Finding an accommodation might in the beginning seem to be an easy task. If you open a website or a newspaper you will see many advertisements, which seemed to respond to your wishes. However after you start calling, viewing the properties, you will realise that this process is not as easy, as it seems.
Ok, let’s start. You want to find an accommodation. What should you do? The options are approximately the following: you can search online, use local newspapers, advertisements or ask an agency to do this job for you.
Agency (agenzia immobiliare) is a good option if you do not have time and/or wish to get into details of the advertisements and you have enough funding available. An agent will find the appropriate options for you. Some are really lucky with the agency – for a little fee (less than a monthly rent) they got very nice places. Experience of others could be not so positive and the options found for them could be divided into two parts – 1) beautiful, exclusive and expensive, and 2) problematic accommodation (= apartments which have some fault because of which they cannot be easily rented).
If you for some reason do not want to use the services of agenzia immobiliare, try local newspapers and websites. In case you are still abroad, then most likely you will use internet. The main websites, which can be used throughout Italy, are: http://www.subito.it, http://www.easystanza.it, if you are searching for accommodation in Rome, then valid also http://www.portaportese.it. Wherever you are looking for an accommodation, check whether there are local websites, they are often better (i.e. have more advertisements for your specific zone) than the national equivalents. Advertisements in English language for accommodation in Rome can be found under http://www.wantedinrome.com, http://www.craiglist.com and of course http://www.friendsinrome.com. These are only some of the examples. If you know some other good websites, you could add them in the comments.
The other option is to go through local press. The differences from the internet is that in press you see at once all the options, which is not always possible online. So there is a higher chance that you will find an advertisement of your interest, however it will take you more time to go through all of them, as usually the advertisements are divided comfortably into subcategories to ease your search. Thus, in the newspaper you cannot use “search” button and almost always there are no photos.
Most likely you will try different search options and find the most suitable for you. Whichever it is – good luck!
After you found an accommodation of your dream, or at least somewhere to live for a while.
What you should do and know before getting in?
One of the most important steps is to find out all the details of your deal. Contract – whether your landlord would like to make a contract (it is a legal must, but it is being avoided by many), how much is the monthly rent, whether the landlord asks for caparra (deposit), whether it includes condominio (i.e. rubbish collection, cleaning of staircases, portineria etc.), electricity, gas, water. Check whether your water is being heated by gas or electricity (electricity tends to be more expensive option, but not always); in case if you are planning to stay for winter check also what kind of heating you have (yes, Italy is a warm country, but still you most likely will use heater during winter months). Ask landlord about the payment procedures – how much, when, how, what (whether the bills are included in the fee or not). Normally the landlord should show you the bills and in the best case – give a copy, otherwise he could charge you an amount he wishes.
Be careful when you get the contract – reread it, even if your landlord is very nice person. He/she might change dramatically when you decide to leave the property. If you have a contract, it should be registered – this should be done by your landlord and costs for that normally are shared between the parties. There is a possibility, that you will have a contract, but not registered. In any case – whether you have a contract or not, whenever you give money to your landlord, make sure that you will receive written statement that he/she has received them. This is important in case of disputes, which could arise when you decide to move out.
When you want to leave…
Finally, your stay in Italy came to an end or you just have decided to change the place and you would like to leave your apartment. Make sure that you inform the landlord about your plans in advance (1 week or 3 months – whatever is written in a contract by sending registered letter), because otherwise they might not give you your caparra (deposit). Caparra officially is taken in case if you make any damages to the furniture, but this rule often is being abused and landlords are taking caparra also in case if you want to leave earlier than the planned date.
These are the main points you have to be careful about when arranging accommodation in Italy. If you have anything to add, comment or would like to share your experience – you are more than welcome to use comments section below. But for now – have a lovely stay! 🙂
*this article is also published in http://www.friendsinrome.com