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Renting houses in Italy as a foreigner
Renting a property in Italy as a foreigner can be both stressful and easy at the same time. The majority of Italians tend to be friendly and open-minded towards foreigners. Of course, there is also the option of relying on real estate agents to help you find the most suitable home for you.
Overall, tenants enjoy the same rights in Italy as they would anywhere else. In case of upgrades or changes, the landlord has to approve them. Moreover, renters are expected not to damage the apartment, do anything illegal inside of it or disturb the peace of their neighbors. In case the above-mentioned criteria will not be respected, landlords reserve the right to remove renters if they’re found to be destructive, disruptive, or using the apartment illegally.
Because apartments are mostly rented by their owners, rules around subletting will vary from apartment to apartment.
Furnished or unfurnished houses?
Houses in Italy can be:
Whether your future Italian home is going to be furnished or unfurnished will depend on the duration of your contract. For example, long-term rentals usually last between two and four years and are typically unfurnished. Unfurnished in Italy means no appliances whatsoever—no refrigerator, no stove, no oven.
When it comes to short-term rentals and short-term contracts, you can expect apartments and houses to be fully furnished.
Requirements and documents to rent a house in Italy
EU residents aren’t required to have a job in order to get an apartment; however, most landlords will require proof of income before allowing you to move in.
Non-EU residents will need to prove their legal residency in order to get an apartment. While it’s possible to get a visa as a student or under other circumstances, most visas are work visas, and will only be issued to those who have secured jobs in Italy.
Some documents are required by both tenants and landlords to rent an apartment or house in Italy. To sign the rental contract, tenants and landlords need the following documents:
- Identity document;
- Tax code;
- Map of the building;
- Copy of the deed of purchase or land registry;
- Energy certification of the building (ACE).
- Identity document (as well as of other cohabitants);
- Social security number (as well as of other cohabitants);
- Two last payslips if you are a salaried employer;
- The last unique module and Chamber of Commerce inspection, if self-employed.
After signing, the owner has 30 days to register the contract with the Revenue Agency. Note that the tenant must never pay the full price of these fees, and in case of debt, these payments are the legal responsibility of the landlord alone.
Rental process and rules
Landlords cannot arbitrarily evict tenants without paying serious compensation, even in the case of non-payment by the tenant. All rental contracts in Italy should be registered with the regional registry office for them to be valid. Be aware that sometimes, landlords prefer not to register the contract in order to avoid paying taxes. In order to do so, they will often negotiate to give you a lower rent in return, placing themselves at risk by doing so.
Rental contract and deposit
There are four types of contracts
- The unrestricted contract is a long–term contract lasting 4 years which is renewable for another 4 years.
- A conventional contract is a contract that lasts for 3 years with the possibility of renewing for another 2 years. It generally has a lower rent than the market price. This type of contract allows the owner to claim a tax break.
- Transitory contracts are for short-term rentals. They last a minimum of 1 month up to a maximum of 18 months. After the expiration date, they are not renewable.
- Student contracts are determined by agreements with local cities with universities. They can last anywhere from 6 months to 3 years and have an automatic renewal of that same duration unless the contract is over.
Buying a house as a foreigner
The Italian real estate sector has always been attractive to international investors. Both the commercial and the residential real estate markets provide numerous investment opportunities to foreign citizens coming to Italy. An interesting fact in this regard is that the Italian government has also enabled programs for high-net-worth individuals who want to obtain Italian residency by purchasing a property in the country.
Requirements to buy a property in Italy
There are no restrictions for foreigners who want to buy properties in Italy. However, the Italian authorities have the power of making some verifications of criminal records and other aspects.
Foreigners who do not reside in the country can buy property in Italy if there is an international treaty that permits a material condition of reciprocity between their country of origin and Italy. This is a treaty that also allows Italians to buy a house in the foreigner’s country of origin. Foreigners residing in Italy legally, their family members who are in good standing, and stateless persons who have lived in Italy for no less than 3 years are eligible to buy property in the country without the need for verification of a condition of reciprocity.
House prices in Italy
House prices consistently vary across the country, and between cities and rural areas. Nevertheless, hereby there is a shortlist of prices for four cities located in North, Centre, and South Italy:
- In Rome, Italy’s capital and largest city, homes prices stood at €2,848 (US$3,404) per sq. m., on average
- Venice and Milan have the most expensive housing in the country, with average house prices of €4,467 (US$ 5,340) and €3,994 (US$4,774) per sq. m., respectively.
- In Florence, house prices fell slightly by 0.4% to an average of €3,947 (US$4,718) per sq. m.
Get a mortgage in Italy
Italy offers both variable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages. However, the majority of mortgages held in Italy (over two-thirds of the mortgage market) are variable rates. If you want to buy a property, you need to open an Italian bank account.
Few banks offer international mortgages, so it is worth doing some research, while also acquiring the necessary professional advice, to make sure you find the terms and rates that are right for you.
Process and steps to buy a house in Italy
When you visit a potential property, be sure to do a thorough check of everything. Be sure to talk to the neighbors and inspect the building. Take notes and measurements. Take photos so you can look back later and compare them with other properties.
When the time to make an offer comes, be sure that the property has all the deeds and paperwork in order, that there is a building certificate and that there are no outstanding debts, costs, or charges on it.
The following step involves signing the deposit agreement. This requires you to pay 10% of the sale price as a deposit, which the estate agent if you use one, will send through to the seller.
Sign the final title deed: the signing of this document represents the last contract before the property is finally yours and you have paid all the money for it.
The final step is to pay the transaction costs and taxes.
Guide to additional expenses when buying a home in Italy
As you set your total budget, it’s a good idea to keep the following taxes and fees in mind:
- Registration Tax: 3-7%
- VAT: 4-22%
- Land Registry Tax: 1%
- Notary fee: 1% to 2.5%
- Translator fee – approx €250 to €350⁹
- Estate agent fee – 1.50% to 4%, plus 22% VAT
- Legal fees: 1% to 2%, plus 22% VAT
Utility companies: Electricity and gas
Although the energy sector in Italy has been liberalized, this country has one of Europe’s highest final electricity prices. There are currently over 40 providers active in Italy. Some are active in the whole country, such as ENI or EDISON; some serve specific geographical areas. Some of the companies are:
- Saras (electricity, gas)
- Edison (electricity, gas)
- Enel Green Power S.p.A (electricity, gas)
- Saipem (electricity, gas)
Before choosing a provider, always check reviews on the internet. Focus on finding out about the quality of the service provided and the availability of their customer care.
The water bill will vary greatly depending on the geographical location. This is because each administrative division refers to its own water company, and they will regulate the price according to the size of the reserves and rainfall received. Some companies are:
- De Nora
- Acquedotto Pugliese S.p.A
- Gruppo CAP
Public utility company registration
If the previous utility contracts are still active, you’ll have to change the account holder’s name. If the meters are present, but there are no active contracts, you’ll have to proceed to start new contracts from scratch and in your name. To switch to a new contract, the provider company will need your details, the previous account holder’s details, the POD (Point Of Delivery) code for electricity, and the POR (Point of Supply) code for gas.