Photo Credit: Ahmed Mansour
Florence To Ban Airbnb To Encourage Permanent Residence
To curb the proliferation of Airbnb and similar short-term rental platforms, the picturesque city of Florence in Italy has joined a number of other European cities in implementing measures to ban residential properties in its historic center from being used for short-term rentals, Reuters reported on June 2. Mayor Dario Nardella recently made an announcement stating that no new permits for Airbnb and similar rentals will be issued. It’s important to note that this policy does not apply retroactively, which means that existing short-term rentals will remain available for the time being.
As Florence continues to attract an increasing number of tourists and focuses on post-Covid recovery efforts, visitors who were planning to stay for only a few days will now have to seek alternative accommodations outside the city center.
The main objective of this policy is to address Florence’s persistent issue of a shortage of affordable housing. In recent decades, the city center has witnessed the conversion of numerous buildings into short-term rentals such as Airbnbs, making it increasingly challenging for locals to find housing they can afford.
Supporting the Decision To Ban Airbnbs
According to the Mayor EU, the decision to restrict short-term rentals has received support from the Italian hospitality industry trade group Federalberghi. Francesco Bechi, the president of the Florence branch, has expressed his appreciation for the policy, highlighting that it will not only alleviate the housing crisis but also contribute to the revitalization of a crucial aspect of the city’s history: its community life.
Bechi hopes that this move will serve as a signal to the federal government, encouraging them to take similar action nationwide. He also remarked that the proposed national government measure, which suggests implementing a minimum two-night stay rule, may not yield the desired results.
Apart from Florence, other prominent European cities including Lisbon, Paris, and Barcelona have also implemented restrictions on short-term rentals to prioritize housing for local residents in need of permanent accommodations. These measures are part of a broader effort to balance the economic benefits of tourism with the preservation of affordable housing and the local community’s well-being.