Short-term rentals: stop and go in Florence, the ban no longer applies (for now)

False start with restart that of the 'battle' in Florence between property owners and the city administration over restrictions on short rentals. Here are the latest developments.

False start with restart that of the ’battle’ in Florence between property owners and the city administration following the ruling of the Regional Administrative Court of Tuscany to which the former had appealed against the resolution of a variant to the Urban Regulations that limited the possibility of short rentals within the area under Unesco protection in the historic center of Florence. The Regional Administrative Court did not rule on the merits of the measure, declaring that the interest of proceeding with the appeal had lapsed because the rule being appealed against had lapsed: ’lapsed’ in that it was not brought to a vote in the city council with the final text of the Municipal Operational Plan (approved in March but entering into force in December), that is, the administrative tool of government of the territory of urban planning forecast, from which it had been excerpted giving rise to an inconsistent same urban planning provision contained in a variant to the Urban Regulations (with prohibition).

“With the approval of the Poc,” the Tar wrote, “all prejudicial effects produced due to supervening lack of interest must be considered to have ceased.” The newly elected mayor of Florence Sara Funaro, who was an alderman in the outgoing Nardella Council that proposed the rule, lets it be known that she will continue on the path taken in recent months to reiterate the ban: “In the first useful session of the junta I will bring the approval of the variant to reiterate the stop to short rentals.”

The portal where to register one’s property in order to rent it to tourists becomes accessible again, and so for the time being, for a property owner, it is back to the situation that existed before the contested rule, that is, as in any Italian municipality, until a new measure is taken by the municipal administration, which will certainly then be passed by the counterparts who are now rejoicing. In the absence of a national law to intervene in such a field as private property and the free market, the Florentine junta had been able to juggle thanks to the reserves provided for the protection of artistic heritage, such as the center of Florence is.

The mechanism found by Mayor Dario Nardella, now elected as a member of the European Parliament, to counter the spread of this type of renting, was the establishment of a registry in which to compulsorily sign up to have the right to rent houses for short periods. That is, to tourists. To sign up for the portal, a time limit was established beyond which it was no longer permissible to sign up and consequently practice the type of rental preferred in a city of art like Florence.

Codacons and other groups of real estate owners or intermediaries (such as Codacons, Confedilizia, Property Managers Italia, Apartments Florence, ClearBnb, Colony Capital, Etesian) appealed against the new provision contained in the Urban Regulations, a resolution of October 2, 2023, and also included in the Poc brought to the City Council but which the same Council then removed from the text that went into approval precisely pending the outcome of the appeal to the Tar to the resolution. And having thus been approved without that provision, the Tar deemed outdated what was provided for in the variant to the Town Planning Regulations.

To the flood of statements stands out the official note of Airbnb, the portal that is becoming the common-name noun identifying the practice of short-term rentals, which comments positively on the Tar’s decision. Indeed, Florence turns out to be one of the portal’s most important markets around the world.

Photo: Drew Dempsey

Short-term rentals: stop and go in Florence, the ban no longer applies (for now)
Short-term rentals: stop and go in Florence, the ban no longer applies (for now)

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