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Reserving a room or an apartment in Italy

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Reserving a room or an apartment in Italy

Old Mar 30th, 2019, 11:32 PM
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Reserving a room or an apartment in Italy

Once, actually not so many years ago, there were almost only hotels. When one was making a reservation, there was no dount about what was reserved.
In the recent years things changed. Let's see how they did change in Italy.
Hotels are still there, do not worry! But today one can stay in other types of properties.
It may be useful to understand where one is going to stay because there are important differences.
First of all there is the extra-alberghiero (extra hote) business. It includes:
  • bed & breakfasts
  • guest house (affittacamere in Italian)
  • houses for vacations
All of them are located in an apartment, in a b&b or in a gust house one is going to rent a room, while the house for vacations is rented as a whole. In a b&b ilithe owner is normally living in the same apartment and breakfast is always included. Periodic cleaning is also included as well as linen change.
Even if one will not find a 24/24 hours reception, please remember always to provide your arrival time, this business is following the same rules of a hotel.
Apart from those, there are also short rentals (affitto turistico - affitto breve - locazione turistica - locazione breve in Italian) that are most of the listings published on Airbnb. That category follows the ruse of rentals, no matter if long or short.
Even if the differences are not clear when reserving on Airbnb, or any other site, they exist and are very important.
Let's see them

Hotels, b&b's, guest houses and houses for vacations
  • A confirmed reservation is a valid contract and therefore the host is obliged to accomodate the guest. If the room/apartment is, for any reason, not available, the host must find an equivalent or better accomodation and pay all the difference and the transfer expenses
  • The accomodation is covered by an insurance. For example, should the guest fall in the shower and should hospitalization be required, insurance will pay unless there is a clear respnsibility by the guest side
  • The accomodation must comply with safety standards as defined by the law
  • Those properties operate with a special authorization (licence or SCIA) by the local administration.
Short rentals
  • Reservation is not a valid contract, it's just a promise to rent
    • Should the accomodation not be available, the host has no legal obligation to find an alternative. The host must only give back the money that was cashed in advance plus anequivalent amount.
    • The host has no legal obligation to give to the guest what has been reserved. The host could simply say "I do not like your mood so you cannot enter to my home"
    • At the arrival it is mandatory to sign, in original, a valid reltal contract. In its absence the guest could be considered an illegal occupant of the property.
  • The guest is fully liable for whatever happens in the property with few exceptions (hidden fix installations, e.g. water piping inside the walls)
  • There is no insurance covering damages or medical assistance.
  • It is supposed that the guest will check the compliance with the safety standards before getting in and will accept the status at the moment of the signature of the contract.
  • Short rentals have no special authorization
Let's make an example of something that could go wrong. Suupose that a guest is using the hairdryer and, because of a short circuit of that piece of equipment, a fire is damaging the property. In a hotel or in a b&b, unless there is a clear evidence of negligence by the guest, the guest will not be liable for the accident. In a short rental the guest is fully liable, unless there is an evidence against the host.

Summary

Whenever reserving a room or apartment it is important to check which type of property one is going to reserve. That should normally be reported in the listing. In the case of short rentals it is important to get the contract signed by the owner or by the person that is operating on behalf of the owner.
The contract should also include the discharge of responsibility so that the guest is obliged to pay damages only in the case of negligence.
Personally, when traveling abroad I would never select a short rental but I would prefer a hotel or any property that follows the same regulations. The regulations for hotels are more or less the same everywhere in the world, regulations for rentals might be very different.
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