SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

RENTING

Reader question: How can I find an apartment to rent in Rome?

The Eternal City is a popular destination for foreigners wanting to stay for a few months or even years, but finding a place to rent can be complicated. Here's where to start.

Where should you start when looking for a place to rent in Rome?
Where should you start when looking for a place to rent in Rome? Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

Question: I’m moving to Rome in the spring with friends and we’re looking to rent an apartment in a central area. Do you have any suggestions for good sources of rentals in Rome?

For those staying in Rome for just a few weeks, it’s often simplest to go with a short-term booking site like Airbnb.

If you’re planning on staying for longer than this, however, it’s probably more cost-effective to go the official route and sign a rental agreement – though be prepared to deal with a certain amount of hassle (more on this below).

Some of the most popular websites in Italy for rentals are idealista.it, immobiliare.it, and casa.it, where you’ll find a wide range of apartments for rent.

All the listings on these sites are in Italian, so it’s helpful to familiarise yourself with some key vocabulary.

READ ALSO: Ten things to expect when renting an apartment in Italy

In affitto is ‘for rent’ (in vendita, ‘for sale’). For a short-term let, you’ll want a place that’s furnished (arredato). A  locale is a room (note: not a bedroom), so a bilocale is a one-bedroom with one other room and a monolocale is a studio. 

It’s worth reviewing all the photos available and if possible the floor plan (planimetria) so you know exactly what kind of set up the house has; for example a trilocale doesn’t necessarily have two bedrooms, but might just be a one-bed with a separate living room and kitchen. 

For people beginning their search without any Italian, the English-language real estate listings aggregator Nestpick is a good option – though bear in mind you’re unlikely to find the same range of options as on the Italian-language sites.

If you’re coming with a university, they should be your first port of call; some will have a roster of trusted landlords, or can at least direct you to online forums where you can seek recommendations from current and former students.

READ ALSO: Do renters in Italy have the right to keep pets?

Facebook is also a good place to look: Rent in Rome and Rome Expats have two of the largest groups dedicated to searching for an apartment in the eternal city. If you know you want somewhere for at least a year, Long Term Rentals Italy is also an option.

As a guidepost, InterNations, an information and networking site for people living overseas, lists the average monthly rent in Rome as €1,220.

Italy’s rental contracts tend to favour tenants: common contracts are the 3+2 or 4+4, which means the rent is locked in for at least three/four years, at the end of which the renter can choose to renew at the same rate for another two/four years.

Facebook groups can be a good place to start when apartment-hunting in Rome.
Facebook groups can be a good place to start when apartment-hunting in Rome. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The contratto transitorio (temporary or short-term lease), by contrast, is for anywhere between one and eighteen months. Bear in mind it’s the landlord, not the tenant, that’s locked into these minimum time periods – just make sure there’s a clause that allows you to move out after a specified notice period.

Landlords often prefer to rent our their apartments with contratti transitori so they have more freedom to sell or raise the rent, so you may be at an advantage if you’re looking for a place to stay for just a few months.

Even with just a short-term lease, a landlord can request up to three months’ rent (!) in advance as a security deposit, and it’s common to ask for two. To stand the best chance of getting your deposit back, it’s worth taking detailed photos of the property before you move in so you have a record of its state.

READ ALSO: ‘Why I used to hate living in Rome as a foreigner – and why I changed my mind’

If you’re going through an agency, it’s also common for tenants to pay a finder’s fee of one month’s rent – all of which can make initial costs rise very fast. The silver lining is that in Rome you can (and should) negotiate on the rent, deposit, and other contract terms, and not just take what you’re offered.

Some landlords will suggest you bypass an agency and deal directly with them. While avoiding the agency fees is tempting, this can leave you in a very vulnerable situation as you have no legal standing if it turns out you don’t have an official rental contract – so it’s not advised.

It’s also important not to hand over any money until you’ve viewed the apartment in person (or had a trusted representative do so on your behalf) and confirmed the listing is legitimate. Scams are not unheard of in Rome, and foreigners are ideal targets.

READ ALSO: Moving to Italy: How much does it really cost to live in Milan?

When browsing listings, consider what’s important to you in terms of the neighbourhood and type of property – and if there’s anything you’re unsure of, it’s worth seeking out advice in online groups from people already living in the city.

A ground floor apartment on a cobbled side street near the centre, for example, may sound ideal, but if it’s in a touristy neighbourhood you may find you’re quickly driven mad by the sound of rolling luggage bouncing past your window all hours of the day and night.

Finding an apartment to rent in Rome can be a challenge, but if you put in the effort, you’re sure to find your ideal base – and move on to making the most of your time in one of Europe’s most picturesque and historically rich capitals.

Member comments

  1. readers should be aware that the web sites for real estate listed in the article (casa.it, immobiliare.it) show statistics on rental price per square meter by neighborhood, and the differences by neighborhood can be significant. although Rome real estate is highly variable and thus even within a zone there is variation in price, these stats are a good place to start. they are also useful to judge whether the rent being requested by the landlord is reasonable. more livable close in neighborhoods, like San Giovanni or San Paolo/Garbatella are more economical and deliver an experience more like living as a local, as well as having their own interesting histories. To avoid getting taken for a ride a renter might consider getting in touch with a Rome based English speaking lawyer to review the contract and see how the rates for the legal advice would compare with paying a real estate company. you might have a better chance of unbiased review of the rental contract, as well as experience dealing with issues common among foreigners, which a real estate agent may not have. but if the apt is listed and shown by an agency i don’t think you would have a choice as to paying the agency fee.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

BUREAUCRACY

How to register with the anagrafe in Italy

All foreign nationals who move to Italy will need to visit the Italian registry office, or anagrafe. Here’s why and what to expect.

How to register with the anagrafe in Italy

If you’re planning to stay in Italy for the long term, sooner or later you’ll need to visit the Ufficio Anagrafe (registry office) of the Italian town or municipality you’re living in to register: a process known as the iscrizione anagrafica.

Registering with your local ‘anagrafe’ is a legal requirement, and it’s an essential first step to accessing many public and private services in Italy

The iscrizione anagrafica is needed to issue you with an Italian ID card (carta d’identità) and residency certificate (certificato di residenza). Registration is also important if you later intend to apply for Italian citizenship by marriage or naturalisation, or ancestry via the ‘fast track’ route.

So how do you register at the anagrafe and what documents will you need? 

In some cities, you’ll need to make an appointment to register – sometimes weeks in advance. Some municipalities also allow you to apply online or via email. Check the website of your local comune for more information about the procedure you’ll need to follow. See information for the anagrafe in Rome or Milan (available only in Italian).

READ ALSO: What’s the difference between Italian residency and citizenship?

Each town or comune has its own application forms, and the documentation needed to apply will also vary depending on your personal situation. If you visit the anagrafe in person, staff should be able to tell you exactly what you’ll need and provide you with hard copies of the forms.

Note that information is not always available in English, so if you don’t speak much Italian you may need to take a friend with you to translate.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s a quick overview of the requirements, which differ mainly depending on whether you’re a citizen of an EU or non-EU country.

EU nationals 

Although EU citizens have the right to travel freely around European member states, those staying in Italy longer than three months must apply for a certificato di residenza (residency certificate), which means registering at the anagrafe.

In general, you’ll need to submit the following along with your application form:

    • Copy of a valid identification document from your home country
    • copy of your personal Italian tax code (codice fiscale), which you can get from the tax office (agenzia dell’entrate);
    • a valid health insurance policy, if you are not eligible to register with the Italian national health service (SSN);
    • declaration of your address in Italy (dichiarazione di residenza);
    • declaration of your marital status and any dependent family members;
    • Evidence of employment, study or training in Italy, or proof that you have sufficient economic means to support yourself and any dependents.

Photo by Serge Taeymans on Unsplash

Non-EU nationals 

The application requirements for non-EU nationals can vary much more depending on your personal circumstances. You’ll need to consult your local anagrafe or comune for detailed information about the requirements in your situation.

In most cases, the application process is similar to that for EU nationals, but you’ll also need to show your residency permit plus other documentation depending on the reasons for which the permit was given.

This means you’ll usually need to submit the following along with your application form:

    • Passport or equivalent identification document from your home country;
    • original copy of your residency permit (permesso di soggiorno or equivalent), or the receipt if you’ve applied but haven’t received it yet;
    • proof of employment if your residency permit was issued for work reasons OR
    • certification of enrollment in education or a professional training course, if the permit is for study or training purposes;
    • proof that you have sufficient economic means to support yourself and any dependents;
    • copy of your personal Italian tax code (codice fiscale), which you can get from the tax office (agenzia dell’entrate);
    • a valid health insurance policy, if you are not eligible to register with the Italian national health service (SSN);
    • declaration of your address in Italy (dichiarazione di residenza);
    • declaration of your marital status and any dependent family members.

Note for non-EU nationals moving to Italy to claim citizenship via ancestry: Non-EU nationals can initially register with the anagrafe without a permesso di soggiorno (this is to give them the opportunity to start the citizenship by ancestry application process, and in turn claim a permesso for attesa di cittadinanza (permit for stay while waiting for citizenship)).

READ ALSO: Can second-home owners get an Italian residency permit?

All applicants will also need to pay the application fee, which is currently set at €27.50 plus tax. 

And if you rent, your landlord or housing association in Italy will need to provide a signed document authorising you to use the address on your registration. Be aware that there are reports of some unscrupulous landlords attempting to charge foreign nationals a fee for this document – which is not legal.

What happens next?

If you submit the application in person, the iscrizione anagrafica is effective immediately, meaning you can apply for your certificato di residenza and carta di identità.

However, the anagrafe has 45 days to check your documents and to verify that you actually live at the address you’ve given. They’ll do this by sending an official to visit you at home: some comuni will give you an appointment for this visit, while in others they’ll turn up without notice, but either way if you’re not at home when they arrive this can cause delays.

The anagrafe has the right to reject your application if any of your documents are found to be invalid or any of your information incorrect. You can appeal against rejections, though you’ll likely need the help of a legal professional.

Once approved, registration with the anagrafe does not expire or need to be renewed. It can be cancelled if you move to another part of Italy or abroad.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on individual cases. For further information on the process and requirements in your area, visit your local anagrafe office or check the official website of your town’s comune.

SHOW COMMENTS