So, the time has come to leave Italy – maybe your assignment here has finished, or you may have decided to move somewhere else. In either case, certain steps must be taken to wind down your life in Italy to avoid having to deal with issues long after you leave, if your departure is not planned correctly.
The following steps indicated below will assist you to leave Italy without having too many challenges or having to possibly return to Italy to close out your life here, at some later point.
Notice Letter – By law, the notice period in long-term rental contracts in Italy is six months, however, when you signed your contract, you may have had a diplomatic clause negotiated on your behalf, which means that the notice period is three months, instead of six. If you are planning on leaving Italy soon, please check your contract to see exactly what the notice period is. Notice letters in Italy must be sent to the landlord by recorded mail. Emails and regular mail do not count. Some of the most contentious departures that I have assisted with have been where the tenant claimed that the landlord was a “friend” and everything would go fine. I prefer to do things well when it comes to business, and let’s face it, the paying of rent is a business transaction! Therefore, send your notice letter to the landlord by recorded mail. The date in which the letter was mailed is the date that counts with regards to when the notice period starts. Also, make sure that you keep the receipt of the mailing of the letter from the Post Office safe – it may save you a lot of headaches later! When the deposit is returned depends on various factors, especially if there are dilapidations, and needs to be looked at on case-by-case basis.
Mail Forwarding – The Italian Post Office offers a limited mail forwarding service that can be activated approximately one month before leaving. It is important to note that this service only covers regular mail – recorded mail deliveries, packages, magazine subscriptions, official communications, and Telegrams will not be forwarded. This is not a free service and various fees are charged depending on whether the mail is being forward within Italy or aboard. The service can be purchased for three, six, or twelve-month periods.
Utility Cancellation – In Italy, each utility company has their own cancelation process and procedures, and the time that it takes to close out an account can vary greatly from one company to another. Utility companies in Italy will continue to bill you for their service until the account has been officially closed. It is also very important to note that if you have any unpaid bills, the utility company will not close your account, so please make sure that you don’t have any outstanding bills before closing out your utilities.
Paid TV Subscriptions – These providers, in Italy, require 45 – 60 days to close your account from the date in which they receive the cancellation letter. Please note that this needs to be sent by recorded mail – again, make sure that you keep the Post Office receipt safe. You are personally responsible to return to the relevant service provider any decoders, remote controls, cables, or instruction manuals that were given to you at the beginning of the contract. The material that you are returning should also be listed in the cancellation letter. Any materials and/or equipment that are not returned, or are returned damaged, will be billed.
Telepass – If you have a Telepass subscription, any equipment, along with the relevant cancellation letter, should be handed in at the appropriate sales point.
Landline / Mobile Phone Service – Most of these service providers require 45 – 60 days to close out your account from the time they receive your cancellation letter. Again, any unpaid bills will delay considerably the closing of your account and you will continue to be billed in the meantime. You are personally responsible to return to the relevant service provider any equipment that was given to you at the beginning of the contract. Any equipment that is not returned, or is returned damaged, will be billed.
Garbage Tax – This tax also needs to be canceled before you leave Italy. Unfortunately, it can take up to a year, or longer in certain cases, for the last Garbage tax bill to be generated, so you will need to leave your back account open to cover this bill.
Bank Account – Closing your bank account in Italy will require you to go in person. As your final utility bills will take some time to arrive, you will need to leave your account open with sufficient funds to cover these bills. While closing your account at the bank, you will need to find out how you can close your account permanently from abroad, once all the final bills have been paid. At the time of closing your account all credit and debit cards will need to be handed back to the bank. Depending on what type of account you opened, closing charges may be applied.
Work Permit – If you are in possession of a Work Permit for Italy, you will need to cancel this with the relevant authorities before leaving Italy.
Deregistration at The Town Hall –If you are an Italian resident, you will need to deregister yourself and all your family members from the relevant Town Hall. If you are in possession of an Italian ID card, this will also need to be handed back at the time of your deregistration.
Leaving Italy, especially if you don’t have any documentation from when you moved into your property, can present several obstacles and some challenging issues. Therefore, should you require any assistance with your departure, please feel free to contact me.