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In Italy, the general concept is that  Law must be always applied no matter what the parties establish by word or by written.

The italian property lease rules are very specific and strict.
First thing you have to know is that there are two big classes of rentals:
Class 1 - short-term-rents which means shorter than 30 days
Class 2 - long-term-rents which means longer than 30 days.

Class1Short Term (from 1 to 30 days)
Short term renting is relatively easy to deal with.  
Prices, payments and booking conditions are those adverted and you will not find any hidden costs nor bad surprises. There is a short and simple lease to sign, in english. You will pay for the price only upon arrival and only after you have visited the house and you have realized that it really corresponds to the advert.
Of course there is a small deposit (so called caparra confirmatoria) to pay upon booking – to allow the owner to keep the property off the market and hold it for you. Of course, as you can imagine, you lose this amount if you cancel your stay at that property. The Agency commission is already included in the adverted price. All above is true for my agency.  You may find some differences in another agencies. Anyway the important for you to know is that renting for a period from 1 to 30 days does not require all the formalities required by a long term lease. So now let me write about that.

Class 2- Long Term  (from 31 days to 8 years)
There are a lot of things you, potential foreigner long-term tenant, have to know: you’ll realize that at the end it is not that complicated. A good Agency helps you explaining you every single detail.



Long-term contracts MUST be ALWAYS registered at the Italian Fiscal office so called Agenzia-delle-Entrate by the owner or by the Agency within 30 days from the signature.
There is no way to do in a different way.  Don’t be afraid by signing an Italian lease contract. Italian Law protects Tenants v. Owners. In few words: tenant has more rights than owner. Anyway and apart that it is important for you to know that no-written and also written-but-not-registered long term lease are illegal.  So the first thing you MUST pretend by your Owner/Agency is to sign a regular contract and have the registration’s receipt at the latest 30 days after the signature.
Usually a good Agency takes care of the whole contract/registration procedure but that’s not mandatory.



To sign a long-term-contract in Italy you MUST have your own FISCAL CODE. The fiscal code is an identity number which every person from the birth must have. Without fiscal code you are not-identified and so you cannot sign any contracts.
This is a very easy thing to do - Usually a good Agency  does it on your behalf otherwise the italian consulate in your country or you cna even do it by yourself but you have to be here.

In any cases you will be requested to provide your personal details: name, surname, place of birth, date of birth, copy of your passport. A good Agency will show you its “Personal-Details-Privacy-Policy” and will ask you to sign the authorizaton to use your personal details in accordance to italian/european laws. Remeber that without this authorization the Agency cannot do anything for you.  

So, now that when you have your fiscal codes you are ready to go and sign the contact.
Of course before you visited some properties and you were able to choose the right one.


3 – Duration

The minimum lease duration is four (4) years.
As general rule you can keep in mind that the only legally valid contract  is the so called 4 years plus 4 (4+4)

There are indeed other possibilities - like a 3+2 years or 1-18 month but they are legally valid only under certain circumstances which very hardly often happen. They are quite strict and precise. So here I much prefer to explaine you the normal regulation and I highly recommend you to claim to have from your owner/agency a 4+4 contrcat.
Wth that everything is much simpler and there is nothing to worry about.

What does “signing-a-4+4” means?

It means that:
. The tenant has the right to stay at the rented property for – a minimum of – 4 years and alwasy at the same conditions.
. The owner could not terminate the contract before the end of the 4th year and only under specific options (very hardly often happening)
. The tenant - has the right to end the contract any time: early termination by the tenant is allowed any time subject to the notice freely established in the contract between the parties. Usually it is a 3 months notice.

Also keep in mind that:at the end of the first 4years unless the parties terminate the lease, it automatically renews for another four years at the same exact terms as the first four years. The owner has very few and limited options to deny four-year lease renewal after the first four-year period finishes

Of course the tenant has also some duties. The first one is to pay the owner for the monthly rate every month – as agreed in the contrcat - without any delays.


The montly rate can be freely negotiated between the parties.
The parties can agree in the contract that annual cost of life adjustments are allowed. It is not mandatory and nowadays it almost never happen because if owner renounces it he gets some fiscal benefits. This is not an increase of price but simply a small amount in order to adjust the rent to the level cost of life. 
Properties on the long term market are always adverted with the indication of the montly rate. Some extra expenses must be always added as below:

Above the monthly rate tenant pays for all the utilities: gas, electricity, water, garbage, telephone, internet, tv fee, sewer fee, boiler annual maintenance and also in general all the ordinary maintance involved in the concept of daily life.
Extraordinary maintenace remains in charge of the owner.

Both the parties pay the Agency for a One-Month-Plus-Vat commission. The payment is due - without any delays - at the signature of the contract.

- At the signature of the contract both the parties have to pay some taxes:
IR - Imposta di REGISTRO = 2% of annual rental with a minimum of € 67 (every year) - 50% per part
IB - Imposta di BOLLO = € 16 every 100 lines written in the contract. Usually it is €32 for every copy of the contract registered. So usually it is 2 copy. One for the tenant one for the owner. It means € 32 per part
- At the end of the contract there is a € 67 fee to pay to the fiscal office (chiusura del contratto)

Important for you to know: THE AMOUNT of the due TAXES could be ZERO.
It depends on the fiscal situation of the owner. So keep in mind that the above indicated amount is the maximun amount eventually due.



The MOST important duty for tenant is returning the property at the end of the lease in the same exact condition as received at the beginning. As “guarantee” the tenant pays the owner a refundable deposit which is usually 3 months.

To let you understand: this means that if you rented a newly painted apartment you’ll have to return a newly painted apartment.



Another important thing for you to know is that if the owner sell the property, the sale does not affect the rights of the tenant. Therefore the lease contract transfers to the new owner: the tenant simply has a new owner. The contract goes on.



1 - The contract must be signed in ITALIAN. Usually a good agency provides  you with a translation.  
2 - Payments are in EUROS. If you decided not to open an italian euros bank account all the international wiring costs and commission are in your charge. It means that if in the contrcat it is written that the owner receives every month €100 he must receive €100 euros and not €100 minus international commissions. It means that probably you will have to pay your bank some extra commissions because that happens.



I think, I told you about everything on a 4+4 contrcat.
In a short future i will also write about the 3+2 and 1/18 months.
Anyway be sure that with these few lines you have been told the most important concepts about the renting in italy.

Don’t forget that even though not mandatory, a good agency never leaves you alone.
Before, during and after the contract a good agent assists you 360 degrees, is always ready to answer your question and helps you in your new life. And YES! At the beginning, you will be a little bit overwhelmed, you will have to understand and adapt to a new culture, a new lifestyle, new schedules, new people .... then you will understand soon that at some point you will no longer need other help.

Believe me, life in Italy is easy.
Relax, slow down, smile and have fun! Now you can!

Any further information required I am here.