Everyone must be free to decide how to generate income from their property. I don’t think it’s the State that should ethically decide what you want to do with your apartments. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Matteo Salvini, draws an (easy) round of applause at the Confbuilding conference, organized in Piacenza on 23 September, while underlining that private property is sacred and it is not the State’s task to decide whether you have to rent in the short term , in the medium or long term. We are in a free country, comments the leader of the League. Words of common sense are the comments from Confedilizia. But the short-term rental market is a sector that continues to grow in importance and fuels competition with hotels (in the tourism sector) and with long-term rentals on the real estate market. It is a problem that can hardly be resolved with an appeal to the freedom to do as one wishes. For this reason the government has decided to change pace: in fact, on the evening of Thursday 21 September the provisional outline of the measure was circulated which contains the most urgent provisions to be applied to regulate this sector.
Salvini against Santanch
If on the one hand, the deputy prime minister calls from Piacenza for a rental market free from rules, on the other – that is, in the latest version of the text drawn up by the Ministry of Tourism led by Daniela Santanch, and which should arrive on the table of the Council of Ministers Monday 25 September – it is clarified that the rental contract for tourist purposes concerning one or more properties for residential use, in the capital municipalities of metropolitan cities, cannot have a duration of less than two consecutive nights, except for the case in where the tenant consists of a family unit with at least three children. In this case, the applause came from the hotel sector, which has long denounced “unfair” competition, in particular from the service offered by online platforms, such as Airbnb and Booking.com.
What does the bill provide?
Therefore, if the Council of Ministers gives its approval, for one-night tourist stays in Italy the only possible solution will be to resort to a traditional accommodation facility (unless the tourists are a large family). In addition to the introduction of an identification code for each real estate unit, action is also taken on the limit of apartments that the same owner can allocate to short-term rentals (less than 30 nights): if there are no changes to the bill, the roof will be increased to two properties . From three properties onwards the rental will be considered an economic activity and, therefore, the owner will have to open a VAT number.
A business with almost 40 million nights
The numbers show that short-term rental has become an attractive business for property owners: in Italy in 2023, compared to 2022, the data show a notable increase, equal to 73% of bookings and 70% of occupied nights. As Eurostat certified, during the 2022 summer season, over 38 million nights were booked in Italy through the major online platforms, with an increase of 6.7% compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic). the third highest figure in the European Union after those of France (over 58 million) and Spain (around 45 million). The reason for this phenomenon is simple: with short-term rent the owner earns more and avoids the risk of renting to a tenant who then perhaps doesn’t pay or who is difficult to send away. Not to mention that with short-term rent the rent arrives every time before the beneficiary enters the apartment.
The New York case
But Italy is not the only one wanting to put the brakes on. New York has introduced very stringent regulations: no rentals of entire apartments for a period of less than 30 days, unless the owner himself lives in the house, that is, only a room inserted in a larger and more spacious environment can be rented. shared and there cannot be more than two guests. Anyone who does not register as a host at the specific offices risks fines of up to 5 thousand dollars.
The EU regulation
Meanwhile, last spring, the Council of the European Union agreed on its position on a regulation that provides for greater transparency for online platforms, without bringing any news on measures to combat the high rents generated by the platforms themselves. The legislation will oblige the owners of rented apartments to register in a public register (similar to the identification code created by the Ministry of Tourism) and show their membership number to future customers. The platforms, however, will be required to provide local administrations with the number of nights and guests who have used their services on a monthly basis. That’s all. And so, the EU countries still move in no particular order.
From Paris to Barcelona…
In Paris, those who want to rent out their main residence on a platform like Airbnb must register with the city hall and rent for a maximum of 120 days a year. If you exceed this ceiling or if it is a second home, you must necessarily convert it into a furnished accommodation facility. The city even has a dedicated unit to hunt down illegal rentals and trespassers. Berlin had also introduced a ban on Airbnb, which was later revoked, but strict rules remain, enforced with heavy fines. For example, second homes can be rented for up to 90 days per year. In Monaco, however, short-term rentals are limited to eight weeks per year. Portugal, on the other hand, has decided to no longer distribute Airbnb licenses in cities. But the first European city to ban the rental of short-term rooms was Barcelona in 2021: the minimum 31 days.
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24 Sep 2023
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