Florence and Venice call for stricter rental restrictions

Italy: The Italian cities of Florence and Venice presented a joint manifesto to the country’s government outlining their plans for the future of tourism in Italy, including imposing tighter restrictions on Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms .

A joint “Decalogo” – translated as the Ten Commandments – sent by the two cities to the Italian government proposed to restrict short-term rental activities. Florence and Venice have fought back against perceived “over-tourism” before the pandemic and see the opening up of the tourism industry as an opportunity to reset it.

Translated from Italian, the document said: “The phenomenon of short-term rentals must be better managed with clearer rules at national level.”

He added that some people are “hiding a business behind a rental”, a hint that short-term rentals pay significantly less tax than other types of accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and guesthouses. hotels. [21 per cent compared to 60 per cent].

The Décalogo went further, stating that rentals were driving people out of the historic centers of cities like Florence and Venice because the cost of renting kept rising.

“This deepening, perhaps not so visible until now, and perhaps underestimated, is now clear to everyone – especially in cities like Florence and Venice,” the report adds.

Presenting their proposals, the cities urged the Italian government to qualify “holiday rentals” as those rented for less than 30 days at a time and to impose a 90-day annual limit on the length of short-term rentals that can be rented for the tourism. purposes. Owners would also be barred from operating more than two vacation rentals in the same city, otherwise they would have to register as a business and pay higher taxes as a result.

Other major European cities, including Barcelona, ​​Paris, Amsterdam and Prague, have taken significant steps to combat what they see as ‘overtourism’ by restricting or even banning rentals in certain areas, with some locals saying that ‘they are marginalized from city centres. due to rising rental prices.

In response, an Airbnb spokesperson told CNN, “Travel is changing – in the last quarter of 2020, more guests stayed in Sicily than in Florence and Venice combined – and we look forward to working with cities to help local economies rebound. Leaders in Florence and Venice have made it clear that they support ordinary people sharing their homes and we look forward to working together on a way forward that supports families and communities.

Other initiatives suggested under the Décalogo include regulating guided tours, imposing tougher penalties on those who damage historic artifacts and property, creating so-called “intelligent control rooms” to monitor the flow of tourists entering the two cities and the increase in prices. for public transport.

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