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"Venice and Florence demand a halt to AirBnB"

"Venice and Florence demand a halt to AirBnB"

Old Mar 24th, 2021, 05:24 PM
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"Venice and Florence demand a halt to AirBnB"

IMO, this has been a long time coming... It will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens.

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/v...ons/index.html
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Old Mar 24th, 2021, 05:55 PM
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Fine with me. I like airbnb but don't like crowds. So these laws will point me elsewhere where I can stay where I like & where I can afford & enjoy places I might otherwise not find. Like, for instance, Capena where I spent a week & was welcomed like a long-lost cousin. Anybody else been there?
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Old Mar 24th, 2021, 08:19 PM
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The government was planning on bringing in special tax rules on the multi property AirBnbs . With the pandemic that's all gone out of the window.

Reality is most people have been looking at pulling out of that sort of market. It's hard to pay the mortgage etc on an AirBnb that's likely been empty for most of the last year.
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Old Mar 25th, 2021, 12:19 PM
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Good.
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Old Mar 26th, 2021, 12:23 PM
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The funniest thing about that article is that the Florence and Venice mayor says they want changes, including tripling the taxes on Airbnb, to deal with the problems and the "hollowing out" of historical centers. Yet they also say as soon as pandemic restrictions on travel are lifted, their cities will be ready to host tourists again.

Predictably, the owners of hotels and B&Bs were in favor of increasing taxes on Airbnb rentals. However I thought the perspectives of relatively neutral people were interesting:

"It's more than time for Italy to regulate short-time rentals and the proposed new norms are a step in the right direction," said Valeria Duflot, co-founder of Venezia Autentica, a social enterprise in Venice.

"In order to ensure a positive impact of such regulation it would be important to incentivize long-term rentals, enforce the new rules in a visible way, and use the income coming from rental taxes for the benefit of the local community." She cited an affordable housing plan as one such use.

But she warned that the hotel sector's "constant growth" in Venice should also be capped, or the proposals would risk being seen as "an advantage for stakeholders with deep pockets and a loss for residents who are just looking to make an extra few bucks to be able to stay in their city."

A realtor who has not been involved in selling properties for tourist rentals made some good points:

Giulia Rossi of Essere a Venezia, a real estate agent in the city, also had mixed feelings.

"It's really interesting that for the first time these proposals differentiate Italy's art cities from the rest of the country," she said. "Until now, we've only ever talked about regulation at a national level, which doesn't make sense because what could be brilliant for Venice would be useless in other places. So it's clever to treat these cities differently."

Although Rossi has never facilitated tourist rentals "on principle -- seeing how they were taking root I realized how damaging they'd be for the historic center," and is against them in general, she argued that "a 360-degree approach on the entire hospitality industry" is needed.

"Otherwise you end up acting in the interest of large hotels, which transform entire buildings which were residential into hospitality blocks."

"It's right to regulate tourist rentals but we have to remember there are people who've bought properties and restored them -- restoration works that brought a load of money to the city -- on the assumption that they'd be able to earn from it. And you can't just change things from one minute to the next when people have made an investment.

"Until 10 years ago there were so many derelict apartments -- they were in pitiful condition. It was too onerous to restore them because the cost of maintenance in Venice was too high."

If regulation target only Airbnbs, it just benefits the hotels, which are richer and just as capable of causing over tourism problems, if not more so. And there are benefits to Airbnbs beyond bringing more tourists to the businesses in these cities. The incentives from short-term rentals has resulted in a lot of old apartments being renovated, when they otherwise would have been left in disrepair, uninhabitable.

So the arguments of those saying Airbnb takes away long-term rentals for residents are dubious.


Also in these pandemic times, until we have a high level of vaccination and the outbreaks of covid infections have gone way way down -- Italy is averaging 20-30k cases a day, compared to 60-70k in the US, which has at least 5 times the population -- Airbnbs are likely safer than hotels, where you must go through common areas with a lot of strangers. You also are unsure of the level of isolation between hotel rooms at a given property.

Last edited by scrb11; Mar 26th, 2021 at 12:26 PM.
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Old Mar 26th, 2021, 03:30 PM
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"So the arguments of those saying Airbnb takes away long-term rentals for residents are dubious."

I don't know about Venice, but that's what has happened in my beach town and other areas of Los Angeles which is why short-term rentals have been banned in more areas than they are allowed. We also have "zombie" houses that were purchased solely to rent out by the month (which is allowed under my town's regulations). Three months of income in the summer often pays the taxes, insurance and furniture rental for the entire year.

You can be all for AirBnB if you use them, but don't be surprised if people who live near them are all against them. We've had many threads here on this debate.
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Old Mar 26th, 2021, 07:00 PM
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Many properties on Airbnb are owned by property investors who buy up handfuls of apartments to let in Italy's cities of art. They are often the cheapest, raising prices and squeezing locals out of the market.
Doesn't sound dubious to me.

The whole reason AirBnb works as an investment is it earns more than renting out to local long term renters.
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Old Mar 26th, 2021, 10:53 PM
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The arguments are not dubious. Just try to find accommodation for a student or newly employed young worker in Amsterdam. Some neighborhoods have been taken over by tourist flats, which the local government is trying to put a stop to.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 11:23 AM
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IMO anybody who invests in real estate ANYWHERE and thinks that the local municipality “can’t just” do this or that and whenever it feels like doing so needs to GET OUT of the real estate market.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Dukey1 View Post
IMO anybody who invests in real estate ANYWHERE and thinks that the local municipality “can’t just” do this or that and whenever it feels like doing so needs to GET OUT of the real estate market.

Including changing the rules AFTER you've bought a property and then spent thousands more to renovate for a specific use?

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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 12:42 PM
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Governments can't wait until the last person buys and renovates property. They can and do change rules and regulations all the time.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
Governments can't wait until the last person buys and renovates property. They can and do change rules and regulations all the time.
People are often grandfathered in such cases.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by scrb11 View Post
People are often grandfathered in such cases.
And often not . . . But even if rental conversion renovations are grandfathered in, a city can regulate by requiring business licenses, TOT (transit occupancy tax) collection/reporting, certificates of occupancy, fire inspections. parking passes/limits, etc.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 01:12 PM
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Sure increase taxes against actual income.

but limit number of rental days and no way to recover tens of thousands in renovations.

so much better than big hotel groups dominate more of the supply of tourist accommodations then?

how does that improve the supply of long-term rentals?

in either case, prices of long term rentals in the center go up, not down.

There were complaints about the locals being priced out of the center of Florence and Venice LONG before Airbnb existed.

LONG LONG before.

problem is Airbnb IPO is seen by all while people aren’t paying attention to the stock prices of the huge international hotel chains or the private groups which own a lot of boutique or regional chains in Europe.

Airbnb is a convenient American scapegoat for over tourism in Italy. Europeans can’t stand that an American company is making a lot of money in European cities, though not as much as the hotels.

I like the B&B culture in Italy but those aren’t reducing long term housing stock, oh no.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 03:02 PM
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I feel like we've had the STR debate over and over again. As I said, if you use AirBnB, you're in favor of the STR concept and may not realize the local impacts. If you reside near one or more, you may live with the impact daily or see the way STRs have changed your town and have a very different view.

I'll let the Italians argue their case for/against STRs as they know better than we do the effects on particular towns and the housing stock. There is a lot of sky between unregulated STRs and a total ban, and I hope they can create some protections for these unique and historic neighborhoods.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 03:38 PM
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Jean: Give it up -- airbnb acolytes will never admit how intrusive its become. (back when there were just vrbo etc, plus smaller local agencies and one-off owners it was so much better IMO/IME. A few STRs scattered around didn't seem to cause the same sort of mayhem. Now with the airbnb gorilla in the room it has sort of ruined it for everybody.)
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 05:30 PM
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Jean: "As I said, if you use AirBnB, you're in favor of the STR concept and may not realize the local impacts."

A user of Airbnb since the beginning & a host for a time, I realize perfectly well it's success has become a burden in a number of places and should be regulated in those places for the sake of residents. Certainly there are oblivious users, as there are in segments of the tourist industry in general. The popularity of economical STRs is a relatively new addition to the whole travel landscape, a legitimate alternative to hotels & everyone involved must work on the issue so they find their proper level in communities of all kinds.

Last edited by MmePerdu; Mar 27th, 2021 at 05:47 PM.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 05:55 PM
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STRs are not new. You can search here back to the '90s and you will see people recommending that people rent vacation apartments in the '90s rather than hotels.

This was even before websites became very common. Back then you'd have to book and wire money as well as fax your personal information overseas. Or do it by mail.

So you weren't charring your credit cards either, instead had to wire money.

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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 06:02 PM
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No, STRs aren't altogether new but as I tried to make clear, their popularity in the numbers as they now exist, along with many being economical & easy to book is a relatively new phenomenon.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 06:21 PM
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Airbnb website was a lot better than the old VRBO and a few apartment agency sites in places like Paris and so on.

But Airbnb got a lot of press, like they came up with the idea of STRs or they never existed before.

They took hold in a place like NYC because the hotel product there has been overpriced and poor for a long time -- you were paying $300 a night for a grungy dump and you'd get bed bugs on top of it.

So of course instead of going to these quirky websites that some owners put together, Airbnb was going to get a lot of traction.
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