Securing accommodation in Milan is a priority for new expats, most of whom arrive with a job already lined up.
Property in Milan is expensive across the board, but prices are particularly high in the city centre. Apartments are also generally small, so expats looking for more space and family-friendly homes opt to live in the suburbs and commute to the city for work.
While foreigners can buy property in Italy, most expats prefer to rent, at least initially.
Types of accommodation in Milan
There are several living options in Milan. In the city centre, accommodation mostly comes in the form of apartments. Further away from the urban heart, expats will find large suburban family homes, as well as comfortable condos and villas. Expats can see a wider range of accommodation options compared to other Italian cities, although rent is expensive, adding to the already high cost of living in Milan.
Finding accommodation in Milan
The best place to start a property search is online. Even before moving to Milan, expats should browse web listings to get a feel for what's available. However, they should never commit to a lease or put down any form of deposit before viewing a property in person.
Once in Italy, expats can work through a local estate agent or browse the affitto (rental) sections in newspaper classifieds.
Renting accommodation in Milan
Furnished vs unfurnished properties
Properties advertised as empty (vuoti) come without furniture, light fittings or even a fitted kitchen. While it’s fairly easy to find furniture, it doesn’t come cheap in this designer city, so unfurnished rentals might not be the best option for expats who are spending only a short time in Milan.
Most expats choose completely furnished (arredati) properties or semi-furnished (parzialmente arredati) options that have light fittings, fitted kitchens and sometimes built-in cupboards.
Once a prospective tenant has something in mind, the rental process is fairly simple. The landlord will write up the contract, which, once signed, is registered at the ufficio del registro (registry office). Make sure the contract is read carefully. Expats who can't speak Italian should ask someone they trust to translate it.
The main types of leases in Italy are for at least three of four years which can then be renewed. Although short-term leases are also available, rates are normally higher.
Deposit and utilities
Most landlords require up to three months’ worth of rent as a deposit and tenants are usually responsible for paying their utilities.
►For an overview of the housing market in the country, see Accommodation in Italy
►Read Areas and Suburbs in Milan for ideas about where to look for a home
"The accommodation situation in Milan was a big shock for me – it’s very expensive and Italian contracts have strict regulations. It took me a long time to find a decent accommodation." Read more to find out about Alice's search for accommodation in Milan in her expat interview.
"Moving a little out of the city is better value for money, but you lose the proximity to the city which is a big pull." Get some advice on finding accommodation in Milan by reading Tim's expat interview.
Are you an expat living in Milan?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Milan. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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