Accommodation in Italy: scams you should look out for


Committing to renting or buying accommodation when you're new to or have not moved to Italy just yet is always a stressful endeavour. Would you like to help us in putting together a handbook of what to look out for when house hunting in Italy?

What are the most common scams in Italy?

What are the red flags to look out for when scanning through adverts?

Is there a list of registered or accredited landlords or real estate agencies in Italy?

What authorities should be sought should one come across an accommodation scam?

Please share your experience,


Been looking to rent a flat recently and had a few people contact me saying they had moved from Italy to the U.K. or somewhere (they usually had an elaborate backstory).
The first wanted to rent me the apartment but first “needed to check I was trustworthy” because they had to fly to Italy to let me see the house. They asked for things like bank statements and a copy of my ID.
The other said he wanted to rent me a flat through Air BnB because “it is a trustworthy website and gives me security”. He also wasn't in Italy and so couldn't let me see the house (although he would fly out as soon as I had paid to give me the keys 🤔). I did some research and heard that they use a fake site which looks just like AirBnb to trick people into paying them, with no way to recover the lost money.

The things to look out for here seem to be:
-if they aren't in Italy and you can't meet them in person, don't give them anything. No money, no information, no documents etc. In general, try to meet them in person and if they aren't with an agency don't give them anything before you have a contract.
-if they say they're English but write in an unusual way, be careful
-if they want to use Air bnb, search for their apartment on the air bnb site directly, don't follow a link they give you, it could be fake.

One more thing, don't use CasaVeloce. They claim to be better than other agencies because you pay them less, but I've heard that you pay them up front and they give you the names of people to call that sometimes have already rented the house. This is in Turin, don't know about other cities.

I think the real point in property in Italy is that Engineers, Surveyors, Architects, Lawyers, Teachers ,,, are known as 'Free Professions' - in essence, this means they can do what they want and do not end up in prison and are only accountable to themselves.  EU has, 2 years ago, over 60,000 complaints, by both Italians and non-Italians about these professions.  The 2 + earthquakes here in Abruzzo are but a small example:  thanks to the charity of ordinary people money was found to rebuild these communities - not even the school after all these years has been rebuilt.  THE COLLAPSE OF THE BRIDGE IN GENOA RECENTLY IS DUE TO MAFIA SUPPLYING NON-STANDARD CEMENT ...  SO BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN BUYING A HOUSE HERE!  ANY MAYBE, THANKS TO THIS WEBSITE, WE CAN MAKE A LIST OF NOT WHAT TO DO!  Italians themselves also suffer from this stuff so I'm not being racist.

We have been fortunate living near Citta della Pieve that our Geometra was very exacting ensuring the people we dealt with have been honest and so our building projects have not encountered these issues.
There are bad guys about and sadly many have taken up a second language to take advantage of non-Italian speakers but in our experience, it has been ex-pats who have set up as experts who have taken advantage of other ex-pats. That said we have friends who employed an Italian relative who robbed them blind and left them in a terrible mess and it took years to get the situation sorted out.
Take advise from your geometra and neighbours and ensure the people you contract are insured as a recent incident where a man (not Italian) was working cash in hand suffered an accident with a chainsaw, losing several fingers, he sued and the landowner was fined 100k!

I agree yet don't agree.  The main problem remains with Italian law.  A Surveyor/Engineer are 'free professions' which means they can rob people blind and it's impossible to do any about it.  I speak extemely good Italian but that didn't help me.  So, word of mouth is important, expats need to understand there is little or no recourse even to solicitors (they are another 'free' profession) when they are robbed blind.  So this link/this page is very good whereby we can go foward to trust the good guys which there are here,

This post is not about giving negative judgement on some professions, based on very limited and biased experience. I might give you a long list of poorly performing professions based on my personal experience in the US and Australia! What about the scandal about the building quality of the grenfell tower in London, that killed dozens of people. By the way the same bad quality materials are commonly used in building in Australia. The Opal tower in Sydney has been evacuated last december because it was collapsing!

Scams are everywhere, just exercise a bit of judgment when people ask you money before signing any contract or ask you to rent an apartment without a regular contract. Read all the fine prints and ask the trade union of rental (SUNIA to check the contract if something looks suspicious. There are some "agencies" that ask you to give 250 euros to access a database of addresses, most of them are useless and you end up with having wasted money and time.

I must agree with this, Italy is not the hub of housing fraud it is worldwide problem. Look at UK landlords renting tiny sheds to immigrants, council tenants subletting to the unwary, even many AirB&B accommodations that do not conform to legislation and are not declared to the authorities, to those who do not know it is illegal
However, here is a situation to be aware of that happened here in Italy recently:
A friend who has lived in Italy for 40 years recently encountered a situation when renting an apartment. The owner lived/worked in another country so was asking a relative to oversee the rental but our friend found that the sink leaked, the shower failed, the gas boiler did not function and was told, you pay to have repairs and the costs will be deducted off the rent. This seemed OK but when she asked for a formal rental contract it was too difficult for the owner to return to sign the forms, she kept requesting a contract in order to register at the comune which would allow her to register with doctors and dentist, put the electric in her name etc but she was given many excuses over many months why the owner was unable to arrive to sign. She confronted the relatives who admitted the owner wanted cash rental without a contract to not declare tax complications so she moved out to another apartment in order to access the local health services.
If she had been less experienced things would have become very difficult as this is a type of fraud, tax evasion for one, and both renter and owner under investigation.
Be aware of your rights,  legal requirements, and use common sense.

Well said! I've lived in Italy for 17 years and have never been 'robbed'. We work with great professionals and though I have heard stories usually the victims have put too much trust in people they know nothing about and do things they never should have done like giving personal information. Personally, I think lawyers are the same everywhere and when it comes to renting or buying property you just don't need them. They're amazed when people go to them to check simple things that a notary or agent does anyway so they'll throw up dust, create problems just to justify a fee. I've seen it many times.

I accept you are correct.  I was born and bred in Chelsea, London.  Much of the difficulty, by the way, was identifying who should have been actually resident.  As the K&C council provided accommodation to many 'immigrants' which then led to their 'sub-letting' which was illegal  - at over £300  week.   Chelsea was badly bombed in the WW2 - flats were only 'knocked' up affairs back in the late 60's and 70's and then 80's/90's when Chelsea was again 'posh'.  It was wrong.  However, our being able to deal with so many 'professionals' or others requiring housing has become a crisis.  I'm not Brexit - never voted actually - it's just wrong that we are unable to cope with this Island and still maintain some quality of care and 'life happiness'.  We have an elderly population thanks to our great NHS which can only survive at its present level for 3 maybe 4 years.  So I agree ... I just ask you to see the bigger problem. 

@GuestPoster797 is this a guy named Ryan? he send us photos and even a copy of his passport. He said he moved back to the UK for work and couldnt be in Italy.


Hello and welcome !

This user is no longer on the website. In fact all "GuestPosters" refer to deleted accounts.



sorry old thread - posted in error and cant delete