• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Rome’s bargain homes: lucky few pay just €10 a month
The view of St Peter's from Borgo Pio, where renting from the city can cost just over €10 a month. Photo: Nicola

Rome’s bargain homes: lucky few pay just €10 a month

The Local · 2 Feb 2016, 15:41

Published: 15 Feb 2016 15:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Feb 2016 15:41 GMT+01:00

For most people, apartment-hunting in Rome is time consuming, stressful – and expensive.

According to Numbeo, a database comparing living costs across the world, a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre will set you back an average of €1,040 a month, rising to €1,994 for three bedrooms.

But it seems that a lucky few have been able to snare apartments in the centre of the capital, a stone's throw away from tourist hotspots like Piazza Navona and the Colosseum, for just a few euros each month.

An investigation aimed at increasing transparency in the city council's activities has revealed that hundreds of buildings owned by Rome are being rented at rock-bottom prices.

So far 574 cases have been uncovered - but this number is likely to rise.

In a statement on Tuesday, Rome prefect Francesco Paolo Tronca, who is leading the investigation, said: “The contractual rents are well below the minimum market value. In many cases, the rents are a few dozen euros per month.”

Tronca was handed the assignment after Rome mayor Ignazio Marino resigned in November, and is managing the city until a new mayor is elected in June.

The homes include an apartment in Borgo Pio, close to St Peter’s Basilica, for €10.29 per month; one in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, one of Rome's main streets and close to Piazza Navona, for €24.41 per month; one with a view of the Imperial Forum at €23.36 per month and one on Via del Colosseo at a bargain €25.64 per month.

The properties are rented to private tenants for what amounts to small change – often the price has remained unchanged for decades.

Although the statement did not reveal how the properties came to be rented for such low prices, Tronca said that "investigations are underway to determine if any of the properties are being occupied illegally,” since in many cases the current occupants and the contract holders are not the same.

The commission also hopes to identify any council-owned properties for which rental contract renewals have been long neglected, while also hoping to claw back cash for Rome’s empty coffers.

Tronca intends to continue the "clean-up" until all of the city’s property assets have been checked.

A Rome estate agent told The Local that the city's authorities were most likely lax in doing their job of keeping up with leases, letting many fall by the wayside over the years.

In one astonishing case, captured in the investigation by Corriere in the video below, an apartment in Corviale, a housing complex in Rome's outskirts, is rented at the bargain price of €0.60 per year – that’s five cents every month.

The resident tells Corriere’s reporter that even this small amount has not been paid since his grandfather held the rental contract, when Lira was the national currency and the rent was 900 lire a month.

He says he is no longer charged any rent and that he didn't officially inherit the apartment's rental agreeement. 

"No (inheritance) contract was ever made," he said, when asked if he is illegally occupying the building.

Story continues below…

"The contract expired, the council hasn't bothered to renew it. My family has never left this house. Would you call that unlawful?"

By contrast, in the same building another resident who is not renting from city authorities said he pays €750 a month for his home.

Meanwhile, reports in the Italian media say the tenants in homes in some of Rome's swankier areas are mostly middle class and not eligible for social housing, and pay the meager sums because simply no one has ever bothered to raise them.

The city has announced that from now on it would make sure that rents are in line with market rates and cancel the lease in cases where the legal renter has covertly sublet the apartment.

The estate agent said that in some cases, the properties "may have been used as bribes" by people working for the authorities.

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italy hosts first Down's Syndrome 'Olympics'
The athletes taking part are dubbed T21s, named after the most common form of Down's Syndrome, trisomy 21. Photo: AFP

The roar from the stands in Florence could not have been louder if it had been stars Usain Bolt or Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on the track.

Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Milan is vying to be Europe's post-Brexit financial and business hub. Photo: Melanie Bowman

Milan has also joined the race among European cities to pick up the post-Brexit spoils should London’s financial institutions choose to shift their operations elsewhere. But is it a viable contender?

Ekberg wannabe says Trevi dip was a 'homage to Rome'
Delilah Jay just before she waded into Rome's Trevi Fountain on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Delilah Jay

“I love Rome, I love Fellini and I love Ekberg – I’ve had so many comments on my Facebook page saying I look very much like her.”

Venice to build new bridge in memory of Bataclan victim
28-year-old student Valeria Solesin was the only Italian victim of the Paris terrorist attacks. Photo: Pierre Teyssot / AFP

Venice, the so-called 'city of bridges', is set to build one more, in honour of the only Italian victim of last November's Paris terrorist attacks.

Italy fears 'Calais-style' camps as migrant backlog worsens
There are 135,000 people waiting in Italian reception centres. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP

Italy is scrambling to find extra places for incoming migrants amid fears the failure of a European relocation plan may result in mass encampments.

Italy to start performing civil unions from mid-August
Italy became the last major country in Europe to recognize same-sex civil unions in May. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Same-sex couples in Italy will finally have the chance to say “I do” from mid-August onwards, Italy's Interior Ministry announced on Thursday.

Italian mayor says sorry for Keita Balde racism
Keita Balde, a Senegalese born in Spain, is one of several black players in Italy's Serie A to have faced racist abuse in the past. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

"Sport is about passion, sharing and friendship. I'm sorry to hear, as the mayor and a sportsman, that some people last night embarrassed the whole city and, in particular, the real fans at the stadium."

Rescue boats recover 17 migrant bodies off Italy
The latest arrivals take the number of migrants to have landed in Italy this year to over 80,000. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP

Since 2014, more than 10,000 migrants have died or are feared to have drowned while attempting the perilous journey to Europe by sea.

Italian police find €0.5 million of artefacts in art thieves' lair
Most of the loot was more than 2,000 years old. Photo Carabinieri Caserta

Police in Terno, Campania, uncovered a spectacular hoard of over 200 stolen historical artefacts worth over €0.5 million on Wednesday, inside the lair of a local gang of art thieves.

Pavarotti's family protest Trump's use of famous aria
Luciano Pavarotti became one of the most commercially successful tenors of all time. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

"Nessun Dorma", which became Pavarotti's signature aria and climaxes with the words "Vincero" ("I will win"), has been played often at Trump rallies.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Italian hotspots struggling with 'too many tourists'
Culture
Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant
Travel
Escape the heat at one of these beautiful Italian lakes
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Why the UK is now officially crazier than Italy
Culture
How you can stay cool like an ancient Roman
Lifestyle
Food for thought: fight on to save Med diet from extinction
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
From asylum seeker in Italy to organic yoghurt entrepreneur
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Fifteen maps that tell the story of Italy
National
Why Italy might be the next big threat to the EU's future
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Politics
Post Brexit, less than a third of Italians want to leave EU
Politics
The bright side of Brexit: the 'good news' for Brits in Italy
Culture
Eight wonderful things to do in Italy in July
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Six of the best places to visit within easy reach of Rome
British business owners in Italy feel Brexit jitters
National
How to get Italian citizenship (or at least stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Where does Britain's exit from the EU leave Italy?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
Has the time come for Italy’s Five Star Movement to shine?
Society
Why Italy must change after young woman’s brutal murder
Politics
Is Italy's Five Star up to the challenge of running Rome?
Culture
Six of the most bizarre Italian foods everyone should try
2,559
jobs available