Italy is one of Europe's largest tourist destinations and one of the countries most affected by "overtourism." To address the issue, Italian authorities are taking measures. For example, Venice, the City of Bridges, has announced an entrance tax on day tourists, and now Florence plans to ban new Airbnb properties.
Short-term Rentals Soon to Be Banned
On September 13th, legislation was passed to prevent the establishment of new short-term rentals, such as Airbnb accommodation. The new law is expected to come into force in November.
Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, considers this measure "very important" as it addresses "an emergency of total deregulation." He believes the city has been experiencing a gradual increase in tourists, especially since the pandemic started.
Mass tourism is having a significant impact on the historic center of the city. The city council's figures reveal that 75% of short-term rentals in Florence are concentrated in just 5% of the city's territory, specifically in its historic center, which is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To promote long-term residential contracts, property owners who switch their Airbnb property to residential rentals will be exempt from property tax on the building for three years. The measures aim to safeguard Florence's World Heritage, according to the city's mayor:
"We are implementing a ban in the UNESCO area to protect the cultural and material identity of the Centro Storico. We are also minimizing the impact of rent hikes throughout the city, which are linked to the growth of short-term tourist rentals."
Airbnb Responded to the Ban
Airbnb has acknowledged the challenges faced by historic cities across Italy and has pledged to assist. Airbnb spokesperson said they proposed a clear and easy-to-follow national regulation for short-term rentals across Italy. These new regulations would ensure responsible 'home sharing' in every city and town, thus contributing to the betterment of the community.
The municipality of Florence has taken an important decision, but it's not the only city to do so. New York City has a "de facto ban" on short-term rentals where accommodations cannot be rented for less than 30 days unless the host lives there too. In addition, only two tenants are allowed at a time.
In Berlin, short-term rentals are limited to 90 days per year, while in Amsterdam, the maximum stay is 30 days per calendar year for up to four people.