If you move to Italy and you are interested in renting a property rather than buying it, there are a few aspects related to renting that are worth considering. In fact, Italian real estate law and bureaucracy can be hard to navigate, especially if Italian is not your mother tongue, and confusion often arises when discussing complex topics, such as subletting.

An overview

Is it legal in Italy for someone to sublet a property? The quick response is yes, but only in particular circumstances.

The Italian Civil Code, which regulates subletting, states that a tenant may only sublet a property with the owner’s consent. Total subletting and partial subletting are the two types of subletting.

Total subletting, i.e., renting out the entire property to a third party, is never permitted unless specifically authorized by the owner and spelled out in the contract. If you sublet a property without consent, the owner will have the right to request the eviction of the subtenant. On the other hand, partial subletting is typically permitted unless the owner directly prohibits it, in which case it must be stated in the tenancy agreement. As a result, if the lease does not expressly prohibit subletting, a tenant renting a two-bedroom apartment, for example, may sublet one of the bedrooms to a third party, however the tenant must communicate the sublessee’s name and personal details to the landlord. It is important to note that property owners in Italy tend to be against subletting as they cannot select the person to whom the property will be rented.


Types of contracts

If you plan on subletting the property you are renting, you will need to have a good understanding of the type of tenancy agreement you hold. In fact, subletting is only allowed in long-term rental agreements, which are categorized as follows:

  1. The “4+4 contract” establishes that at the end of the first four years, the tenancy agreement will be automatically extended for another four years, unless one of the parties wishes to terminate the agreement.

While the tenant can leave the property at any point by giving the landlord six months’ notice, the landlord cannot terminate the agreement during the first or second four years of the tenancy agreement, unless otherwise specified.

  1. The “3+2 contract” lasts three years and it is renewed automatically for an additional two years at the end of the first three years (unless the parties decide to terminate the agreement or mutually agree to alter the terms of the agreement). The tenant can terminate the agreement by giving the landlord six months’ notice. The landlord can terminate the contract only after three years, and under specific circumstances.

On the other hand, if you have a short-term rental agreement (contratto di locazione a uso transitorio) or a student contract, subletting is not allowed.

Finally, it is important keep in mind that the subtenant has the same responsibilities as the tenant. However, since the subletting agreement is signed by the tenant and the subtenant, the tenant’s obligations towards the landlord remain unvaried. As a consequence, the subtenant will pay his/her rent to the tenant, who will then transfer it to the landlord.


How to sublet

Once you have your landlord’s consent, you can ask the subtenant to sign a contract which will need to specify the duration of the contract, the amount of rent due each month, and the areas of the property which the subtenant is entitled to use. This information will also need to be shared with the landlord by certified mail or email. Regular emails do not have legal validity.

If you are subletting a property for more than a month you will need to register the contract with the sublessee at the Italian Revenue Agency (Agenzia Delle Entrate) and pay the corresponding tax within thirty days from the start of the agreement.

If you would like to learn more about the topic or you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our real estate experts, do not hesitate to contact us at info@italianrealestatelawyers.com.

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