Renting in ItalyHi,I have a few

Mark D Image
11/08/2019 - 11:52

Renting in ItalyHi,I have a few questions about renting in Italy. We were planning to move from the UK to Italy but I'm not having a great deal of luck so far:We've picked out quite a few properties we're interested in, all with agencies, and have been attempting to contact the agencies.It might be because I am calling from a UK number, it might just be that the agencies appear to consist of one person with a mobile phone number, but I'm not having much luck getting through with calls unanswered or declined.I have managed to get an answer from one, via email, which reads that once we view, we'll need to pay a month's deposit and at least two months in advance, then we wait for the landlord to "review the application" - then finally, when we move in - if I'm reading it correctly - the agent also appears to want a month's payment for themselves as some form of "commission".That last part comes if the application is "accepted" by the landlord. It doesn't say what happens if it does not bearing in mind we'll already have handed over a lot of money and made plans. It also suggests there may or will be a delay at this point while we wait for that acceptance. There's no way I'd accept those terms, it's madness.Getting a bit depressed here :(Am I just terribly unlucky here or is this way of doing things normal? Any tips..Grazie!Mark 



Don’t know your circumstances, but if you are prepared to do so I would look at something like a longer term Airbnb on the ground where you can then ask around to get a rental. I would also do as you have here and ask on other forums if anyone wants to rent out for a short period whilst you look around.

Ideally Ferrara but also looking at Verona, Brescia and other smaller towns in that same area. As per idea above we can try two of three AirBnB places over two months in different locations to get a feel for the area.There isn't that much that comes up for rent that's central and big enough, I've mostly been watching the listings on so far and there are a few places which have been advertised for some time so we should be able to book to view those and will have time for an application to go through.This came back from the estate agent with regard to renting one place:"+ la mediazione dell'agenzia sempre di una mensilità a momento di sottoscrizione del contratto definitivo"It's the word "always" that really annoys me, as if this is normal. Maybe it is normal. I'm not paying an estate agent a thousand euros to print out a Word document.I'm self-employed so can prove income / no need for dependency on State and we *should* hopefully be OK as long as we register before January 31 (Brexit) and get residency sorted out.

Mark ,To have residence, among other things, you need a rental contract, valid for six months - and the whole procedure, it will commit you, for a few thousand euros and twenty days - from here to December, there are not many days available - remember that Italy is practically paralyzed from holidays from the 20th of December to the 10th of January - I, in your place, will begin to work hard NOW.The word ALWAYS, you will have to get used to it, here it is very used (all telephone contracts, when you sign them they have rates, forever, that change after 20 days ..) - but anyway, yes, the agents who they take care of rents, take a monthly payment, as a mediation - and their work does not consist only in filling in a form - the house they offer you, they have to look for it, check that it is in order - fill in that form, to register on the portal of the tax agency (to do so must have an access and access has a cost), pay taxes on their earnings, something they will also have to take home .., or ask them to work for the glory and pay utilities with a bunch of red flowers?

In reply to by Ugo

We are in a great hurry to find somewhere and to get registered before the Brexit date. We've booked an AirBnB in the beautiful town of Bergamo for three weeks to explore the major cities and hope to find somewhere quickly.The situation with estate agents is different in the UK:In the UK estate agents have been charging tenants fees to arrange the tenancy which have crept up over the years to as much as £400.However these fees were previously banned in Scotland and were also banned in England this year. estate agent works for the landlord, so it is the landlord who pays all the estate agent's fees.Only one of the estate agents I looked at - in Bologna - provides a guarantee that the details quoted are correct.I can see why renting privately (without an estate agent) is quite popular in Italy :)

the greater the proximity to the big cities of the north, or tourism, the cost will be, both the rent and the agent - this is because the greater the request - what prices have been asked of you and how many rooms were the apartments that you have found ?

After contacting 5 I received a reply from only one. None of the others answer their phone. It may be that they are declining the calls from a UK number perhaps, or that they are simply very busy. (I can speak enough Italian to be able to speak on the phone).The only one who replied mentioned the fee/commission of one month's rent which I thought was hilarious (the one above), I did not realise it is normal.We're looking at central apartments in the northern cities of Ferrara, Brescia, Verona and Bergamo (we will not bring the car to Italy) which rent for between 750 EUR and 1350 EUR or a little more per month. Most have 2+ rooms (very central and small), normally 3+ and over 80m sq.The one that did return my email was for an apartment with 5 rooms.Am I right in thinking that the estate agent is totally responsible for the apartment for the whole contract, so if anything goes wrong such as the cooker, heating or the boiler failing, it is the agent's responsibility to get it fixed quickly and that is part of what the customer is paying for?

the agent is not responsible for the apartment - the responsibility lies with the owner who leases it.I have a suggestion, why don't you rent an apartment in a small village, where you spend little and above all where the offices of the municipality are quicker to make the assessment and give you the resideza?By law the municipality has 45 working days of time, very difficultly you will have residence for the end of December in a big cityWhen you have taken up residence, you can move it wherever you want, in Italy, in a few days -

If the landlord organises repairs I can't see any reason to use an estate agent - this is another difference to the UK. Here, the agency has responsibility to the tenant and has legal obligations.These comparisons are not meant to suggest that the UK is "better" than Italy. Not so. Perhaps better in some ways. Italy is better in others. Italy is a truly beautiful country of cultured, creative, fantastic people. That is what attracts me. The vistas. The towns and cities. The history. The people. The language.As I read the information, provided that I can show that I have applied for residency before the Brexit deadline of 31 January it doesn't matter how long it takes to process it. It doesn't need to have been confirmed by that date, I just have to have applied in time.I can still apply otherwise and I qualify because I can prove my income and I am not a "burden" on the State. I can make an immediate contribution. However Italy does not like self-employed people and does not grant many residency permits.However I need to have an address - as you say, for a period of time, so that I can be there when visited to prove that I live there. And I suppose I need to be able to prove residency for other things.We have been looking at towns and cities because we were not going to bring the car to Italy, this is the reason why we have been looking at central locations.Another big reason is the quality of internet connections. I need a fast connection to do my work. This has to be at least fibre to the street post/node.Britain is terrible for internet connections in rural areas - we only have fibre to the cabinet (street) and it only works quickly if you are very near to the cabinet in the street (less than about 400m). Most rural houses are not near enough.Yet, here, in the UK, we live in a rural area. We are lucky that we have good internet speeds. I like quiet places. And the idea of moving, as you suggest, to somewhere in a small village really appeals. I'm happy to drive and to buy a car in Italy but I would ideally need to have residency first before doing that.Italy has some truly beautiful villages, but also many beautiful towns: I think Italy's towns are much nicer than our towns in the UK: for example Ferrara is like our Cambridge which is one of the nicest.If I knew that I could get fast internet speeds (around 50 Meg down and 10 Meg up would sufffice) in the countryside - the houses are cheaper - and we could have a house not an apartment - I would love this.Thanks for all your posts - I'm learning a lot and I can see that I have a lot of reading and research to do!

internet fast  ? like this ?> angelin Umbria region > for the fact that England is better or worse than Italy - Mark, every country has its strengths and its faults, living there, appreciating the former and getting used to living with the latter - , scroll page  till  >  IRPEF  QUANDO NON SI PAGA ED ESENZIONIwhen you don't pay and exemptionspensionati = retired >  from 8.125 euroPrima casa > do not payetc. - page, does not allow cut and pastehowever, if you really want to come and live in Italy - an Italian course, non-professional, maybe those for the third age, from the university for foreigners from Perugia, could be of great use to you

Those tax rates are incredibly high. Italy really doesn't want entrepreneurs or wealth creators, does it? :)17,220 EUR + 41% on income over 55,000 EURBut then perhaps it is "all relative":I see that people in Italy complain that property prices are very expensive.Compared with England, property in Italy is almost free. It is "being given away for nothing".But then in England tax rates are lower, so people have more to spend - but then most of that goes on property (mortgage or rent).I've been having Italian lessons for two years with two brilliant Italian tutors over Skype - but I would love to do a formal course - thanks for the link, I have "bookmarked" it. 

if you want to have residence in Italy, you can also take the elective residence, which you will not be allowed to produce income in Italy - and therefore not pay taxes in Italy.And keep the tax residence in the UK - for the income you produce in the UK, you pay your taxes in the UK -see > dow page to > Foreign visa info ( in red )click , scroll untill page 38 - point  1 3  - read !     

Hi Mark,

I see you have had a lot of answers but just thought I would add my recent experience.
We moved to Bologna at the beginning of March (ahead of a brexit deadline as well!). We took an AirBnb for a month, naively thinking it would be enough time to find somewhere to rent... it wasn't! We found eventually that looking online and sending emails was pointless, noone replies and when I started phoning or visiting most properties we saw advertised had already gone almost instantly (also, as I only had a 6 month contract at the time the agencies weren't interested in talking to us, despite being able to demonstrate available funds and offering several months rent in advance!). We ended up with Airbnbs for the first 6 months in the end. However, we were able to negotiate a short term contract with an Airbnb owner directly after having stayed in their place for a month. With this temporary (tourist) contract we were able to get temporary residency (anagrafica) from the local comune, which I believe is enough to grant the same 'stay of execution' that a residency application will. If I had my time again I would be tempted to find a longer term Airbnb and contact the owner to ask about a contract to buy you some breathing space. We found an apartment and got residency in the end but it was privately through a friend of a friend.

Good luck!

In reply to by alanw0

Thanks, that's really helpful to know. It's not just me who can't get through to estate agents :)But having looked at this more, and with the answers above, I'm not seeing what the point of trying to use an estate agent is: I'd read that many tenancies are arranged privately and I can see why. Yes, they do list on the major sites, but they don't seem very interested in gaining any business from people with enough money to move in immediately. They may well be concerned about Brexit, which is understandable. The fees are just ludicrous.We've booked an AirBnB initially - a bit last minute - and we're planning on looking for another one within the first week of our stay so we've got somewhere to move to next, once we've explored the towns and cities a little and have a firm idea of where we're headed.It was all set to be Ferrara until I saw Bergamo, it looks stunning. So that's where we're headed initially.There always exists the option to simply treat this as a holiday and return - I know i have a lot of things to look into. At the moment the tax rates and system seem to be designed to keep out wealth creators and self-employed people and disincentivise people from starting and growing businesses, I don't think I am reading it correctly but if I am then Italy will be impossible. But the information I have read seems to conflict so I'll need to get some expert advice.I have contracts with multiple UK clients (+1 Italian) and was planning on continuing those from Italy with the occasional brief trip back to the UK for meetings, which aren't very often - it's all "done over the internet". While improving my Italian language skills and then potentially gaining Italian clients.This means I'll be liable for Italian, not UK tax, apart from those brief stays in the UK where the tax is due to the UK. I fear this is going to be more complicated than it may need to be.Good to hear your story had a happy ending and thanks for your tips, all taken on board. I can see us "going the same way" if we stay beyond the initial period.

Have you given a thought to Portugal? Way more interesting when it comes to taxes...;)You have had tons of amazing answers and lots of info from everybody here so I won't be too long. Just wanted to underline: don' give anybody any money ahead of time...You most certainly don't have to pay a fee before your application is "reviewed". And also, nothing is that "formal" here. They don't review anything & are usually happy to find foreign renters who will actually pay rent.So don't let them fool you, real estate agents here are not trained to respond to what the UK, German or French market would expect from them & they are a far cry from being professional - like you experienced they don't answer calls or emails and actually, they also don't show up to their own showings. I won't even get started on paperwork and regulations. My advice: be careful and always ask on forums.As many have mentioned above, Airbnb is definitely your best bet in this situation! Or a short term rental.Take care! :)

Having been a renter in Italy for 12 years I think you would benefit from working with an agency, because rental agreements are complex, come in different categories, and are very binding.  However, few if any rental agencies will take you seriously unless you are on the ground, in Italy, searching in person.If you absolutely need fast internet to do your work then consider working with an agent to get a guarantee of internet service in the contract. Most landlords will tell you internet is no problem and fast -- but that might not be the case.  For a variety of reasons, internet and wi-fi might be sub-optimal in a particular location.  You should familiarize yourself with what other independent businesses do in your target areas, what providers they contract with. Despite having your own income you will still need to carry health insurance to qualify for legal residence in Italy and if you are in Italy for extended periods, it is highly likely you will be required to pay income taxes and meet other filing requirements and declarations regarding your assets and income, even those you might keep in the UK, subject to severe penalities if you do not comply.   I don't say any of this to frighten you but only so you don't get a truly nasty surprise and jeopardize your future happiness in Italy! My experience of living in Italy is that I did all the adjusting to its culture.  Italy did not change for me. I happen to like what Italy is and hope it does NOT follow the rest of Europe, the UK or the USA into prioritizing wealth over community and preservation of tradition.  But that is for Italians to decide. Hope you find your sweet spot!