Accommodation is your first priority whether you are visiting Italy short term or planning to stay long term as an expat. Renting an apartment is the easiest and most cost effective way to quickly set up a home in an Italian city. Prices are relatively cheap and there’s a wide selection of properties to choose from.
The average price of a 900 square foot apartment in Italy is around 1000 Euros per month. This might appear to be extremely reasonable and it is certainly considerably lower than other European cities but there are also a range of hidden taxes and fees that you need to be aware of.
Every country has its own set of hidden fees related to renting or buying property and so if you’re moving to Italy and planning to rent while you’re there it’s important to know exactly what they are.
Contract Registration Fee.
The ‘Registro del Contratto di Locazione’, or contract registration fee in English, is a fee that is charged to renters of property in Italy. The contract registration fee comes to 3% of the total annual rent of a furnished apartment. This fee is calculated and payable based on the total length of the rental contract. Contracts in Italy are usually 6 months at a minimum and often significantly longer.
It’s not always obvious who has to pay this fee because this has to be negotiated between you and your landlord. In some cases the landlord will cover the fee although they’ll usually just add it to the rent as opposed to taking it out of their own pocket. Alternatively, you’ll have to pay it directly yourself or, in some cases, you can split it equally with the landlord.
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The reason for the contract registration fee is that under Italian law a contract can only be officially legally binding if it’s been registered with the authorities. Once the contract is registered it receives the official ‘bollo’, or stamp.
If you are renting a single room and not a whole apartment the landlord will generally charge you a contract registration fee of about 2% although this is negotiable and may vary.
The stamp tax, or ‘Marca da Bollo’, is an official stamp, like a postage stamp, and goes onto the contract. You can now pay the stamp tax online but it’s easiest just to buy one from a local tobacconist, or ‘tabacchi’.
The number of stamps that you need to buy depends on the length of the contact. For every 4 pages, or 100 lines of contract, you need to buy 1 stamp. Each stamp costs around 16 Euros.
You should have two copies of the contract, one for the municipal registration office and one for the landlord. As a tenant you can usually ask for a photocopy of your landlord’s copy with the official stamp on it for your own records. Otherwise, if you’ve paid the stamp tax online you’ll have an official confirmation code which can be written directly onto the contract.
The tourist tax has several different names. It variously goes by the name of ‘stay tax’, ‘room tax’, ‘hotel tax’ or ‘accommodation tax’ but they all refer to the same thing. This is a tax that is charged for every night a tourist stays in a city with a capped limit of time.
The precise conditions of the tourist tax vary from city to city. For example, in Rome the tax is charged at a rate of 3.50 Euros per night and is capped at 10 days while in Milan it’s charged at 2 Euros per night and is capped after 14 nights.
This may apply to you even if you’re renting a property to stay in while you’re living in Italy. Whether or not this must be paid will depend on how the landlord has registered the property. For instance, if the landlord has registered the property as a B&B then they will have to pay the tourist tax to be in compliance with local legislation.
To find out if this tax is being added to your rent you can ask the landlord to clarify the situation for you.
The waste tax, or ‘TARI’, is charged to residents to cover the costs of municipal waste collection services. This also pays for the waste to be transported away and disposed of on your behalf. The waste tax must be paid by the tenant to the local authority although if you’re staying in a large apartment block it might already be included in the strata fee.
Rubbish is either collected from the curb side by the waste collection services or else picked up from large communal bins. The local council, or ‘Comune’, is responsible for managing waste disposal and it’s they who collect this tax.
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Something that you need to be aware of is that the Italian municipal councils have extremely strict rules when it comes to recycling rubbish correctly. For example, if they deem that you haven’t properly sorted your rubbish they will not pick up your trash!
In some cases, if you don’t properly separate the rubbish as they have instructed you to then you can even be fined. Therefore, you should check the local council’s rules regarding waste disposal very carefully or else you might end up having to pay fines on top of the waste tax!
The waste tax is calculated taking multiple factors into account. The size of your property, the number of the occupants and an additional ‘environmental hygiene’ fee is all included in the calculations. Most local councils will have a calculator that you can use to figure out how much you’ll have to pay them for the waste tax.
The strata fee, or the ‘spese condominiali’, is a fee that is charged to pay for community services in your building or apartment block. The strata fee covers the cleaning of communal areas of the building, the doorman or concierge, painting and other repairs of communal amenities as well as gardening services. In some apartment blocks the strata fee also covers the cost of water and heating if they are communally centralized.
Sometimes the strata fee covers the waste tax as well although you should check to make sure so you don’t get fined for accidental non-payment! The precise details of what is covered by the strata fee should all be detailed in your rental contract and will usually be included as part of your monthly rental payments.
Furniture And White Goods.
When you rent an apartment in Italy it is usually put onto the market as unfurnished. This means that you need to remember that on top of the actual rent and taxes you’ll also have to supply your own furniture and white goods! You’ll often even have to provide your own light fixtures and bathroom units as well.
To avoid these costs you can look for a furnished apartment but these are far less common than in other European nations. Therefore, you should always be including the cost of the furnishings when calculating the feasibility of a rental property.
Hidden Taxes And Fees While Renting A Property In Italy.
It can be fairly overwhelming to try to figure out all the hidden fees and taxes that apply to you when you’re renting in Italy! The complex bureaucratic municipal regulations and commune rules on everything from recycling to the stamp tax for contracts can leave your head spinning.
In some cases, the advert for the property will include a list of the extra fees that you’ll have to pay but often they aren’t! The best thing to do when you’re looking for an apartment to rent is to have a list of all the tax and fee categories with you.
Then you can quickly run through your list with the landlord during the negotiation phase. They should be able to tell you roughly, or ideally exactly, how much each fee will cost. This will allow you to incorporate this into your calculations and therefore have a proper figure to work with when balancing the financial feasibility of the rental property.