Rental diaries, vol. 8

Rental diaries, vol. 8

Fri 02 Feb 2018 9:43 AM

If you rent in Florence but don’t expect to live your entire life in one palazzo, you will probably one day navigate the hurdles of early withdrawal from a housing contract.




One of these is pinning down a takeover tenant. The landlord, if amenable to your departure request, will delegate this task to you. It’s fair enough, functioning as your “payment” for leaving sooner than you said you would.


Finding a takeover tenant will seem easy. Particularly if your apartment is well-priced, attractive and in a desirable location. But if it is all those things (in Florence, no less), you aren’t moving.


Things will initially look promising. Friends will express enthusiasm for the room/flat/converted garage you’re vacating. But once prompted to actually commit, their interest will prove as empty as the chorus of “Ci vediamo presto”’s sung among acquaintances at gatherings with free buffets.


This author got lucky. (So I thought.) My roommate fatigue flared up right as a friend decided she couldn’t remain in her expensive (one bed)Room with a view. We’d pull off the perfect switch, Strangers on a Train style.

In retrospect it could only have been perfect if she’d been a stranger, period. Passing your place to a friend is the real estate equivalent of a lotus birth. Once-minor house issues are bound to snowball, and the guilt for getting out while you could will then creep in. Remotely invested in someone’s happiness? He or she shouldn’t be your takeover tenant.

It’s not the Christian approach, perhaps, but there was that whole bit about showing hospitality to strangers. Just go ahead and hand the entire house over to them.




Rental Diaries column by Mary Gray is now a book, buy it directly or on

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