Accommodation in Rome is subject to a notoriously competitive real estate market. Expats will find that housing in the city centre is expensive and that property located even a small distance outside the city comes at the cost of long commute times that hardly make the lower rental prices seem like a worthwhile compromise.
Italians have historically favoured compact living spaces and Rome’s inhabitants are no exception. Perhaps the affinity for close quarters comes from a culture that views proximity as an indication of camaraderie. Perhaps it is leftover from a time when citizens huddled into towns and fortresses for safety. Still, the fact remains that the size of the average accommodation in Rome is relatively small.
Types of accommodation in Rome
Like so many brilliant modern-day conveniences, apartment blocks may have been an invention of classical Rome. Expats will likely find that most of the available accommodation in Rome is in this form. Renting a room and sharing a flat are other common housing options when staying in Rome.
As a quaint and convenient quirk to the standard apartment block, many apartment buildings in Rome reserve the ground floor and basement for commercial use – meaning expats may be living above bakers, butchers, gelaterias (gelato ice-cream parlours) and greengrocer.
It follows that the higher up in the apartment block an expat moves, the higher the rent as these apartments experience less noise and light pollution.
No two accommodation options in Rome are the same, and expats will certainly want to spend some time selecting the perfect area and suburb to settle in. Most accommodation in Rome is in historic buildings. Although these buildings can be charming, a disadvantage is that frequent maintenance may be needed.
Finding accommodation in Rome
Expats looking for accommodation in Rome are advised to browse local papers for ads or peruse listings online. As an alternative, expats may want to use the help of a relocation agency or a real estate agent. The fee for assistance is normally one month's rent plus a certain percentage of country tax.
Accommodation in Rome comes either furnished or unfurnished, but expats should be aware that unfurnished options are usually incredibly scant and may come with no appliances at all and so may not be preferred by those only staying for a short while.
Renting accommodation in Rome
Leases in Italy are complicated and may seem limited. Normal rental leases require a minimum of three or four years of stay and this can be renewed. This is great for expats who plan on staying in Rome long-term, however, creates issues for those staying for only a short period.
However, shorter leases are available for stays between one and 18 months, though these may be quite expensive.
Both the landlord and the tenant should inspect the property and draw up an inventory that both parties agree on. Finally, a proposal (proposta) can be drafted and signed together with a holding deposit and submitted to the landlord for acceptance. The housing market and high property demand in Rome tend to favour the landlord, leaving little room for negotiation, even if prices seem sky-high.
Utility bills are often paid for by the tenant. This, as well as high demand for accommodation in Rome, means that rent in the city can be expensive. Expats should be aware of this when managing their finances as it is an additional cost to them.
Expats can expect to pay roughly two to three months' of rent as a security deposit, and some homeowners expect tenants to give bank references so that they can collect even if an individual misses a rental payment.