Strictly speaking, if staying in Italy for more than six months you should obtain a permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) from the Questura (administrative police.) However, unless you plan to work, you probably will not need it if you are a citizen of the EU, although it remains a legal requirement. A very picky landlord/lady might ask to see it.
Accomodation costs more the nearer you get to the city centre. Expect to pay 600-800€ per month for a room in a decent flat in a reasonably central location. Note the difference between the offer of a camera, or a stanza (a room,) camera/stanza da letto (precisely a bedroom) and a posto letto, which will almost certainly mean sharing a room withone or two other people. Some landlords/ladies may give you a formal contract. Whether or not you get a formal contract, you will almost certainly be asked to pay a month, or even up to two months' deposit (cauzione.)
Here are some rough averages for rent prices by size and location of apartment:
You will find a number of accomodation agencies; other sources of accomodation are local newspapers and the bulletin boards of local universities.
Estate agencies are listed in the yellow pages under agenzie immobiliari. An agency fee of 1-2 months' rent is due when the contract is signed.
When you rent, it is necessary to register with the town hall. Payment of the local tax (Tassa di Registro) is split 50-50 by the owner and the tenant. Often, these procedures are overlooked for shorter rental periods.
If you find an apartment that needs major repairs, the owner may be willing to do the work, otherwise the tenant must arrange to do it by his/her own expense. There are no hard and fast rules. However, minor repairs or maintenance that are required during normal use are the responsability of the tenant, while major repairs such as plumbing, wiring, blinds and heating are the owner's responsability.
It is a good idea to check the inventory list carefully when you sign a contract. It should itemize everything in the apartment and state its condition.
For long-term renting, the standard contract is 4 years + 4 years. You should be able to leave earlier by giving a notice to the owner. Generally a written six or three month non-renewal notice (disdetta) is due to the owner prior to the termination of the contract. Without this notice, the contract is automatically renewed. The notice should be sent by registered mail with a return receipt (raccomandata con ricevuta di ritorno) to eliminate any possible discussion of insufficient notice. For shorter-term renting, the notice period may be shortened to three months in the case of annual contracts.Rent is usually paid quarterly, and two or three month's rent are required as a security and damage deposit. This should be placed in a bank account drawing interest, and returned to you less any amount to cover damages when you leave.
Searching independantly for accomodation without the aid of an intermediary agency allows you to avoid the costly agency fee and in some cases gives you more flexibility, as well as the chance to find more affordable rent.
But where do you start? A big help will be to pick up a copy of the weekly Porta Portese newspaper for €1 at any news stand, host to thousands of classifieds ads including an extensive section on housing rentals (Affiti.) Additionally, there are many “To Rent” (In Affitto) boards posted on the outside of buildings advertising properties in the vicinity.
You may also want to consult the following websites:
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