Accommodation in Italy

beautiful houses in Italy
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Updated 2023-04-17 20:36

If you decide to move to Italy, the question of accommodation will naturally arise. Most foreigners who relocate to Italy, usually for work or study purposes, prefer to rent accommodation. However, some people seize the opportunity to buy a house, flat or flat for a longer stay or as a second home. This article looks at the vast subject of accommodation in Italy to help you settle in smoothly.

Types of accommodation in Italy

While all types of accommodation are available in Italy, flats (appartamenti) are more common, especially in large cities such as Milan, Rome, Turin and Florence. In more detail, here are the types of flats that you will generally find in buildings, palazzi, in Italy:

  • Monolocale: studio apartment (from 25 - 40 m²)
  • Bilocale: two-room flat (from 50 - 60 m²)
  • Trilocale: three-room flat (from 80 m²)
  • Quadrilocal: four-room flat (from 100 - 120 m²)
  • Attico: penthouse with a terrace, usually of large dimensions

Outside the urban areas, you will find the case, houses, the villini, small villas or detached houses with garden, the ville bifamiliari, semi-detached houses, and the ville a schiera, attached houses. In the rural areas, there are case padronali (country houses usually linked to a farm), poderi (properties with land and livestock or crops), masserie (farms and houses, especially in southern Italy), fattorie or cascine (farms, farmhouses and accommodation) or agriturismi (farms that offer accommodation and catering). There are also high-end accommodations such as historic houses and villas, dimore storiche, palazzi storici, and mansions that are looking for tenants or buyers willing to invest.

The choice of accommodation in Italy will depend on the reason for your move. Suppose you are going to work in a city. In that case, it's best to choose accommodation, such as a flat, close to your workplace if you want to avoid lengthy and sometimes chaotic commuting, unless you have the remote work option. International students in Italy can find shared accommodation, studios, or even rooms. If you are enrolled in an exchange program, you may be able to get university accommodation. To find out more, contact your university or the university that will be hosting you.

If, on the other hand, you are moving to Italy for your retirement and want to enjoy the Italian dolce vita, you may want to consider small provincial towns by the sea or in the countryside. They are usually very quiet, and the standard of living is generally high. You will find a lot of flats, but also villini or beautiful villas with gardens. Thanks to Italy's hilly geography, many of them have a view thanks to their hillside location. Although beach resorts are also very popular in Italy, prices are generally high, especially in Liguria, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast (Campania) and the Costa Smeralda (Sardinia).

Good to know:

Some areas of Italy are very beautiful but can sometimes be isolated, such as Umbria, Sicily, Sardinia, or some other Italian islands. Be sure to check out the area before you start the process of buying a property. It is helpful to have a community, a small center with some shops, a doctor's cabinet, and a bank in the same area as your house. Also, check the coverage of the internet, telephone and electricity networks.

If you are a lover of country houses such as towns or cascines and are considering renting, or buying them and then renting them out to tourists and foreigners as a holiday home, it is advisable to buy in an area close to a place of historical or natural interest such as beaches, mountains, nature reserves and other landscapes, etc., or to equip your house with facilities such as a swimming pool

The property market in Italy

According to a study by the real estate platform Immobiliare in 2022, the average price per square meter for sale in Italy is €1,943, an increase of 1.8% compared to 2021. However, remember that property prices in Italy vary enormously from one region to another and from one city to another within the same region. For example, if you want to buy a property in Tuscany, the average price per square meter will be €2,494, compared to €1,538 in the Marche, with variations within regions, depending on whether the area is close to a place of cultural or natural interest.

For rentals, the average price per square meter in Italy is €11.95, an increase of 5.6% compared to 2021. As with selling, average prices vary considerably, so expect to pay €13.5 per square meter in Tuscany and €8.4 per square meter in the Marche. If you want to rent accommodation in a big city, Milan is known as the most expensive city in Italy, so the average rental price per square meter is €20.92 (and higher in the city center), compared to €14.54 in Rome.

Italians generally prefer to invest in property, especially if it is a flat, even if they do not intend to stay there for many years. Owning a property is part of Italian culture, and it is relatively attractive thanks to the tax breaks provided by the government for citizens who buy their first home.

Finding a home in Italy

Start your search for accommodation in Italy on the internet to get an idea of market prices. For example, check out real estate platforms such as Immobiliare, Idealista, Trovacasa, or Casa.it. Alternatively, look at the classified ads in national newspapers as well as in their local editions, for example, Trovacasa Corriere of Corriere della Sera.

Feel free to use real estate agencies as well; they can be very useful, as they are always aware of what is on the market. Depending on the region of Italy you want to move to, there will be different agencies. Still, some can be found nationwide, such as Remax, Tecnocasa, Tempocasa, or Gabetti. However, you should be aware that agency fees are high, and in the case of a rental, it is usually the tenant who has to pay them.

It is strongly recommended that you meet the owner of the property you wish to rent or buy in person before you commit yourself. If possible, try to sign a rental agreement before you move so that you can activate all service contracts, such as gas, electricity, internet, etc.

International students in Italy can consult websites such as Dotstay, Uniaffitti, or Roomtastic, which offer studio or room accommodation in several Italian cities: Milan, Rome, Florence, or Bologna.

Important:

Real estate ads can be misleading for newcomers. For example, the calculation of square meters is different between the living area and commercial area, the latter also taking into account any balconies, cellars, etc. Be careful when searching for or visiting a rental flat, and ask the real estate agency/landlord what the advertised square meters actually include. Also, to avoid a rough valuation of the property, do not hesitate to seek the services of a surveyor who will take the measurements for you.

Good to know:

The Italian property market has its own habits, even in each region. It is not uncommon to see a fully furnished (dining room furniture, beds, wardrobes, etc.) or semi-furnished flat. This is known as an arredato or semi-arredato flat. It is also possible that when a flat is sold, the fitted kitchen has been dismantled and recovered by the owners, including appliances such as the fridge or the dishwasher. If you wish to keep it, you must buy it in addition to the property for sale.

Renting a property in Italy

Accommodation leases in Italy are usually valid for a minimum of four years and require a deposit of two to three months' rent in advance as security. However, you can also find short-term rentals. Note that these are usually more expensive and must be agreed upon with the landlord in advance. This is because any break in the contract gives the landlord the right to keep the full deposit. Please note that some landlords also ask for a copy of the employment contract in addition to the rental guarantee.

The types of leases you will find most often in Italy are the following:

  • Contratto a canone libero, a four-year renewable lease between the tenant and the landlord, also known as a 4 4 contract. You can terminate it, but you must inform the landlord, agree on a departure date with him and respect the notice period. In addition, you may be asked to accept visits from potential new tenants.
  • The Contratto di affitto a canone concordato, which allows you to keep the rent more or less stable within predefined bands that differ from each other according to the type of building or flat or according to the facilities and services provided (lift, garage, etc.). These bands are set by the region and/or the municipality but you must define with the owner the band that applies to the property you wish to rent.
  • Contratto di affitto convenzionato, a three-year lease between the tenant and the owner, with automatic renewal for two years unless interrupted early. This type of contract allows for more moderate rents if provided for by the municipality concerned (according to law n°431 of 1998).

The first two types of contract can be done in Cedolare Secca mode. Apply to the landlord, and if he accepts, this will make you eligible for tax benefits, such as being exempt from contract registration fees and not being subject to the annual indexation of your rent. You can find more information on this subject on the website of the Agenzia delle Entrate, the Italian tax agency.

If you plan to stay in Italy for a shorter period, you can sign a Contratto di affitto transitorio, valid for a maximum of 18 months. Please note that for this type of contract, you must prove that you need temporary accommodation.

When you leave the accommodation, you must make sure that it is in the same condition as when you arrived or agree to pay for renovation work, such as cleaning and painting the walls. Some landlords may include a clause in the tenancy agreement obliging the outgoing tenant to carry out the work at their own expense.

Good to know:

Some landlords include condominium charges in the rental price, even though the norm is to pay them in addition; in Italy, these are called spese condominiali. These are usually charges related to the property's common areas, such as maintenance and cleaning of the building, electricity, lift (to be paid whether you are on the ground floor or any other floor), gardener, caretaker and sometimes even for cold water. Check with your landlord before you move in. Individual costs such as your electricity, hot water and heating or internet connection must be paid directly to your chosen provider.

Buying property in Italy

The Italian property market is complex and can be confusing. However, it is quite dynamic, with Italians preferring to invest their money in property. Whether this is a good option for you will depend on your personal and professional situation and the duration and purpose of your stay in Italy.

As with renting, it is advisable to do some research on the internet to get a good idea of the types of property available on the market and their prices. Popular property websites that advertise include Immobiliare, Idealista, TecnocasaCasa Travella, Trovacasa and Casa.it. Websites such as Idealista or Rightmove will allow you to discover properties listed by different real estate agencies.

You can also contact the Italian branches of international real estate agencies such as Engel & Volkers, Knight Frank, or Lionard in the luxury category. Many local Italian agencies will also be able to provide you with good support as they know the area well. Find out which ones are active where you want to buy a property.

Good to know:

It is advisable to contact a lawyer and a notary from your country of citizenship, who ideally speaks Italian and will represent your interests or at least assist you in your dealings. In addition, you can also use a translator/interpreter for the procedures on the spot.

Useful links :

Tecnocasa

Trovacasa Corriere

Immobiliare - Real estate market in Italy

Casa Travella

Remax

Gabetti

Engel & Volkers

Dotstay

Uniaffitti

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.