Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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Technically speaking, all rental agreements must be formalized by a legal contract between owner and tenant. That said, some landlords are quite creative as far as bureaucracy is concerned and you may or may not be offered a rental contract. Usually the fee for officially registering the contract is divided between owner and tenant.

Your landlord may ask you if you object to registering a lower rental amount than what is actually being paid, in order to pay fewer taxes. This is not uncommon, as taxes are determined by the amount the landlord declares on the legal contract governing rental of the property. You will have no way of ever proving that you paid the higher amount should it become an issue, as all of your rent receipts will demonstrate a lesser amount. This system also poses some risk to the landlord, as there are people who decide to accept such terms and then begin paying the lesser official rate. When that happens, there isn’t a lot the landlord can do.

Some landlords avoid paying taxes at all by renting out without a contract. This is called renting in nero (under the table). You might decide that this is fine with you, as you have more flexibility without the contract and the rent is undoubtedly lower than it would be otherwise. Nevertheless, remember that renting without a contract is illegal. It is legal, however, to lend an apartment to a friend, mistress or other acquaintance. In this case, a landlord might request that if anyone ask, you say you are a personal friend. Decide in advance what your comfort level is as far as these alternative arrangements are concerned.