Rome: Renting an Apartment Long-Term

New Yorkers have a notoriously difficult time finding apartments that match their needs and the size of their wallets. That might be why The New York Times chose to chronicle a young American couple and their four-year quest to find the perfect Rome apartment rental.

Sienna Reid, her husband Yves Jacques and their son Marcel started out living in Castelli Romani, the suburbs south of Rome. They loved their homes terrace and the views it afforded but the commute to Rome could be an hour or more. They set out to find an apartment in the center of Rome with some outdoor space. Little did they know how tough it would be.

From 2000 to about 2005, said Benedetta Barendson, a real estate agent with the Rome-based agency Studio Ruzzetti, “apartments with terraces in the city barely even came on the market. Everyone wants a terrace and, in that period, the owners could ask almost any price and get it rented within a day.”

It took a few years but Reid especially did not give up. From a classified ad, she found a wonderful apartment with a 215-square-foot terrace.

“It’s made a complete difference in how we live in Rome,” Ms. Reid said. “It really feels like the country. I grow fruit trees, herbs and roses. And I’ve realized there is a whole other world up there. I can chat with my neighbors on the other terraces; it’s like being in a village. But without the commute!”

No word on exactly what Reid pays in rent but real estate agent Barendson says a similar 1,900- square-f00t unit with terrace now costs “5,000 to 5,600 euros ($7,343 to $8,224) a month.” Americans who want to live in Rome shouldn’t be discouraged though. There are more apartments on the market now and American tenants (Italy has notoriously strict rental laws when Italians rent) are in demand.

“The ‘perfect Americans’ that every owner hopes to find, aren’t there any more due to the low dollar,” Ms. Barendson said. “Rental prices are slowly coming down, so at the moment you can actually find great places, and I would always suggest bargaining these days.”

Issue: Dream of Italy’s Special Report: Rome
Issue: Dream of Italy’s Special Report: Living the Dream (Moving to Italy)
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