We are to tell you an sad but real truth: you will not be able to find online a good deal on the rental market in Milan.
You were not extremely smart and swift in taking the phone number of the German, or English or Nigerian lady who is renting her wonderful flat in front of a central metro station at a price comparable of a smaller flat in the suburbs, you are just th nth guy falling to a scam that is decimating hundreds of people in Milan.
It works like this. The scammer publish few nice pictures of a lovely one or two bedrooms in a major real estate portal like Immobiliare.it or Idealista.
They even indicate the exact address, so to give more reality to the ad, Via Della Moscova 68, eventually providing also a couple of pictures of the building.
They more naife ones publich the ad as private owners, giving an email, more rarely a phone number, the smartest pubish the ad with a fictitious name "faking" a brand known by the internet user, the last one we saw was "Homeaway".
The gullible user falls in love with the house and contacts the scammer, the scammer answers, of course, that there's a lot of interest around the flat, but being currently abroad, he's not able to show the property in person. SHe suggests to send the deposit money, usually 2 months rent - better than the usual standard of three - in order to secure it for when they come back. Of course if the house will not meet the expectations, the money will be given back.
As soon as the wire transfer leaves the gullible's account, the scammer disappearsa, together with his ad ... hunting for new idiots believing in incredible deals available online.
We are not here to make fun of the people falling victims for these scams, but to come up with few rules to follow not to waste money anymore, feeling culprit for it.
1 - There are deals around in the market, meaning nice flats being rented out for less than their current market value, but these deals are usually on a word of mouth basis, they are never published online being available to everybody. As Milan presents a liquid and transparent renatl market, with thousands of properties offered for rent, be careful about properties, nice ones, being offered far below market rate ... something fishy going on there for sure!
2 - No serious landlord, in Italy, would rent his flat long term to a tenant he has not met in person, the law is very weak fir the landlord, knowing who you put in your property is of paramount importance. So if they offer to give you their flat just for a couple of months of rent... it's most likely a scam
3 - Homeaway, AirBNB, Housinganywhere etc ... are all legit businesses but they operate with their own websites, they would never publish their offers of open real estate portals bringing them the internet flow they wish to keep for themselves. If you find an ad that "seems" coming from one of these big names, please check on their main website the real existence of the property for rent, most likely you'll find nothing similar to it.
We were shocked when the policeman told us that they receive ten information of felonies a day regarding scams related to renatl ads, this situation has to stop now, and the best thing to make it stop is changing your own behavior: stop hoping and start thinking !
Please share with us your bad experiences with real estate scams, sending us your emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org