I went to the Camera di Commercio (Chamber of Commerce) this morning to see another friend's friend who works in the Ufficio arbitrato (Arbitration office) to have a look at my contratto di locazione (rental agreement) that I signed for my current apartment. I was told that it's not legal to not have a disdetta (notice to leave) on it and that quite possibly, it might be null and void.
I sat in the sala d'attesa (waiting room) for almost an hour and was so nervous that I had to stand up most of the time. It's always a bit scary going to talk to someone about something that I'm not so certain about. I have already learned a bunch of new legal jargon that I never thought I'd need to know, and found out many things about contratti (contracts) that now I refuse to sign anything on the spot.
When I was finally called in, my friend's friend, asked me, "Cosa č il problema?" (What's the problem?). I pulled out the contratto di locazione and explained that neither of the two agencies (the one who drew up the contract or the one who represented me) ever told me that there was no disdetta. I had asked about it verbally and they said that I could give one month notice. Of course, now that is all hearsay. "Sono furbetti," (They're sly), he said after I told him that there wasn't a disdetta in the contratto di locazione at all.
An avvocato (lawyer) was sitting with us and he was carefully reading over the contract. While he was doing so, my friend's friend, whom I believe is the capo (head) of the department, asked me a few questions.
I told him as much as I could and sometimes probably told him too much. I told him that I was separated and that I couldn't afford the rent of my place, so I had to find a new place. When I told him that Dave went back to the US, he said, "Ma te stai ancora qui parmi noi, vero?" (But, you're staying here with us, right?) To which I responded, "Certo!" (Of course!) I explained that I found another apartment, right next to the Camera di Commercio, to which he said, "Vieni a trovarci ogni tanto." (Come by to see us once in a while.)
I also mentioned that both agencies showed me apartments to purchase, which means that I obviously would need a disdetta because if I found something, I'd move out as quickly as possible.
The avvocato made a photocopy of the contratto di locazione and said that he needed to study it a bit more. He asked me to come back in next Monday and they'll let me know if I have a case. The capo said, "Di solito il nostro ufficio non da consigli, ma visto che sei l'amica della mia amica, lo facciamo." (Normally, our office doesn't give advice, but seeing as though you're the friend of my friend, we'll do it.)
I told him that it's not like me to want to make a formal complaint about anyone, but I just said it wasn't fair of them to keep the fact that there was no disdetta a secret from me. I didn't even see my contratto di locazione until I walked down to the agency to pick it up myself a few months ago. It all began to seem dishonest in my mind.
The capo said, "A volte, la gente vuole fregare lo straniero...e mi sa che l'hanno fatto." (Sometimes people want to gyp the foreigner...and it seems that they did.) I don't like thinking that they did this to me because I am a straniera. I think people want to rip people off because they think they can. It's unfortunate that it happened. I am fortunate in that I will be getting out of my current contratto di locazione before the end, which is supposed to be November 30th. It just bothers me that if no new inquilini (renters) were found, I'd have to pay until the end of my contratto di locazione.
Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!