Finding accommodation in Rome is subject to a notoriously competitive real-estate market. Housing in the city centre is expensive and 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.
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 or sharing a flat is common among younger expats 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) or greengrocers.
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 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, but creates issues for those staying for only a short period. 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.
►For information on neighbourhoods in the city, read Areas and Suburbs in Rome
►See Getting Around in Rome for information about the transport network in the city
"Housing is a big problem, because an expensive room does not guarantee a nice furbished place, buildings look old and therefore for me it seems not good value for money." Read Ernesto's interview for more insights into expat life in Rome.
"The areas outside the central part of Rome vary as to housing style." See how Camilla rates accommodation in Rome by reading this expat interview.
Are you an expat living in Rome?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Rome. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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