Moving to Italy – Relocation to Italy
Things to know before moving or relocating to Italy
Italy is a peninsula located in Southern Europe, shaped like a high–heeled boot with several islands. The country borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia to the north, with the Alps stretching across the northern border. Italy is known to be the heart of the Roman Empire, the hub of Catholicism, and the birthplace of the Renaissance. It has a rich heritage in art, history, religion, cuisine, architecture, and fashion.
The country is in the top 10 exporters in the world for its cultural products. Indeed, they have become a huge economic asset for the country. Over time, Italians have become known for being flexible, confident, and charming people. Their playful and lively communication style often gives the impression that they are enthusiastic and appreciative of what life has to offer.
Why should you consider moving to Italy?
There are so many reasons why you should consider moving to Italy. To begin with, the weather is mild, especially compared to northern Europe which experiences hard-hitting winters each year.
Italy is incredibly rich in history, culture, heritage, ancient ruins, spectacular scenery, and much much more, all making it the ideal relocation destination. In the end, this is the motherland of world-famous structures, such as the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Regardless of where you choose to set up home in Italy, it’s guaranteed that you will be surrounded by stunning, yet natural scenery and most importantly, perpetual sunshine.
Italy is also well known for its delicious and varied cuisine that makes happy even the pickiest person
Fashion is another important element in Italian culture, after all, it is home to some of the world’s biggest and best fashion shows, such as Milan Fashion Week.
Italy’s healthcare system is consistently ranked among the best in the world. Life expectancy is the 4th highest among OECD countries (83.4 years in 2018) and the world’s 8th highest according to the WHO (82.8 years in 2018).
Thinking about living and working in Italy sounds very exciting, but planning the big step can be stressful. Luckily this country has a lot to offer from a pleasant climate to its relaxed way of life and world-famous gastronomy. Here are some tips that will help you understand Italian culture and be ready to move immediately.
- Learn a bit of Italian before you move. Finding English speakers can be hard, even in touristy areas.
- Prepare your paperwork. The Italian bureaucracy is a complicated matter and online processes are still not very common. Therefore, get yourself ready to stand in queues in public offices.
- Buying and renting a property in Italy is a different experience compared to many countries and can be very challenging if you don’t speak any Italian. For this reason, it’s important to do your research and if necessary, seek the help of a professional.
- Consider your finances before making the big step. If you’re considering living in the country on a long-term basis, then opening a bank account is a highly necessary step.
Relocation to Italy
Nationals from one EU country are free to move, look for work, and study in another member state. Nationals of EFTA member countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) also enjoy the same benefits as EU nationals.
So, if you are an EU or EFTA citizen wanting to move to Italy, it will be much easier for you than a third-country national. For one, you do not have to apply for a visa or a work permit, and you won’t be subject to work quotas like non-EU citizens are.
However, if you want to stay in Italy for longer than three months, you still have to meet certain conditions and register for residency. If you are a non-EU/EFTA citizen, before you can move to Italy, you will have to get an Italian long-stay visa. After you have entered Italy, you have to apply for an Italian residence permit within eight days. The residence permit is what allows you to live in Italy legally for more than three months. You cannot apply for Italian residency with an Italian short-stay visa.
Renting in Italy as a foreigner
Renting a property in Italy as a foreigner can be both stressful and easy at the same time. The majority of Italians tend to be friendly and open-minded towards foreigners. Of course, there is also the option of relying on real estate agents to help you find the most suitable home for you.
Overall, tenants enjoy the same rights in Italy as they would anywhere else. In case of upgrades or changes, the landlord has to approve them. Moreover, renters are expected not to damage the apartment, do anything illegal inside of it or disturb the peace of their neighbors. In case the above-mentioned criteria will not be respected, landlords reserve the right to remove renters if they’re found to be destructive, disruptive, or using the apartment illegally.
Because apartments are mostly rented by their owners, rules around subletting will vary from apartment to apartment.
Furnished or unfurnished apartments?
Houses in Italy can be rented:
Whether your future Italian home is going to be furnished or unfurnished will depend on the duration of your contract. For example, long-term rentals usually last between two and four years and are typically unfurnished. Unfurnished in Italy means no appliances whatsoever—no refrigerator, no stove, no oven.
When it comes to short-term rentals and short-term contracts, you can expect apartments and houses to be fully furnished.
Requirements and documents to rent
EU residents aren’t required to have a job in order to get an apartment; however, most landlords will require proof of income before allowing you to move in.
Non-EU residents will need to prove their legal residency in order to get an apartment. While it’s possible to get a visa as a student or under other circumstances, most visas are work visas, and will only be issued to those who have secured jobs in Italy.
Requirements and documents to rent
Some documents are required by both tenants and landlords to rent an apartment or house in Italy. To sign the rental contract, tenants and landlords need the following documents:
- Identity document;
- Tax code;
- Map of the building;
- Copy of the deed of purchase or land registry;
- Energy certification of the building (ACE).
- Identity document (as well as of other cohabitants);
- Social security number (as well as of other cohabitants);
- Two last payslips if you are a salaried employer;
- The last unique module and Chamber of Commerce inspection, if self-employed.
After signing, the owner has 30 days to register the contract with the Revenue Agency. Tenants may be asked to pay extra fees (such as for registrations and stamps) in equal parts with the landlord. This depends on the scheme agreed upon by the two. However, note that the tenant must never pay the full price of these fees, and in case of debt, these payments are the legal responsibility of the landlord alone.
Rental process and rules
Landlords cannot arbitrarily evict tenants without paying serious compensation, even in the case of non-payment by the tenant. The eviction process can sometimes be very long given the corresponding legal process. All rental contracts in Italy should be registered with the regional registry office for them to be valid. Be aware that sometimes, landlords prefer not to register the contract in order to avoid paying taxes. In order to do so, they will often negotiate to give you a lower rent in return, placing themselves at risk by doing so.
Rental contract and deposit
There are four types of contracts
- The unrestricted contract is a long–term contract lasting 4 years which is renewable for another 4 years. The rent is determined freely.
- A conventional contract is a contract that lasts for 3 years with the possibility of renewing for another 2 years. It generally has a lower rent than the market price. This type of contract allows the owner to claim for a tax break.
- Transitory contracts are for short-term rentals. They last a minimum of 1 month up to a maximum of 18 months. After the expiration date, they are not renewable.
- Student contracts are governed by agreements with local cities with universities. They can last anywhere from 6 months to 3 years and have an automatic renewal of that same duration unless the contract is terminated. The rental price for student contracts is freely determined.
Landlords are forbidden to request payment in advance amounting to more than three months’ rent, and the same applies to security deposits. So normally, tenants pay a total of six months’ rent – three months advance, three months deposit – prior to occupancy. The deposit is given back at the termination of the contract.
Buying a property as a foreigner
The Italian real estate sector has always been attractive for international investors. Both the commercial and the residential real estate markets provide numerous investment opportunities to foreign citizens coming to Italy. An interesting fact in this regard is that the Italian government has also enabled programs for high-net-worth individuals who want to obtain Italian residency by purchasing a property in the country.
Requirements to buy a property in Italy
There are no restrictions for foreigners who want to buy properties in Italy. However, the Italian authorities have the power of making some verifications of criminal records and other aspects.
Foreigners who do not reside in the country can buy property in Italy if there is an international treaty that permits a material condition of reciprocity between their country of origin and Italy. This is a treaty that also allows Italians to buy a house in the foreigner’s country of origin. Foreigners residing in Italy legally, their family members who are in good standing, and stateless persons who have lived in Italy for no less than 3 years are eligible to buy property in the country without the need for verification of a condition of reciprocity.
House prices in Italy
House prices consistently vary across the country, and between cities and rural areas. Nevertheless, hereby there is a shortlist of prices for four cities located in North, Centre, and South Italy:
- In Rome, Italy’s capital and largest city, homes prices stood at €2,848 (US$3,404) per sq. m., on average
- Venice and Milan have the most expensive housing in the country, with average house prices of €4,467 (US$ 5,340) and €3,994 (US$4,774) per sq. m., respectively.
- In Florence, house prices fell slightly by 0.4% to an average of €3,947 (US$4,718) per sq. m.
Get a mortgage in Italy
Italy offers both variable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages. However, the majority of mortgages held in Italy (over two-thirds of the mortgage market) are variable rates. Application for an Italian property purchase would have to be made through an Italian bank.
Few banks offer international mortgages, so it is worth doing some research, while also acquiring the necessary professional advice, to make sure you find the terms and rates that are right for you.
Expats that are purchasing properties to then be rented out should check with an Italian solicitor first, as Buy-to-Let mortgages are not available in Italy. This means that despite your bank lender not having any restrictions in terms of renting out a property, there could be some local permissions or licenses required to do so.
Process and steps to buy a house in Italy
When you visit a potential property, be sure to do a thorough check of everything. Be sure to talk to the neighbors and inspect the building. Take notes and measurements. Take photos so you can look back later and compare them with other properties.
When the time to make an offer comes, be sure that the property has all the deeds and paperwork in order, that there is a building certificate and there are no outstanding debts, costs, or charges on it.
The following step involves signing the deposit agreement. This requires you to pay 10% of the sale price as a deposit, which the estate agent if you use one, will send through to the seller.
Sign the final title deed: the signing of this document represents the last contract before the property is finally yours and you have paid all the money for it. The deed must be signed before a notary to make it legally binding.
The final step is to pay the transaction costs and taxes.
Guide to additional expenses when buying a home in Italy
As you set your total budget, it’s a good idea to keep the following taxes and fees in mind:
- Registration Tax: 3-7%
- VAT: 4-22%
- Land Registry Tax: 1%
- Notary fee: 1% to 2.5%
- Translator fee – approx €250 to €350⁹
- Estate agent fee – 1.50% to 4%, plus 22% VAT
- Legal fees: 1% to 2%, plus 22% VAT
Utility companies: Electricity and gas
Although the energy sector in Italy has been liberalized, this country has one of Europe’s highest final electricity prices. There are currently over 40 providers active in Italy. Some are active in the whole country, such as ENI or EDISON; some serve specific geographical areas. Some of the companies are:
- Saras (electricity, gas)
- Edison (electricity, gas)
- Enel Green Power S.p.A (electricity, gas)
- Saipem (electricity, gas)
Before choosing a provider, always check reviews on the internet. Focus on finding out about the quality of the service provided and the availability of their customer care.
The water bill will vary greatly depending on the geographical location. This is because each administrative division refers to its own water company, and they will regulate the price according to the size of the reserves and rainfall received. Some companies are:
- De Nora
- Acquedotto Pugliese S.p.A
- Gruppo CAP
Public utility company registration
If the previous utility contracts are still active, you’ll have to change the account holder’s name. If the meters are present, but there are no active contracts, you’ll have to proceed to start new contracts from scratch and in your name. To switch to a new contract, the provider company will need your details, the previous account holder’s details, the POD (Point Of Delivery) code for electricity, and the POR (Point of Supply) code for gas.
What you need to know
- If your unit is located in an apartment complex, often the heating is centralized and the bill is then split evenly between the households.
- If there is a TV set in your house, even if you don’t watch it and it belongs to the landlord, you’ll have to pay € 90 ($102) per year.
- If you live in an apartment complex you’ll have to share some common expenses with the other households.
- TARI is a tax that covers the costs of collection, transport, and processing of waste. If you live in an apartment complex, this tax may be included in the building fees.
- Local authorities in Italy are very strict when it comes to recycling. Most apartment complexes have recycling bins, and tenants must recycle waste correctly, otherwise, they’ll be fined.
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