead? Well if so, you’re in the right place! Whether you’re coming to Italy for work or study, are here for a few months or indefinitely, there are many options available to you. But there are also a few things you’ll need to know as an expat in Italy before renting a house. This guide covers everything from costs to the best way to find a house, the various types of contracts, and the documents you need. Let’s get started!
First, a quick tip on terminology: When we talk about homes in Italy, this generally refers to apartments and not single-family houses. In large and medium-sized cities, as well as most towns now, most people live in small- to large-sized apartment blocks and buildings.
Where to look for a rental home in Italy
There are various places where you can look for rental homes in Italy. This includes real estate agencies, websites, and specialized newspapers—or you might just happen to see the right “For Rent” sign at the right time while walking down a cobblestoned street. A lot will depend on what you’re looking for, but also on luck. A traditional sign posted underneath a building advertising a place to rent is still popular. If you walk around the neighborhood where you work, study, or would like to live, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the right opportunity.
If you want to look for homes in a more logical and organized way, there are other, more reliable channels that you can use. First, there are real estate agencies. They may change from city to city, but there are franchises of well-known brands in most towns and cities throughout Italy. The agency costs can be high, however, and normally range between the cost of one or two months rent.
Listings of houses for rent from multiple agencies, as well as from individuals, can also be found grouped together in newspapers specializing in real estate rentals and sales.
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How to search online for an Italian rental home
Of course, plenty of traditional newspaper channels have been replaced by digital ones. Today, the best way to look for rental homes in Italy is on the internet. There are tons of specialized sites in Italy:immobiliare.it, Subito, idealista, Casa.it, MioAffitto, affitto.it, trovacasa, soloaffitti.it, altroaffitto.it, and more. Most agencies replicate the same ads, but it still pays to take a look at as many as you can so that you don’t overlook the perfect place.
The sites generally link back to the agency or individual who put the home up for rent. From here, the contact and negotiation phase begins. So, although the first part of your search can be done remotely, we recommend being in Italy for the next steps. Seeing a house in person is always the best option, as photos can be embellished or exclude the downsides of an apartment. It can also make the difference with landlords who want to get to know tenants in person before entering into long-term contracts.
How much does rent cost in Italy?
Let’s get to the prices. How much does rent cost in Italy? When compared with other countries, especially those in northern Europe, rental prices in Italy generally aren't that high. Obviously, a lot depends on the type of apartment, but the city you want to live in also makes a difference. Rent prices can be very high in some areas of Milan, Rome, and Naples, But even in smaller cities like Florence, Bologna, or Perugia, which are university centers for Italian and foreign students, landlords have been known to try to profit from the high-demand rental market, and prices have been pushed up. In Milan, for example, bymid-2022, the average cost to rent a house was more than €20/m². Turin, a large university city in the north, is another example. It’s wealthier than many other Italian cities but still has very attractive rental prices.
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Additional rental costs to budget for
When establishing your budget for a rental home in Italy, you'll need to add other items to the cost of the contract. In fact, as the tenant (the person renting the house), you'll be responsible for utility costs including electricity, gas, water (often included in condo fees), landline phone and internet, and Pay TV (if available). Garbage-related expenses are also the tenant’s responsibility. Make sure to ask about these, as garbage collection fees are usually quite high. You'll be required to divide condo fees. According to the law, the landlord is responsible for extraordinary expenses (work done to the building, etc.), while you’re responsible for regular ones. However, individual contracts have different cost-sharing provisions (usually in favor of the tenant).
Then there are cases, especially with small apartments for short-term rentals (we'll discuss these more in the next section) where you and your landlord might find it more convenient to establish an "all-inclusive" flat rental price.” This is basically a fee that includes incidental expenses and everything else, so that you don't have to worry about keeping up with multiple bills. Lastly, take note that there's one type of expense you won't have to deal with: As a tenant in Italy, you are entitled to the replacement or repair of broken or worn-out things.
Rental contracts in Italy
So, you’ve found the right house for you and all you have to do is sign! Well, there are many types of leases in Italy. Normally it's the landlord who proposes the type of lease, but it can be negotiated. Let's take a look at the various types, but keep one thing in mind: Don't worry if you see the term "lease" in the contract. That’s what it is called in Italian law, but leasing is the same as renting.
Types of Italian rental contracts: Freely negotiated tenancy agreements (4+4)
The most typical type of contract for long-term leases is the freely negotiated tenancy agreement (also called a "4+4"). It lasts four years and can be automatically renewed for another four years when it expires. The costs, as well as all the other clauses, are negotiated between you and the landlord. Normally, the owner prepares the contract template, so read it carefully. If you have any issues with the language or legal terminology, you can seek legal advice. The price of rent in freely negotiated tenancy agreements can be fixed or adjusted for inflation (using the ISTAT, or National Statistics Institute Index).
Regulated tenancy agreement (3+2)
There are other types of contracts called regulated tenancy agreements. These are categorized together because there is a price ceiling, which is established in regional agreements depending on various criteria. Aside from that, however, they are very different: The first is called a regulated tenancy agreement, or 3+2. After the first three years, it can be explicitly renewed for three more, or can be automatically renewed for two additional years. Of course, you can always give notice of withdrawal from the contract within the agreed-upon time frame.
Short-term lease contract
You can choose a short-term lease contract for stays of up to 18 months. However, you'll need to indicate the special circumstances of why you’re choosing a shorter contract: mobility due to your job, study needs, internships, vocational training, or job search.
Rental contracts for university students
Special leases are available to college students. Lasting from six months to three years, they can be renewed for the same period, but they also can be terminated.
For all types of leases, they can generally be terminated before the end date of the contract, but with a notice period that ranges from one to six months. The end date is always stipulated in the contract.
Documents you need to rent a home in Italy
You'll need two things when signing a lease: your documents and a deposit. As for the documents you need to rent a house in Italy, you won't have to pay any special fees. All you need is an ID card or passport and Italian tax code. In most cases, your landlord will also ask to see your latest tax returns (form 730 for employees or a Form Unico for those who are self-employed) or another type of document showing that you are financially secure.
Then there’s the deposit, which is equal to a number of monthly rent payments. This payment is made to the landlord as collateral and is returned at the end of the rental period if everything goes well. It protects the homeowner in case of property damage, unpaid back rent, or if a renter leaves the home without giving notice. The deposit usually amounts to three monthly rent payments, but each contract can have different clauses.
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You’ve just read an article that was compiled with the highest level of accuracy based on official sources, laws, and institutional sites. Despite this, however, it is not featured on an official government site. Given that regulations can change from one moment to the next, we encourage you to consult the relevant government sites before deciding to take tangible action.
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