Renting For Members

The 8 red flags to look out for to avoid rental scams in Italy

Jessica Lionnel
Jessica Lionnel - [email protected]
The 8 red flags to look out for to avoid rental scams in Italy
The colourful houses of Burano, a small island in the Venice lagoon, in September 2023. Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

When it comes to renting a property in Italy there are certain red flags you need to look out for to avoid becoming the victim of a scam.

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Moving to Italy is a dream for many international residents, but finding a good property can be challenging. With rental prices surging by 21 percent between 2010 and 2023 and demand rising, scams are becoming increasingly more common.

Here are some red flags to look out for if you feel as though something is amiss.

1) You can't view the property

This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many scammers are ‘too busy’ to show you around their property, with a common scam being that they are out of the country for work and cannot show you around before you want to move in. This should be an immediate red flag; any decent landlord would want to see their potential tenant before leasing their property.

2) You're asked for payment beforehand

Asking for payment before signing anything, as a way to test if you have enough money is another popular scam in Italy. You do not owe anybody money for a property that you have not seen in person and signed an appropriate contract for. Beware of scammers asking for an upfront sum and claiming they need this as they don’t want to waste their time on someone who cannot afford their property. You will likely never get your money back.

READ ALSO: How to find a longer-term apartment rental in Italy

3) There is no price in the listing

Speaking of money, if there isn’t a price in the listing, there more than likely isn’t a property. That’s a general rule of thumb.

Apartment, Italy

A man views an apartment in central Rome in October 2018. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

4) You're asked to send work contracts and payment slips as income evidence

Now, let’s make this clear: this might be fine to do when you want to propose to the owner that you want to move into the apartment once you’ve seen it. However, sending personal details like your payslips and work contract before seeing anything is extremely dangerous. You run the risk of giving out your personal details too soon. Do not do this. 


5) The property is available immediately

This type of scam could go 50:50. It is true that some properties, for whatever reason, will become available almost immediately. Nevertheless, what you have to question is why the property is immediately available in the first place. Was the landlord tricky? Was the property poorly kept? Is this a sub-let rather than a landlord-led let?

These are the questions that should be running through your head when an immediately available property crops up.


6) Suspicious photos

Usually, there are lots of photos when landlords try to rent out their place. There are a few tips that you can utilise to sift the genuine photos from the fake photos. Firstly, a fake apartment will more than likely have no photo or one photo of a street in its advertisement. Do not fall for this. 

READ ALSO: What you need to know about navigating Italian rental contracts

Secondly, some advertisements may have too many photos that do not match. Have you seen the living room with an orange wall? Why then, in another photo of the living room does it have a green wall in the same spot? Make sure that the photos you are looking at are of the same premises.


Two tenants are pictured in the kitchen of their apartment. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

7) English speakers

This is not to say that landlords who speak English are scammers; this is far from the truth. What it is to say though is that some scammers prey on English-speaking residents by pretending they are English to build a rapport. A common way for them to do this is by saying they were born and raised in an English-speaking country such as England or Australia when you say you are from there. A good way to get around this is to message them with colloquialisms when you contact them to see if they are telling the truth. 

8) It’s too good to be true

Lastly, if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Have you found an apartment in Rome’s city centre for 500? This is probably not true. Have you seen a building with a swimming pool and driving service in Portofino for €1000? Again, probably not true. Renters in the country pay an average of 12.74 euros per square metre, bar northern regions such as Lombardy or Aosta Valley. Keep this in mind.


What can you do to avoid being scammed?

Ultimately, follow these eight points, but also make sure to look at reputable websites such as or That’s not to say these sites are scam-free, but they are more reputable than Facebook groups.

READ ALSO: Can my landlord legally increase my rent in Italy?

Another option is to go via a well-known agency such as Technocasa or Soloaffitti. The agency fee will make the overall price higher than if you opt to go privately, but it is more secure.

What should you do if you are scammed?

If you do find yourself a victim of scamming, you can always report the case to the Guardia di Finanza, who are Italy's police force tasked with fighting financial crime. 


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