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Renting a house in Italy to foreigners

A guide on all the steps to consider before renting a house in Italy to foreigners.

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When you decide to put your home up for rent, it is good to know that the Italian law provides specific rules and very precise procedures for entering into a valid lease agreement. Ignoring these rules is risky as you may incur penalties.

Moreover, the landlord who decides to rent to a foreign tenant will have to consider some additional fulfilments.

This article will analyze one by one the steps to consider before renting a house in Italy to foreigners.

Documents needed for renting a house in Italy

First of all, when you decide to rent your home to foreign nationals, it is a good idea to ask the prospective tenant to present their documents, specifically:

In addition, many landlords choose to ask for documentation about the economic resources possessed by the prospective tenants as a reference regardless of whether they are Italian or foreign citizens. This is done to conduct a prior check on the applicant and avoid problems related to insolvency.

Documentation of economic resources may include, for example, the latest pay-slip, or the employment contract, or the CUD. If self-employed, the latest tax return can be requested or, if a company, the company balance sheet.

Can a foreigner rent an apartment in Italy?

From a rental contract point of view, renting a house to a foreigner does not involve a different contract than those that would be offered to an Italian citizen.

There are two main rental contracts:

  1. The fixed rental contract (“a canone concordato”) – the rent in this case is determined according to specific municipal reference tables. This is a contract with a duration of 3 years, renewable for another 2, which allows some tax benefits for the owner.
  1. The free rental contract (“a canone libero”) – in this case the parties can freely decide the amount of the monthly rent for the house. The term of the contract is 4 years, renewable for another 4.

In addition, it is necessary to have the APE certificate and documents such as:

  • land registry certificate;
  • floor plan;
  • certificate of fitness of the property and its facilities;
  • condominium regulations, if any.

How to rent an apartment in Italy: “cedolare secca”

When registering the lease, the owner has the option to opt for the flat coupon option (“cedolare secca”).

This is an optional regime, which consists in the payment of a tax replacing the Irpef and additional taxes arising from the property income.

In addition, this regime also constitutes advantages for the tenant, in fact:

  • There is no need to pay the registration and stamp duties, which would normally be due for lease registrations, terminations and extensions.
  • The owner renounces to the right to request, for the duration of the option, the updating of the rent, even if provided for in the contract.

Choosing to rent one’s home to a foreigner does not affect the landlord’s right to apply the flat coupon option. However, the regime cannot be applied to leases concluded with tenants acting in the exercise of business or self-employment activities – with some exceptions.

How to register a lease contract

All lease contracts of real estate must be compulsorily registered with the Italian Revenue Agency, whatever the agreed amount of the rent.

Exceptions are contracts that do not exceed a total of 30 days per year, for which there is no registration obligation.

Lease contracts registration must take place within 30 days from the date of contract stipulation or from the contract start date – if earlier than the date of stipulation.

A lease agreement can be registered in various ways, such as:

  • Online, through the online services of the Italian Revenue Agency;
  • In person, by completing the RLI form at an office of the Italian Revenue Agency;
  • By entrusting the file to a licensed intermediary.

When registering the lease, the tenant’s tax code must be reported.

Renting a house in Italy to non-EU citizens with residence permit

Legislative Decree No. 286 of July 25, 1998 – “Consolidated Immigration Act (TUI)” – mentions some obligations on landlords, as part of the provision against illegal immigration.

Specifically, article 12, paragraph 5-bis, states that:

“Unless the fact constitutes a more serious crime, anyone who, in exchange for money, to gain an unfair profit, gives accommodation or leases a property to a foreigner who is not in possession of the necessary residence permit at the time of the stipulation or renewal of the lease agreement, shall be punished by imprisonment from six months to three years.

Conviction by an irrevocable order or the application of the penalty at the parties request pursuant to article 444 of the Code of Criminal procedure, even if a suspended ruling has been granted, shall result in the confiscation of the property, unless it belongs to a person unrelated to the crime. Existing provisions on the management and destination of confiscated property shall be observed to the extent applicable.

The sums of money derived from the sale, if any, of the confiscated property shall be allocated to the strengthening of activities for the prevention and suppression of crimes related to illegal immigration.”

Therefore, it is important, for the purpose of not incurring these serious criminal penalties, to verify that the tenant – foreign national residing in Italy – is in possession of an appropriate residence permit.

How to rent a house in Italy: documents for non-EU citizens

The residence title for non-EU residents in Italy is the residence permit, a plastic card (or, in some cases, a paper document) that is issued by the local immigration office.

Specifically, it is important to check the expiration date of the residence permit, to ensure that it is valid or, if it has expired, that the foreigner has renewed it and has the relevant postal receipts attesting the renewal of the permit.

The case of foreigners not resident in Italy is different. Such citizens will not have an Italian residence permit, as they are resident abroad; however, there is nothing to prevent a landlord from entering into a lease agreement with a foreign national who is not resident in Italy.

Mandatory communication when renting to non-EU citizens

It is important to be aware that anyone hosting a non-EU citizen in Italy is required to make certain important reports to immigration authorities.

When to notify the rental agreement to the local immigration office?

Specifically, under Article 7 of the TUI, anyone who provides accommodation to non-EU citizens or transfers real estate to them is required to complete a declaration of hospitality to the Local Public Security.

This declaration must be submitted within 48 hours from the foreign national’s arrival. In case of failure to report, the host is subject to an administrative penalty of €160 to €1,100.

How to report the declaration of hospitality to the Police Headquarters?

For more information on how to report the renting to a foreigners, please check our article on the declaration of hospitality.

Renting a house in Italy to EU citizens

Lease contracts signed with foreign, EU tenants follow the same rules and procedure as contracts signed with Italian tenants.

In this regard, it should be noted that leases for residential use must be in written form, otherwise they are not valid.

In addition, they must contain the following, mandatory elements:

  • Date of conclusion of the contract;
  • Personal information of the lessor and the lessee;
  • Description of the property;
  • Duration of the lease;
  • Amount of rent and mode of payment.

Within the contract, the amount of the safety deposit may be defined. The deposit is a sum of money that the lessor requires from the tenant as security against any damage done in the apartment. By law, this amount cannot exceed 3 months’ rent. It must be returned at the end of the lease, unless the tenant has caused damage to the lease property.

Renting a house in Italy: transitional contracts

Finally, in certain cases it is possible to enter into so-called transitional contracts. These contracts are for periods not exceeding 18 months. They can be entered into only if there are specific transitional needs of the landlord or tenant.

Such needs must be made explicit on the contract and supported by appropriate documentation. Below are some examples of these specific needs.

From the landlord:

  • the future plan of selling the leased property; or
  • the need to use the property for his or her own or a family member’s housing needs; or
  • for renovations that have already been budgeted for.

From the tenant:

  • for work needs; or
  • for the care of one’s own family member; or
  • for the purchase or rental of a dwelling property that becomes available within the term of the transitional contract; or
  • for renovation works in one’s usual residence.

Renting a house in Italy to foreigners without a tax code

People often ask how it is possible for a foreigner who is not resident on the Italian territory and lacks a tax code to rent a property in Italy.

In this regard, the Italian Revenue Agency provided some clarifications in its resolution number 5/E of February 14th, 2023.

In fact, the Agency clarified that the obligations to indicate the tax code of non-residents in Italy – in case they don’t have a tax code – is considered fulfilled with the indication of the following data:

  1. For individuals: first and last name, date and place of birth, foreign address;
  1. For companies: the company name and registered office. It is also specified that companies, associations or other entities will also have to indicate the data mentioned in point 1 for at least one of the legal representatives.

Accordingly, when applying for register a lease contract, it is not mandatory to indicate the tax code of the tenant.

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Regulatory Framework

Consolidated Immigration Act

Reference (Italian only)

Revenue Agency Resolution n. 5/E of February 14th, 2023

Reference (Italian only)

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