Q Question: What are the requirements for a lease agreement for the Italian Elective Residence Visa application ?
A Answer: Based on our experience and practice of many similar cases and the review of policies of many Italian Consulate offices around the world, we have prepared a checklist to refer to when looking for a property to rent in Italy for the purposes of the Italian Elective Residence Visa application as follows:
1) Tenant information: name, place of birth, date of birth and Italian tax code (codice fiscale) of each visa applicant shall be expressly listed in the lease agreement as a tenant. For example, in the event of a married couple that is applying for an elective residence visa, if only one spouse’s name is on the lease agreement with the specification that the property is rented to him/her along with his/her spouse (without the explicit spouse’s information) the Consulate might deny the visa, even if a marriage certificate is submitted to the Consulate. The same applies to children, if any: all children information shall be expressly included in the property lease agreement.
(i) Start Date: the lease start date shall be the same as the arrival date in Italy (or earlier), as indicated on the visa application form;
(ii) End Date: Shall be at least one year after the first arrival in Italy. The longer the term, the better. The standard residential lease term in Italy is four years. However, often visa applicant have the plan to eventually buy their property, a year or so after they settle in Italy. Therefore often elective residence visa applicant wish to sign just a 12-month lease agreement. If the lease agreement duration is less than four years, for example with the intention to eventually buy a property, it is customary (and often favorably considered by the Consulate) setting out in the lease agreement that the reason for a shorter term is that the tenant is going to look for a property to buy.
3) Deposit: It is customary for Italian landlords to expect a deposit payment at signing. Although there is no Consulate requirement as to the amount, it is advisable to make the payment through a traceable method, e.g., via bank transfer or bank check/cheque, so that you can provide the Consulate with evidence of payment.
4) Termination clause:
(i) Visa Denial Termination Clause: It is customary to agree in the lease agreement that, should the visa be denied, the contract shall terminate early. The parties can agree on the deposit (or a portion of it) to be retained by the landlord for this event.
(ii) Property Purchase: It is advisable to add a term allowing the tenant to break the lease early and/or with shorter notice if the tenant wishes to buy a property.
5) Lease Agreement registration: In Italy it is mandatory to file the signed lease agreement with the local tax office for registration. In most cases registration is not subject to registration taxes. When a professional intermediary is involved, like a real estate agent, he/she shall assist with the registration and provide you with a copy of it. The Consulate requires that, when you file the signed lease agreement as proof of housing, you also file the registration receipt, as evidence of properly completed registration. Therefore, you shall file with the Consulate the original signed lease agreement bearing tenant and landlord signatures along with the registration receipt. Most Consulates also accept just a photocopy.
Once you find the property that you would like to rent and after you have informally discussed the lease terms with the landlord and/or the owner, please feel free to forward us a draft for our comments. We include in our service a review of the lease agreement for the purposes of the requirements of the visa application. We also handle the lease agreement registration with the competent tax office. Upon request we would also be glad to advise you in general about the legal terms of the draft lease agreement as well.
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