Florence is to stop short-stay rentals in its UNESCO areas, Mayor Dario Nardella said on Thursday. The aim is to preserve local residence in the areas.
Florence announced it seeks a ban on new short-term private holiday rentals, such as Airbnb listings, in the Renaissance city’s historic centre. The mayor made the announcement on 31st May. A short-term rental is defined as covering any period of less than 30 days.
The measure is not retro-active, he said. Florence has around 11,000 short-term private rental properties, but Nardella said they would not target the 8,000 that already exist in the UNESCO historic centre.
The aim is to stop Airbnb and similar holiday rental companies from hollowing out the historic centre of the cradle of the Renaissance, Nardella said. He also wants to preserve local residence, at affordable prices, in those areas. As one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, Florence has seen its housing stock depleted by short-term rentals.
“If we don’t try to take politically disruptive actions, no one makes a move,” Nardella said. He was referring to expectations central government’s bill would only allow Venice to cap the number of days a property can be rented out (at 120 days).
Short-stay rentals not a new issue
The row over holiday lets has been bubbling for years. As Italy prepared for the return of tourists in 2021, Florence and Venice sent the government a decalogo. These ‘ten commandments’ highlighted issues tourist hotspots wanted resolved.
One of these was a curb on short-term rentals, which the document said encourages “the emptying out of historical centres because of the surge in costs of renting over medium- and long-term periods.”
Venice has seen its population steadily decline over the last twenty years as locals are priced out of the housing market.
There have also been recent demonstrations by students who cannot afford accommodation in university cities such as Florence.
Central government also working on short-stay bill
The government is working on a bill to impose restrictions on the short-stay holiday rental market in Italy, Ansa reports.
The aim of the bill is to stop tourism being “out of proportion” with respect to the local accommodation capacity. It also seeks to “safeguard the residential nature of city centres” and prevent local people being priced out of the housing market, a draft said.
The bill would make the owners of properties used for short-stay rentals obtain a special CIN identification code.
The owner of a property rented out without a CIN would face a fine of up to €5,000. The bill would also make it obligatory for such rental agreements to be for at least two nights in big cities, except in the case of families made up of three children and at least one parent.
Tourism Minister Daniela Santanche’ has pledged to present the bill by the end of June.