Last week we watched several videos of famous Italian youtubers, and almost all of them were suggesting Facebook Groups as the best tool to find a place where to stay in Milan. As usual they said the real estate agencies are not offering a real professional service, not talking about the so called "consulting firms" charging you to have a list of landlords and wasting, at the end your time and the money spent.
Facebook groups allow you to interact with people seeing who they are and eventually being able to ask for references to people you both know. There's a great transparency, and the more the tools is used the easier becomes finding a decent flat where to stay when you come for your job or stuies in Milan.
We do not want to put any effort in defending our category of realtors, but we wish to stress that FB groups are a great tool ONLY for particular type of rents, we dedicate this post to stress it.
If you come to Milan for a few weeks or several months, ideally to attend one semester in a particular university, being able to get into contact with a owner and / or tenant of an available flat for that period is awesome: you do not spend a penny for intermediation fees, you are in direct contact with the "owner" and you maybe get a better price relative the ones shown on AirBNB as the deal is closed "informally", not declaring any income to the tax authority.
The big issue, and this is the reason why we do not suggest FB groups for long term rents, is when you need to stay in Milan for longer, or something happens during your stay. With a formal real estate contract, let's say a 4+4 we usually adopt, you do not have to worry about anything, the law assures you'll be able to stay in the property till you'll have presented a notice. But what happens if the guy you deal with is a tenat of the flat and in the months you stay in the property did not pass on your money to the official landlord? Big trouble, you risk to be kicked out and pay exorbitant rates for the remaining period you stay in the city.
Our suggestion in order to decrease, at least, these risks: always ask the person you speak with if she is or not the owner of the flat. If she is, please ask her to send you the "visura catastale" of the property showing her name, if she isn't ask - at least by email - to be put in contact with the owner renting the place, letting her know you will be staying there for n months instead of the "official" tenant listed on the rental contract. Transparency always pays off.
To share your experiences please feel free to send your emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org