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Photo of Flat - Interior
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Residential

General guidelines
While you are looking for housing or an office you will learn that there are no hard and fast rules about the condition and appearance of property in Italy.
You may be lucky enough to find the property you like in perfect condition. On the other hand, an otherwise suitable housing/office solution might need some attention. The tenant is usually expected to clean and paint the property, either as he moves into the property or when he moves out. In any case, at the end of the contract, the property must be returned to the owner in the condition in which it was handed over.
It should be noted that property owners almost always require a minimum rental period of one year, although in Milan you might find an apartment for less than six months.

Unfurnished property in Italy is just that: empty walls, ceilings and floors! So do not expect to always find the kitchen already installed as is common in some countries. Semi-furnished properties do exist, and will typically have the kitchen and some wardrobe closets installed. Furnished housing is relatively complete. However, it usually does not include bed linens, towels, plates, cutlery, pots or pans.
Not all Italian properties are equipped with air-conditioning, clothes driers or microwave ovens.
If you are planning to rent a furnished or semi-furnished property you should know that according to the Civil Code the tenant is responsible for ordinary repairs and maintenance of the property and its contents, while the owner is responsible for major repairs

Utilities
Telephone, gas and electricity are always paid by the occupant according to consumption. Separate contracts are drawn up with the utility companies and are not included in rental agreements.
 
Garbage tax
The occupant of a property must register at the Municipal Tax Office for the subscription to the trash/garbage removal service. The cost is calculated on the basis of a formula which takes into account the number of square meters occupied, and the number of persons living in the property. The bill is sent to the tenant on a yearly basis and can be paid in installments.

Cost of Living Increase

Rental amounts are increased each year by a small percentage. The percentage of increase is established annually by the "ISTAT" report (government issued cost of living index).

Contracts
When you find an appropriate property a rental contract will be drawn up. This contract may be signed by the individual or by the legal representative of his/her company. The standard Italian rental contract is commonly known as the “4 + 4” contract, because the duration is for 4 years and is renewable for another 4 years. The owner is obliged to guarantee this period but the tenant can give notice with a registered letter. The official notice period is 6 months but this can normally be negotiated to 3 months. Even the owner can give notice after the first period of rent (4 years) with a 6 month advanced notice but under very strict circustances according to the Civil Code.

Rent Payments
In Milan at the time of signing the lease, you are expected to pay 3 months rent in advance (rental payments are always made in advance and usually paid quarterly). Some owners will accept monthly payments, especially for small apartments.

Security deposit
The security deposit which amounts to 3 months rent is paid to the owner and is normally put in a bank or post savings book which draws a little interest. It will be returned to you at the end of your stay less any amount to cover damages and/or any outstanding payments. It is never used to pay the last three month's rent.

Condominium Expenses
Besides the Rental Cost (l’affitto), another cost to keep in mind when looking for an apartment is the Condominium Expenses (spese). These generally include cleaning and maintenance of the building; central heating; water supply; the cost of running and maintaining the elevator; the porter's salary; gardening costs etc. These condominium expenses are variable, depending on the size of the building, the type of heating used, and the number of tenants among whom they are divided and the capacity of the management in containing the costs. The management company of the building draws up a forecast of what the yearly expenses are expected to be, and these estimated expenses, broken down into appropriate payment periods, are paid in advance, with the rental payment. At the end of the administrative year the forecast will be compared with the actual costs and the tenant will be expected to pay the difference if the costs are higher, or will be given a credit if they are lower.

Registration tax
The yearly registration tax is 2% of the year's rent, divided equally between the owner and the tenant. The stamps duty is paid by the tenant. When notice is given there is a cancellation fee to be paid to the registry office. This fee is to be paid by the party that gives notice. Both parties are responsible for registration and cancellation taxes.

Maintenance
Tenants are expected to be responsible for the upkeep and the ordinary maintenance of the property and its contents. This includes electric appliances. In case of dispute regarding the cause of a breakdown, the opinion of a technician is normally accepted. Any extraordinary maintenance costs will be covered by the owner.

Handover of Property
The tenant is expected to return the property in the same state in which it has been handed over. If a property has been painted upon entry for example, it must normally be returned in the same state. Owners will retain money from the security deposit if the property is not returned clean and in suitable condition.