Which quality and comfort can I expect from an average flat in Rome?
While living in Rome often implies to be in beautiful surroundings, the quality of flats more frequently does not compare favourably to the standard in other European countries or North America. The walls, fixtures, kitchen equipment and bathrooms are often outdated, with little or no refurbishments done in the last 20 years. In many cases owners unfortunately tend to believe that it is not worth modernizing their property to rent it, because they think that the tenants will wear it down again. Generally more modern flats are easier to find in residential areas, beyond the historic centre like the EUR and Monteverde Nuovo that have been developed since the 1970's. In any case, nicely renovated flats can be found in any part of town, but they will be more costly than what a foreigner might expect for a quality he would consider normal.
Are there different kinds of lease contracts used in Italy?
Yes, there are residential contracts and transitory contracts. The former have a duration of 4 years, renewable for another 4 years if the owner doesn't need the flat for himself (or close relatives) or wants to sell it. A variation of this contract is that based on fixed prices agreed upon by the local associations of owners and tenants and is available for 3 years renewable for a further 2. Transitory contracts usually have a maximum duration of 18 months and are designed for temporary housing of students or expats who are not expected to take residency in the rented flat.
Is it easier to find a furnished or unfurnished flat in Rome?
Generally furnished flats are easier to find if they are small, designed for singles or young couples and often imply a transitory lease agreement. Larger flats are usually unfurnished or semi-furnished which means with an equipped kitchen and a few wardrobes. The furniture is often a bit outdated or recycled, therefore if you are demanding, it is advisable to settle for buying some furniture yourself, even if you don't plan to bring your own.
Are the expenses for utilities such as gas, electricity, water, condominium and heating included in the rent of an apartment?
The expenses are not included and the tenant is expected to pay them himself or reimburse the owner who pays the bills. Condominium expenses cover the cleaning of common areas, electricity used in these areas, maintenance of the elevator and the salary of the doorman if there is one, as well as the centralized heating. Condominium expenses are usually included for short term rentals for less than 6 months.
Do I have to pay a commission to the real estate agency which is in charge of the apartment I want to rent and how much?
Yes, you have to pay a commission which varies in different cities and also from agency to agency. For rental periods that exceed a year, the commission is between 1 and 3 months rent.
In Rome, Property International charges one month rent + 22% VAT, upon contract signature.