FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. WILL I HAVE ANY DIFFICULTIES SETTING UP MY UTILITIES?
– As long as you have an Italian tax code, you should not encounter any difficulties other than certain short delays when installing a phone for example. Certain areas of Italy are not covered by the ADSL or FIBRE network and your agent will inform you if these options are available or not. The average time that it takes to install a phone in Italy is up to a maximum of two weeks. It can take longer however if there are problems with the network in the neighborhood, if you’re not home when the technician comes by, etc. we will make sure of an appointment suitable for you and that the wait is a short as possible.
The SKY tv provider and FASTWEB telephone company for example, need italian bank coodinates to obtain a hookup.
The main and important issue to remember in Italy is the gas reading. It is not automatic and make sure that every 2 or 3 months, either you or the landlord takes this responsibility to read the gas meter and forward this to the gas company. These gas bills are NEVER correct, learn to read them and keep them up to date. The date consumptions on the gas bill are not the true date consumptions, so do not read these, only the meter readings count.
The water readings are normally done by the administrtor of the building, otherwise the same applies for the water meter.
Electricity is automatic and is allways correct 100%, it is enough to read the date consumption on the invoice. (in this case it is correct)
Q. HOW DOES MY DRIVER’S LICENSE WORK IN ITALY?
– The 27 European Union countries have an agreement where EU citizens can freely exchange their licenses in another member state. Therefore, citizens of the other 27 EU countries can exchange their licenses in Italy without any problem. Some other countries have treaties with Italy that allow their citizens to exchange their licenses in Italy, while for example this is not possible with American driving licenses. Any driver’s license which cannot be exchanged for an Italian one has a validity of one year from the time in which you become a resident. This license should also be accompanied by an International Driving License that should be obtained before you leave your country of origin. If you continue to drive on this license and the year is up you are breaking the law and you risk having a fine.
Q. IS IT EXPENSIVE IN ITALY?
– Most of Europe including Italy, has a high cost of living. Foodstuffs are generally cheaper as you move south of the country.
Q. HOW IS THE CRIME RATE IN ITALY?
– In comparison to other European countries, Italy does not seem to have such a problem with serious crimes. Two advices can be noted; Do not leave valuables in site when closing your home. Do not leave valuables in your car while it is unattended, especially on the beach, (not even empty handbags or camera covers).
Brindisi (and most of the rest of the south of Italy) does not have any previous “crime” stories for what regards aggression to people in homes during a break ins. The break ins occur when they know the house is empty of persons, they are normally petty theives, leave money, passports and valuables in a safe. If the home does not have a safe, ask the owner if one can be supplied. (it is not the owner’s task to install one, if he does not agree, ask him for the permission to install one)
Q. WILL IT BE EASY FOR MY SPOUSE TO FIND WORK IN ITALY?
– Italy does not have a flourishing job market and fluent Italian would be required for most job positions.
Q. ARE SAME-SEX COUPLES RECOGNIZED BY THE ITALIAN AUTHORITIES?
– Italy is starting to recognize same-sex couples. If your partner is an EU citizen they can come to live and work in Italy without any problem, if not they may only stay in Italy for ninety days at a time in any given six-month period.
Q. ITALY, IS IT A CHILD-FRIENDLY COUNTRY?
– Italians in general love children and for this reason it is normal to find children in restaurants with their parents even until late. Italy has a vast variety of sports and recreational facilities to fulfill your child’s needs. In the section “A View of Italy”, Brindisi’s services are mentioned. One note to remember in Italy; complete silence is to be observed every day, between the hours of 2pm and 4.30pm. Italy’s working hours are normally 9-1pm + 4.30pm-8pm, so most people actually sleep in the afternoon before returning to work. Please try to respect this.
Q. ARE ITALIANS FRIENDLY TO FOREIGNERS?
– Italians are friendly to foreigners. Learning the language (at least some words to go by with shopping and restaurant issues) will help you have less problems interacting with them. When condominium rules and the rubbish division rules are respected, italians are even more friendlier!
Q. IS THERE A VAST CHOICE OF FURNISHED AND UNFURNISHED PROPERTIES TO RENT?
– Our offices have the widest range of properties for rent and for sale. An unfurnished apartment in Italy means literally that, and quite often the property will not have kitchen or bathroom fixtures. A semi-furnished property will have a basic kitchen, possibly light fittings, and sometimes bathroom fixtures, and a furnished property, (most of the time) will have all of the necessary items, including kitchen ware and linen. Though, items such as a dishwasher, clothes dryer and microwave are not common in every home Italy, these items can be asked for at the time of negotiating the contract. Air conditioners are not installed in all the homes, but there is definetly allways a washing machine. The price range of the home you are choosing usually reflects what may be in the home or not, the more expensive, the more possibility that these appliances are present.
Q. ARE ITALIAN LANDLORDS FLEXIBLE WHEN IT COMES TO RENT AND PROPERTY CONTENTS?
– Property in Italy with a higher rental cost, have landlords that normally do not feel obliged to bargain rental costs. This is where your agent may be able to help you.
Asking the landlord for extra necessities (air cons, flyscreens, dryer etc) will only keep the rent at its same level. It is highly impossible that a landlord will agree to costly renovations or providing extra furniture/appliances, without trying to up the cost. Our offices/personal agent will guide you through this process and include all that is required in the rental contract.
Q. MAY I SEE MORE THAN A COUPLE OF PROPERTIES TO RENT?
– When you sign on and start a procedure with our company, and re your decision to purchase a relocation package, service agreement, or merely rent a home, this decision will be taken. It will also depend on the availability at that moment according to your “wish list” . Of course there is no cost for the number of homes that are shown. Yes…our agency has the the biggest choice of apartments and villas to choose from.
Q. DO I HAVE TO DECIDE QUICKLY IF I CHOOSE A PROPERTY?
– This is difficult to answer. It will depend on what you have chosen and the requests for that particular type of premises in that time period. A home may stand still for months, or may be rented out immediately it hits the market. When you are sure of your choice it is wise to make a offer to hold the property. You can risk waiting or miss out on something that you were previously sure about. Think clearly if you are sure and make the written offer with conditions that you are agreeing on. With this proposal, the person intending to rent leaves a one month’s holding deposit. The landlord in return, has up to 7 days in which to accept the proposal. When the landlord accepts the offer, the holding deposit paid will be deducted from the total amount that needs to be paid in order to move in, otherwise this deposit is returned to the client, (the latter rarely happens).
Q. WHAT ARE THE FEES OVERALL IN RENTING A PROPERTY?
– Once the security deposits and the first month’s rent are paid, you can move in. (Only in certain cases may 1 security deposit be accepted) The contract will be signed by both parties at our offices (security deposits may be 1,2 or 3 times the amount of the monthly rent). Our offices will help you determine this with the landlord according to the value/other conditions of the home. Any holding deposit paid with the initial offer, will be deducted from the total amount to be paid.
Italian realtors take one month’s rent as their commission OR the equivalent of 10 – 12% of the total rent, that is for shorter periods. (VAT is not included in their commission, this is to be paid by the new tenant when the invoice is issued) – this depends on the city where the property is situated, the value of the premises and the duration of the contract. The landlord is obliged by Italian law to register the contract and the fee for doing this is paid equally between the landlord and the tenant. Government revenue stamps 16 euros each, also need to be paid for that are attached to the contract and these are paid by the tenant. The Italian Government has recently introduced a special “no registration fee” where the landlord can agree to pay a flat, minimal amount of tax, this will benefit you from any registration fees as specified above. This new type of tax is called the “cedolare secca” and concerns only the landlord. If the landlord is a company, this advantage cannot be used.
Q. ARE THERE ANY CONDOMINIUM FEES THAT HAVE TO BE PAID?
– If you live in an apartment building, you will also have to pay for condominium fees. This also depends on your initial offer, and agreement with the landlord, and/or if you have been given a monthly rental price that includes “condominium fees”. Sometimes it is included in the rent and if not, this amount is paid directly to the landlord/ building administrator. These charges cover the cost of maintenance of the building, lighting, cleaning and garden upkeep if applicable. (garden upkeep may also be the tenant’s cost in certain cases, clarify this at the moment of the signatures)
Q. HOW DO YOU ASSIST ME AS A TENANT IN RENTING A PROPERTY?
– Our services are to open a file with your contact details, and perfectly understand your “wishlist”, determine which package and which services you require. After you have visited properties and found one according to your needs, an offer is made to the landlord with the amount of one month’s rent. The landlord will accept or decline the offer, in the case it is accepted, we then proceed with the issuing of the formal legal binding rental contract. Both parties will be in agreement on all points before the contract can be signed (see our “Rental Contract Contents” in the “HOME” section) All payments due must be paid and the landlord may not allow the tenant to enter or hand over keys to the property until they have received these payments. Sometimes proof of payment such as a bank transfer receipt instead of cash is enough to obtain the keys of the property. Once the contract has been signed, it is the responsibility of the landlord to register it through our offices. If the property contract is in the name of a company, we prepare the contract, send it to the company in order to have it signed and follow a different process where the company produces a Chamber of Commerce Trade Certificate and the company’s legal representative’s identity documents. Once the contract has been signed by their legal representative, it is delivered to the landlord for the signatures. According to which package or service you have requested, we will assist you with the “check in” on your first day on the premises. These contracts are then registered on line with the local tax office. For the area of Brindisi our agency is renowed for the continuous services given to tenants/companies, that no other agency can compare. We never “disappear”!
In our section “HOME”, you will find more details on this subject, clicking on “Service Agreement” / “Faq” / Relocation Services-Tenants / “Renting Homes in Italy” / “Rental Contract Contents” and “Renting Homes in Italy”.
Q. ARE SECURITY DEPOSITS GIVEN BACK WITH NO HASSLE IN ITALY?
– The Italian rental contacts specifically states and you will sign….“I will return the property in the same state or better, as received”. At the moment of your “check out”, that is the day in which you are returning the home to the landlord, an assessment is made with our help and assistance. Of course we can do our best in helping you acquire back your deposit, but that depends on the home’s condition. Our same agent who carried out your “check in” will be able to fully assess any major problems that may be present and also act as a proper “arbiter”. One important note to remember is that if any “condensation” has been formed for the only reason of insufficient airing by the tenant, repainting is to be paid for. Ask our offices for a “pre check out” to help you leave your home in a correct manner to enable yourself the right for your security deposits back. Under our care the landlord will return your security deposits if you follow the “pre check out” and “final check out” processes with us.
If you do not have the time for a proper last clean, (which is nearly allways the case) you can arrange with the landlord to leave money for professional cleaning. In our section on this site “CONDENSATION”, you will also find more details on this subject.
Q. WHAT AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR WHILE RENTING THE PROPERTY?
– It is a little different from other countries in that it is the tenant’s responsibility for the general maintenance of the property, while the landlord is responsible for major maintenance such as plumbing, electrical problems, etc. You may consult the “MAINTENANCE” section on this site, it will provide you with better description of services that may occur and what would be your cost as a tenant. When you are settled in and in email contact with one of our staff, you can easily ask for advice for when you encounter a repair and stuck with the problem of who has to pay for it. We have local cleaning staff and also handyman staff with low costs so a small job may be fixed quickly and things do not add up for the time of the return of your security deposits.
Q. MAY I CANCEL THE CONTRACT AND LEAVE AT ANY TIME?
– Again,.. depending on what type of contract is written up, or for a Temporary or a 4 year contract, the amount of time to give notice to leave will be written up before you sign the contract. Non residents usually take on a 12 month contract and you can leave giving only 30 days notice. In order to protect the tenant, we negotiate a break clause that will allow you to break free from the contract. The normal break clause that is acceptable in any situation, and at any time is for “very serious reasons” and reasons for work transfers. Of course if the timing is immediate, calculations between deposits and unpaid utilities are to be accounted for. Remember a monthly rented cannot be divided, it remains whole. Our offices can help you through this.
Q. WHAT UTILITY BILLS ARE AT THE TENANT’S COST?
– Tenants are responsible for paying their own utility bills which include, gas, electricity, town hall local rubbish/garbage fees and water. These costs are based on how much you consume. When a property is rented, the utility bills can either be put into the name of the new tenant or remain in the landlord’s name. When the tenant transfers the utilities, a small deposit cost (between 20 and 30euros) will be included in the new tenant’s first bill sent by each of the utility companies, this will be reimbursed on your last bill of closure. When you move in, it is the landlord’s responsibility to have the boiler up and working. Only after your first 12 months does the tenant pay the plumber for the yearly check up, which may vary between 80/90 euros. Internet and tv hookups are at the tenant’s cost.
Q. WHEN DO I RECEIVE UTILITY BILLS? (the first question in this section may help you here as well)
– Utility bills, electricity and gas, are sent out every two months. Water, about ¾ times a year. The rubbish/garbage fee will have various installments, to make it easier we will help you plan to pay this fee once every 6 months. Among our services, we help you take the utility readings at “check in” time. In order to make sure that you don’t receive wrongly calculated gas bills, it is very important that you or your landlord communicate regular meter readings to the utility company to avoid any unpleasant, large bill . This last note is only for the gas,.. Italy does not, until now have automatic gas reading. Remember to put your name straight away on your letterbox for utility contracts and bills. Keep these bills in order, pay them and check them every month, cutoffs are more regular and immediate now in Italy.
Q. WILL THERE BE ANY PROBLEMS REGARDING CABLE TELEVISION IN ITALY?
– Italy has both cable and satellite options. We can assist you with what is most appropriate for your needs, requirements and location of the property.
Q. WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED TO BUY A CAR IN ITALY?
– You will need:
a) Valid Permit of Stay
b) Permanent Residency
c) Italian Tax Code
d) Italian Identity Card.
Q. CAN I WORK IN ITALY?
-Only EU citizens have the right to live and work in Italy without having to obtain a work permit.
Q. IN AN EMERGENCY, WHO DO I RING?
– On this web site, in the section of “VIEW OF ITALY”, the list will have emergency numbers, for example ambulance etc. 113 is the main police number and 115 for the fire station.
– When you are signing your rental contract and if you have a service agreement, a mobile number will be given to you for “after hours” assistance.
Q. RUBBISH / TRASH, HOW DO I DEAL WITH THIS?
-Depending on your area, the list is different. Ask for an email to be sent to you translated in english for the rubbish/trash division. The divisions are: metal and glass together, these all go in the big blue bins on the streets around the city. Brindisi has the “ecological” that goes in a brown bin, “paper” and “plastic” divisions that go in plasic bags and just placed on the road on various days, and at various times, and this will be written on this email. What remains is the “not divided” articles, (indifferenziato) that literally means “everything else” from the above that goes in a grey bin.
Do not hesitate to contact us for any other question that you may have.