July 6, 2015, 06:49 PM
Moving to Florence - accomodations
Buona sera, Lourdes
I have been actively working on our project to move to Florence for a bit over a year, now, as opposed to just thinking about it. In the process, I have read a number of your posts, and blog articles, all very insightful, and helpful. Considering your vast experience, I thought you might be the best person to address first about a matter that preoccupies me (amongst others :-)), that is renting accomodations.
I have traveled to Florence three time this year, each time looking for accomodations. Did lots of research on the Internet, contacted a number of real estate agents, and not much has come up, frankly. The prohibitive prices and size/disposition of the rooms were the main obstacles to our finding the appropriate accomodation. I am a single mom, working from home as self emplyed, and have a budget, most of which is spent on sending my 8 year old daughter to English speaking school (i.e. the international school in Bagno a Ripoli). I don't mind and actually prefer living in the outskirts of Florence, but it has to be reasonable distance from the school, so I've been looking mostly south of Florence, as far as Impruneta, perhaps Strada in Chianti, because that is as far as the private bus company would operate.
I had recently made an offer on a house in Ugolino, but the negotiations did not succeed, because the owner was adamant in wanting, in addition to two month's rent deposit (no problem with that, or three months, on my part), a fidiussione bancaria (bank garantee) covering 12 months rent. I do read Italian, and have a legal background, so I read some about this creature. I am highly uncomfortable with it, because it can be very intricate and lead to abuse on the owner's part. At 1500 euros per month rent, giving access to a full year's rent to the owner is just not something I am prepared to do. And leaving that much money in a bank in Italy makes me extremely uncomfortable in the current economic climate.
My question to you (at long last!) is: will I always be asked for this garantee? I had made an offer earlier in the spring on another house, for which a 6 month fidiussione bancaria was required. Negotiations were stopped (by me) for other reasons at that time.
And while I'am at it, any suggestions on how to find the right place to live in? I have been consulting: www.immobiliare.it; kijiji.it, trovacasa.it, soloaffito.it, idealista.it, perhaps a couple more I forget. Are there appartments/houses advertized in local papers? By other means? Agents seem very involved, or is it just an impression because of my search beeing through Internet only so far?
Thanks a million for your time. As you can expect, I am somwhat worried about the accomodation issue, as I am moving with my 8 year old daughter and our two cats. We have temporary accomodations secured until the end of September, and I would hope no to have to extend...
July 7, 2015, 12:17 PM
Housing in Italy
Hello Dominique -
First I'd like to welcome you to Italy and I hope you have a wonderful experience here. I have been here for over 23 years and I have loved all of it!
My experience has been that you always need to "know" somebody...who sometimes "knows" somebody. The good ol' do it yourself approach is just a bit more difficult here. Not impossible, but unfortunately sometimes the Italians think foreigners have an unlimited bank account and they (sometimes) assume that they can pull a fast one. For the area you are looking for - for two people - even if you are looking for a three bedroom, it just sounds like a lot.
My contact at the long term rental agency told me that fidiussione bancaria (bank garantee) is not normal proxy. It can be used between private persons - but it is not really the best solution. There are types of insurance you can purchase which will offer the same type of protection to the owner for the rent and cost you a lot less money. He also told me that normally if one does take the fidiussione route it is because there is a company taking over the rental contract and the owner wants to protect themselves from bankruptcy on the company's part.
I don't know if this will be of any help to you but my contact is actually specialized in the area you are looking for (they deal a lot with employees from GE who want to use the school) I have had the pleasure of working with his agency, and have found them to be open, honest and diligent. His name is Matteo Merciai and you can contact him at +39 388 047 3024. I normally speak with his brother Lorenzo - but they tell me that Matteo speaks better English. ;-)
Please don't hesitate to contact me directly if you have any other questions.
July 8, 2015, 02:31 AM
Thanks so much, Donna, for your encouraging words. I was starting to wonder whether I might ever find a suitable while affordable place to live. I will definitely call your contact, when the time comes nearer (we will be in Florence from August 12). I would love to contact you directly, but don't know how!
I hope our experience in Florence will be a positive one, once the necessities of life and administration are dealt with.
July 8, 2015, 10:48 AM
Thank you Donna: she has a wealth of information and am glad she's here to help us out!
I'll also add that you should ask about contracts and their duration. I know that for residents there are longer contracts (4 years) so it could make a difference in what you're asked for as guarantees. Although a whole year sounds like a lot to me!
I'll also recommend two local agencies in Florence who offer short-term vacation rentals AS WELL as LONGER TERM rentals - which depending on how long you plan to be here, might offer better options if you don't want to enter into a 4 year contract.
Contact Corso from Pitcher & Flaccomio here: http://www.pitcherflaccomio.com
and Riccardo at Merry-Go-Round: http://www.merrygoround.org/
Not everything is on the websites, so it is better to contact them directly and express your needs so that they can better help you out.
July 8, 2015, 10:17 PM
Thank you Lourdes, I am taking due note of your contacts' numbers and will definitely call. My Italian is cagey, but I can Cope. This is most helpful.
I have looked into the various contract types, and long term (4+4 or 3+2) might work best for me, I thought, in terms of negotiating a lower rent, and because we plan on staying for a long time and I don't want to have to move too often (not at all would be best). Am I correct in my thinking process? We are moving our entire household, so looking for semi-furnished or unfurnished. I have no taste for buying real estate property in Italy.
I don't know whether it makes a difference or not, as far as housing is concerned, but I am a French national (in addition to being a Canadian citizen), and am entering Italy in that capacity. I already have a codice fiscale issued under my French passport.
Thanks again, and a very good evening to you,
July 10, 2015, 11:50 AM
The long term contracts should be better if you are planning to be here a while... it will just be more important that you find a place you love!
Being an EU citizen should be useful in all administrative matters, make sure you stress that over the Canadian... so that you aren't seen as a foreigner to be taken advantage of Don't worry about Italian - many speak English even if it is at times elementary. You'll pick it up quickly with the French background.
If you're on Facebook, I would recommend you register on the Florence Moms network and post for help on there, I am sure you'll get more feedback as there are many foreigners on there who are here for a fixed contract who likely had the same needs (3-4 year contracts).
Here's the link to register first on the network: http://eepurl.com/rlyX9
and after that you can be added on FB to ask questions: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FMs4Ms/