Tourist Rentals: Business Or Not?

Those who own houses that stay empty for the majority of the year can rent them out to tourists.

The region of Lombardy has already sniffed out the deal and has allowed the phenomenon to take off, but elsewhere suspicion reigns, with the legal draft now ready.

Tourism 2.0 is all about rentals. At one time tourist rentals were done on a much more ad hoc basis, but because of the evolution of the phenomenon, it has become a lucrative market.

As mentioned above, it has therefore become subject to regulations.

Owning a second home and leaving it practically empty is a real waste if, for short periods, it could be adapted to host visitors who have not found space elsewhere.

Moreover, a healthy percentage of available housing is owned by foreigners through inheritance or investments.

In the last few years, foreigners have invested a lot in the Italian real estate market and, according to sector studies, 2016 finished with a substantial +53.89% (report by

Whether they are unused or exploited for short periods, owning a house means the payment of taxes and operating expenses. Letting strangers pay for this by paying you represents a good way of covering these costs, and might even bring in some money on top.

Even though tourism might be part of a region's remit, and each region can draft its own legislation in the field, depending on the particularities of the territory, the tourist lease in Italy is still regulated by article 1571 (and the following ones) of the Civil Code, of law no. 431 from 1998 and from the Codice del Turismo (Tourism Code), D.Lgs 79/2011, art. 53.

Regional laws

The general idea behind tourist rentals seems to be leniency, but with the growth of the phenomenon, some regions have decided to create specific regulations. This is the case in Lazio, Lombardy, Liguria, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany.

Liguria allows tourist leases without VAT for a maximum of three residential agreements in the same district, and for rentals of less than 12 consecutive months.

In Emilia Romagna, only three properties can be rented, and for not longer than six consecutive months.

The region of Lazio, despite not openly rejecting the phenomenon of tourist rentals, has given hints at limitations at the busiest times for tourism, leaving the final decision as to when these periods exactly are to each Comune.

However, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza (Antitrust Authority) opposed one ruling that was brought to its attention because...

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