Renting property in Italy

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Leasing a property in Italy is a different from the rental process you may be accustomed to in the U.S. Here’s a breakdown of key things to know:

  • Finding an Apartment: Forget the multi-listing systems you might use in the States. In Italy, real estate agents typically focus on specific properties, not finding them for you. So, if you see 10 apartments you like, you may need to contact 10 different agencies.
  • Agent Communication: Sending lengthy emails with desired features (hardwood floors, balcony) might not be the most effective approach. Focus on the essential details (location, size, bedrooms) in your initial contact.
    • Lease Regulations: Rentals in Italy are heavily regulated. Lease terms are predetermined by law depending on the agreement type. Finding short-term leases (6 months to a year) can be challenging, though negotiating with vacation rental owners might be an option.


    Here’s what you can expect for typical lease lengths:

    • 3+2 Contracts: This is a common option, where you rent for three years with the right to extend for two more.
    • 4+4 Contracts: Another popular option, renting for four years with a four-year extension possibility.

In both cases, insist on having a 3-month early termination notice without having to provide a reason. Do not accept the standard 6-month early termination notice for “material reasons,” which requires you have to prove in court that your reasons for termination are serious enough.

Also, here is some practical advice:

  • Be prepared to move quickly. Desirable properties can disappear fast, so act swiftly when you find something that interests you. Sometimes, it’s worth it to ask the agent to sign a proposal on your behalf right away before the next person visits the apartment. However, be careful as once you signed, you are bound to sign the lease agreement and cannot back out.
  • Consider learning some basic Italian. While many Italians speak English in tourist areas, knowing some Italian can be helpful, especially during the application process or when dealing with landlords directly.
  • Research average rental costs in your desired area. This will help you stay within budget and avoid inflated prices.






About Claudia Bortolani

Claudia is an attorney admitted to the bar in Italy in 1993 and in California in 1997. She is the managing partner of Legal Grounds, a Rome-based law firm that she founded in 2009, joining forces in 2019, with Aliant, a global law firm focused on cross-border transactions. Claudia concentrates mainly in real estate transactions in Italy. Aliant also assists foreign companies in setting up operations in Italy, including labor, immigration, tax and transfer price issues.

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