Finding a home in Italy

Finding a home in Italy

by Stripes Europe Staff
Stripes Europe

It’s important to be open-minded as you search for your new home. Italian homes are much different, smaller and older than what you may be used to. Although the outside of an Italian home may seem a bit run down or small, always go in and take a look inside. More often than not, people are surprised by the layout and newer interior of the home.

TYPES OF HOUSING

Government Leased Housing

  • Private homes in the local Italian community.
  • Government covers rent and utilities.
  • No Overseas Housing Allowance.

Private Housing

  • Private homes assessed by your installation’s Housing Office or found by a realtor.
  • You are responsible for rent and utilities.
  • You will receive Overseas Housing Allowance.

 

 

Finding Private Housing:

Searching online

  • Visit www.homes.mil
  • Make an account.
  • Look for private rentals that have been approved by your Housing Office.

Note: Check the site daily as houses will come and go easily – especially during peak PCS season.

Searching with a realtor

  • More private rentals to select from than online.
  • Realtors come with fees at your expense. Usually one month’s rent and 22% tax.
  • Housing office should help you negotiate your rental contract and finalize it.

VIEWING A HOME

  • Go in-person to the Housing Office to request a day and time for viewing.
  • Homes will be put on hold.
  • You have 24 hours to contact the Housing Office with a final decision. After that, it’s up or grabs.

OVERSEAS HOUSING ALLOWANCE

Overseas Housing Allowance covers:

  • Rent - If your rent is lower than your allowance, it’s in your best interest to negotiate upgrades into your contract and pay more up to your max allowance.
  • Utility and Maintenance - If you are responsible for your utilities, you will receive the full amount to cover this bill every month.

Move-In Housing Allowance (MIHA)

  • MIHA Miscellaneous (for you) - one-time lump sum payment for items like transformers, window screens, curtains etc.
  • MIHA Paining Fee (for landlord) - equal to one month's rent and covers mandatory painting fee to the landlord. Give Housing a copy of your payment.
  • Check with your installation’s housing office for allowances to improve security in your home.

PAYING BILLS

Note: For Aviano Air Base, the Home Fuels Office may take care of electric and gas. However, not all bills can be paid through Home Fuels. Italian bills are sent around every two months and are usually due within one week. Keep a record of all rental and utility payments in case they get lost or misrouted.

Electricity

  • An interpreter from the Housing Office will take you to sign up for electricity.
  • This appointment will be scheduled on the day you sign your lease agreement.
  • An interpreter will assist you in setting up your contract in-person with the electric company.
  • Soon after signing up for electricity, you will get an initial bill and contract in the mail.
  • You must take the contract to the Housing Office and sign it.
  • The Housing Office will submit the contract on your behalf to the electric company.

Water

  • Pay your water bill through your bank.
  • If you’re living in a private rental, your water bill should go directly to your landlord.

Heating

  • Oil or natural gas are the two primary ways Italian homes are heated.
  • Utility Tax Exemption Program (UTEP) eliminates taxes on your home heating bill.

HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARRIVAL

First steps

  • Lock in a delivery date for your household goods and remember that dates book fast during the peak summer PCS season.
  • Schedule temporary furniture pick up by calling the warehouse at least three days before the day of desired pick up.
  • Once your household goods arrive, make sure every box that was shipped has arrived.
  • Mark each item off your inventory list as everything is being unloaded.

Note: August in Italy is unlikely for household goods to be delivered due to a high PCS season.

Inspect your home

So you’re not liable for damages caused by movers, it’s best to take note of the damages on your household goods paperwork. Note everything that isn’t right such as missing boxes or damaged goods. Be sure to make copies of all paperwork and take pictures of any damage.

Filing a claim

  • You have 75 days to submit a notice of loss.
  • From there, you will have nine months to submit your claim to be eligible for full replacement value.
  • Be sure to have photos and receipt purchases of your damaged goods.
  • Keep any paperwork until all claims are processed.

QUICK APPLIANCE TIPS

  • You will need a power converter/transformer to use your American electronics (110-v plug-in) in your Italian home.
  • Your installation’s Furnishing Management Office should provide transformers for free along with a washer, dryer, refrigerator, and wardrobes.
  • Check with your landlord for specifications on appliance size.

INTERNET AND HOME PHONE SERVICE

Telecom

  • Plans for international calls are available (landline to landline only).
  • Know that you will likely need to sign service contracts and may have to wait several weeks for installation depending on the provider.
  • More information can be provided by your installation’s Housing Office.

“Voice over Internet Protocol” (VoIP) service

  • Allows calling over the internet.
  • Plans are relatively inexpensive.
  • Includes domestic and international calls.

TELEVISION SERVICE

AFN (American Forces Network)

  • Provides programming from current networks and prime channels.
  • You will need a decoder and satellite for AFN when living on the Italian economy.

Satellite

  • Visit www.sky.com
  • You will need a satellite and U.K. decoder Streaming Services
  • Examples - Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, etc.
  • Show variety and availability may be limited because you are outside the U.S.

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