If you are moving to Italy, whether for work or studying reasons, the first issue you have to face is finding an accommodation. Renting an apartment in Italy is perhaps different to other countries like the United Kingdom or the US in that in Italy, they are almost always rented directly by owners whereas in the UK or US apartments are often rented by specialised companies, managed by a full-time property manager.
Many apartment owners choose to use real estate agencies to advertise and handle the contract negotiation and that is why having legal assistance by a qualified and competent lawyer in this matter is fundamental in order to protect your interests and to simply avoid potential problems in the future.
Regulatory framework for renting in Italy Long Term
Rental contracts in Italy are regulated by the Law n. 431 of the 9 December 1998 and the civil code. There are mainly three categories of rental agreements:
- Short-term lease (contratto transitorio) a special temporary contract that can last from one month up to 18 months;
- 3+2 lease contracts, the amount of the rent for this type of contract is established between a minimum and a maximum limit in accordance with local regulations between tenant and landlord organizations or ministerial decrees;
- 4+4 lease contracts, this type of contract is valid for four years and automatically renewed for 4 more years. For these types of agreements, landlords, and tenants are free to establish the amount of the rent but the landlord cannot ask for more than three months’ rent as a deposit.
Issues while renting in Italy Long Term
While signing short-term rentals should not be a particular concern, long term leases may cause some serious issues. Whether you are negotiating the contract with the landlord or with a real estate agent, you need to know that, after signing the agreement, the landlord has 30 days to register the contract with the Revenue Agency. Although this process is carried out by the owner, you may be required to pay extra fees (such as for registrations and stamps) in equal parts with the landlord.
Negotiating the price is up to the parties but in order to avoid unpleasant surprises during your stay or at the end of the rental contract it can be very useful to have an independent legal expert review the contract and find any potential unfavourable or misleading clauses.
A lawyer can also assist you by preparing an inventory and a checklist of all furniture, checking gas and electricity bills at the beginning and at the end of the lease) and to inform you about your rights and obligations towards the landlord.
Another typical issue in which the assistance of a lawyer is crucial would be the early termination of the rental contract or the recovery of the deposit after the termination of the contract. An effective negotiation or mediation with the landlord can prevent you from losing your money and/or facing expensive court proceedings.