Residents evicted from homes in Florence due to vacation rental expansion

Italy: Almost 500 people have been evicted from their homes in Florence in less than nine months as landlords are creating space for vacation rental accommodation, according to Italy’s tenant union.

La Nazione reported 478 residents were evicted from their lifelong homes in the city between October 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018. The Italian national union of tenants, Sunia, said from its local branch that many of the landlords stated explicitly that they wanted vacation rentals in those buildings in place of their homes.

In 2014, there were reportedly 4,659 short-term vacation rentals in the Italian city but by 2017, that figure had risen sharply to 18,000.

University of Siena researchers now believe 20 per cent of all homes in the city’s historic centre are now situated on holiday rental sites for exclusive use by tourists. This represents the highest proportion of vacation rentals in any Italian city.

Sunia estimates that around 1,000 Florentines are being forced to leave the city centre every year to find another home due to either eviction or finances.

There are currently no strict regulations on holiday rentals in Italy, unlike in Spain and in particular Madrid and Valencia where regional governments have banned some short-term accommodation, including Airbnb, from the respective historic city centres.

However, last year, a “tourist tax” on holiday rentals was put in place across Florence, meaning the city now stands to make up to €3 per night for each visitor that books a homestay.

Meanwhile, the city has passed a ruling which forbids people eating on four historic streets in the centre and tourists caught breaking this law could face fines of up to €500.

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