To give yourself the best possible chance of getting a decent place in a nice location for a reasonable price, you need to start looking early. Cheap housing in Milan is possible (depending on your expectations) but cheap rooms are also the quickest to get snatched up! It’s best to get looking two, three or even four months before leaving the country, even if it’s only to give yourself a good idea of the market.
The good thing about going through a letting agency is a guarantee that the flat exists, is in a livable condition and so on. The downside is that it costs a lot more and, depending on the agency, there can be spurious extra charges which add up to a huge bill.
A better idea is to go online and try to find either a private landlord or student house with a spare room. A private landlord is one who owns a property and manages the tenants themselves - they usually will charge you the rent and a security deposit, but nothing more. You can talk directly, haggle or come to agreements without a third party.
By "student house" I mean an apartment which has also been rented by a group of students (or professionals), one of whom is going travelling/graduating/leaving Milan. Our Housing Anywhere Milan search is a great tool for finding quality, vetted student rooms across Milan. We use a secure booking system so if you find a good-looking room a few months in advance, you can nail it down then and there! However, if you’ve been misled at all by the advert, you will get your money back, no debate.
Not really. There are areas like Citta Studi which are popular among young expats and internationals, being close to universities and student housing. Porta Venezia has the best nightlife (well, the best budget nightlife!) while Rogoredo or Quarto Oggiaro are further from the city centre, but have much cheaper accommodation. What I recommend is moving out to Milan a bit before uni starts to get a feel for the city and then focus your decision on those first impressions.
It’s probably fair to say that while Italians are known for wild gesticulation and romance, they are also somewhat associated with laziness and fraud… Most adverts you see from reputable websites will be completely trustworthy, but there are scam artists out there.
Always sign a contract before making a payment or any commitments.
Read the contract front-to-back before signing. There could be clauses or charges hidden within which you haven’t been told.
Rental prices in Milan are expensive, and there’s not really an easy way to get around that. You’re probably looking at €700 a month on rent, with utility bills and internet on top of that. You can find places as cheaply as €400-450 per month, but it will be a shared room in studio, which doesn’t appeal to the vast majority of people who need at least some space.
Of course you can go outside the city and it gets cheaper, but you’d have to go really far to get away from the €600-700 monthly price tag. The cost of living is generally high in Milan so you’ll need to make sure you’re financially prepared for the trip before committing and accepting a place to a university in Milan.
In an ideal world, you’ll use Housing Anywhere to locate a flat securely before you make the trip to Milan.
However, if you don’t have a room arranged in advance, we recommend booking a hostel for a couple of weeks. This should give you time to look for flats, as well as getting to know the city a little. You can see which areas you like, or dislike, and if there are plenty of options, become a little choose-y!