Renting an Apartment in Italy: Contracts

Renting an apartment in Italy looks quite a bit different than back in the States. There’s a lot of new vocabulary you should know. If you are looking to rent in Italy, know that while possible it can be difficult from abroad. You are better off coming to Italy first or having someone set it up for you on-site. Let’s get more into it.

Renting in Italy – a few things to know

Normally, property owners want to see proof of income or passive funds so they can know they are safe with you. This makes finding an apartment very difficult not only for students or freelancers but even those with contracts! If contracts are determinato, or a set time, owners are wary of renting. The reason is that Italy protects tenants (and squatters for that matter) and when someone is in a house, it becomes challenging to get them out, even if they don’t pay.

Be prepared for that difficulty to arise.

When looking at apartments, normally long-term rentals are managed by agencies. You can browse through sites like, and to find apartments. If you definitely want a rental agreement without an agency in the middle, you will have a better look at direct owner-to-renter listings on

Another way of scoping out apartments would be to look for different agencies in the area you want to go to and get in contact with them.

Working with an agency

In Italy, it can be a bit odd, it is unlikely you will work with only one realtor, instead for every apartment you’ll meet with a different realtor. One may show you the place, then they will disappear and another will take over in office. They don’t have much loyalty to renters, only looking for their commission.

Upfront Expenses of Renting an Apartment in Italy

There are a few expenses you should be aware of when going to rent in Italy. You will most likely need to pay the agency 1-2 months’ rent as a fee (plus usually a VAT tax), pay a deposit of about 2 months’ rent, and pay the first month right away.

Valid Contracts

When looking at apartments, remember you will need a valid contract if you wish to get residency. It is true that in some cities you may find a lot of easy rentals for which the owner will accept cash in hand. However, these aren’t necessarily legal, and know that this arrangement will not offer you legal residency, and you should be cautious of these arrangements. A printed and signed document is more of a rental agreement. But, to be completely legal, the actual contract has to be registered with the Agenzie delle Entrate, and you will want to keep a copy of it.

Types of Rentals

Student Contracts

Student contracts or contratto di locazione a favore degli studenti universitari are available in cities with a large university population. They are ideal for students studying Erasmus or for a shorter period. They can be drawn up for 6 months to 3 years and renew automatically for the same duration unless the contract is terminated.

The rental prices under this type of contract are free to be determined by the landlord.

These can be easier to manage if you don’t have a job or financial proof, and you will often find them drawn up for groups of roommates rather than individuals.


Transitorio contracts (contratto di locazione ad uso transitorio) are the legal version of short-term contracts, commonly offered to students or short-contract workers. These contracts can last from one month to 18 months.

While the contract doesn’t necessarily renew, landlords simply renew it by drawing up the contract again. You can also often get out of them easier; landlords will either just ask you to find someone to take the room as you leave, or you’ll have to write a letter to send by mail saying you are leaving.

You can find this type of contract offered both via marketplaces direct by the owner or through agency postings. They usually are cheaper as they are regulated by law. These contracts must fall into a certain price range decided by each region.

With this contract, many landlords may say you can’t claim residency. Turns out there is no law whatsoever that can stop you from getting residency as long as you live there with a contract. However, seeing as how they are short-term, it is up to you to determine if it is worth it.

Long Term Renting in Italy: Canone Libero and Canone Concordato

If you are looking to rent an apartment in Italy for the long term then you will look for contracts labeled “4×4” or “3×2” these refer to the length of time. A 4×4 means the original contract is 4 years, then renewed for another 4. Or it can be 3 years, renewed for 2.

The actual titles of the contracts are contratto di locazione a canone libero (4×4) **and contratto a canone concordato(3×2).

Canone Libero means the owner prices it as they wish, there is no restriction. Canone Concordato is technically limited by certain legal price restrictions depending on the area. All of these technicalities are more for the owner than the tenant and you won’t need to get into the nitty gritty yet.

These long-term contracts can be tough to nail down as owners often want maximum financial security. This means they want proof of a long-term work contract and want to see paychecks. Even if you have a good job, but it is a determinato, or set time contract, they may be hesitant.

What will you find in your Italian Rental Contract?

All rental contracts in Italy will look a bit similar because they are regulated and must be registered with certain information. You’ll of course see the standard information like the owner’s and renter’s personal details, property details, and the agreed-upon rent. But then you’ll also need to have these included:

  • Annual amount of rent
  • A mention confirming that the renter has received an Energy Performance Certificate (Attestato di Prestazione Energetica)
  • Additional costs owed by the renter for building maintenance
  • Amount of deposit (usually 3 months’ worth of rent), to be returned upon leaving
  • Terms of terminating the contract by either party (generally you’ve got to let them know 6 months in advance)
  • Rules relating to the upkeep of the property

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