Taormina Short-Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Taormina, Italy

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What are Short-Term Rental (Airbnb, VRBO) Regulations in Taormina, Italy?

Taormina, a picturesque town on the eastern coast of Sicily, has become a popular destination for tourists seeking a taste of authentic Italian culture and stunning coastal views. However, the influx of visitors has also led to concerns about the impact of short-term rentals on the local housing market and community character.

Starting a Short-Term Rental Business in Taormina

Like many Italian cities, Taormina has implemented regulations to govern the launch and operation of short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. These rules aim to strike a balance between supporting tourism and preserving housing availability for residents.

In 2017, the Sicilian regional government introduced a new law requiring all short-term rental operators to obtain a specific tourism license called the "Codice Identificativo Regionale" (CIR). This regional identification code must be displayed on all listings and advertisements for the rental property.

To obtain a CIR, hosts must submit various documents to the local municipality, including proof of property ownership, floor plans, photos, and an energy efficiency certificate. The property must also meet certain safety and habitability standards.

In addition to the regional CIR, the municipality of Taormina has its own set of local ordinances governing short-term rentals. These include restrictions on the maximum number of guests allowed, noise limits, and parking requirements.

One unique aspect of Taormina's regulations is the distinction between "hosted" and "unhosted" rentals. Hosted rentals, where the owner or a designated representative is present during the guest's stay, are generally easier to obtain permits for. Unhosted rentals, where the property is rented out entirely, face stricter rules and may be subject to additional fees or taxes.

The process of obtaining all necessary licenses and permits can be complex and time-consuming, leading some hosts to operate illegally without proper documentation. However, the municipality has been cracking down on unlicensed rentals, issuing fines, and even shutting down non-compliant properties.

Overall, prospective short-term rental hosts in Taormina must carefully navigate the various regional and local regulations to ensure they operate legally and avoid potential penalties. With the town's popularity among tourists, there is certainly demand for vacation rentals, but hosts must be prepared to invest time and resources into compliance efforts.

Short-Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Taormina

To legally operate a short-term rental in Taormina, property owners must obtain a specific tourism license called the "Codice Identificativo Regionale" (CIR) from the Sicilian regional government. This licensing process was introduced in 2017 as part of efforts to regulate the growing vacation rental market across Sicily.

The CIR license is mandatory for any property rented out for short-term stays, whether it's an entire home, apartment, or private room. Obtaining this license involves submitting various documents to the local municipality, including:

  • Proof of property ownership (deed or tax records)
  • Floor plans and photos of the rental unit
  • An energy efficiency certificate
  • Proof of payment for the license fee

The application fee for the CIR license can vary but is generally around €200-300 for most residential properties in Taormina. Once issued, the license is valid for 3-5 years before requiring renewal.

In addition to the regional CIR, the municipality of Taormina has implemented some additional local requirements for short-term rentals:

  1. Hosted rentals (where the owner is present) are subject to less stringent rules compared to unhosted/entire home rentals.
  2. Rental contracts must be registered with the local tax office, and appropriate taxes must be paid.
  3. Rentals may only be permitted in certain zoned areas of the town.
  4. There are limits on the number of consecutive nights a property can be rented.
  5. Health, safety, and occupancy standards must be met based on the property type.

Failure to obtain the proper CIR license and local permits can result in significant fines starting at €1,000 and increasing for repeat offenses. Short-term rental booking platforms like Airbnb are also prohibited from advertising unlicensed properties in the region.

The licensing process aims to crack down on illegal vacation rentals that have contributed to housing shortages and overtourism issues in popular destinations like Taormina. However, many hosts have expressed frustration with the costly fees and bureaucratic hurdles.

Prospective short-term rental operators in Taormina are advised to thoroughly research the latest regional and municipal requirements before listing their properties. Consulting with local legal experts can also help ensure full compliance and avoid potential penalties down the line.

Required Documents for Taormina Short-Term Rentals

To legally operate a short-term rental in Taormina, property owners must submit several required documents as part of the licensing process. These documents help the local authorities verify ownership, ensure safety standards are met, and maintain accurate records of all registered vacation rentals.

The key documents that must be provided include:

  1. Proof of Property Ownership: Applicants must submit a copy of the property deed, most recent property tax bill, or other official document demonstrating ownership of the rental property.
  2. Government-Issued Identification: STR operators need to provide a valid government ID, such as an Italian ID card, passport, or driver's license, to confirm their identity matches the name on the property ownership documents.
  3. Photographs of the Rental Property: Clear, dated photographs of the interior and exterior of the rental unit are required. These images help officials verify the property's condition and ensure it meets habitability standards.
  4. Floor Plans: Applicants must include detailed floor plans or architectural drawings showing all rooms, spaces, emergency exits, and maximum occupancy for the rental property.
  5. Certificate of Occupancy (Certificato di Agibilità): A valid certificate of occupancy issued by the local authorities is mandatory, confirming the property meets all building codes and is suitable for residential use.
  6. Energy Efficiency Certificate (Attestato di Prestazione Energetica): Proof of an active energy efficiency certificate for the property must be provided, meeting the minimum rating requirements.
  7. Liability Insurance: Documentation showing the rental property has adequate liability insurance coverage, typically a minimum of €300,000, must be submitted.
  8. Fire Safety Certifications: Depending on the property type, certifications related to fire safety systems, such as alarm systems, emergency lighting, and fire extinguishers, may be required.
  9. Signed Affidavit/Responsible Declaration: The property owner must sign an affidavit or "dichiarazione sostitutiva di atto notorio" certifying that all information provided is accurate and that the rental property complies with all relevant local laws, zoning regulations, and tourism requirements.

Depending on the specific situation, additional documents may be required, such as approval from a homeowners' association if the rental is part of a residential complex, or proof that the property has been used as a private residence for a certain period prior to applying for an STR license.

It's important to carefully review and compile all necessary documents to avoid delays or rejection of the license application. Many hosts choose to work with local legal professionals or property management companies to ensure their application package is complete and accurate. The municipality of Taormina provides checklists and guidelines on its website to assist applicants through the licensing process.

Taormina Short-Term Rental Taxes

Short-term rental operators in Taormina are subject to several national, regional, and local taxes. It's crucial for hosts to understand and comply with these tax obligations to avoid penalties and maintain good standing with the authorities.

At the national level, Italy imposes a 22% Value Added Tax (VAT/IVA) on short-term rental income. Operators must register with the Italian Tax Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate), collect the VAT from guests, and remit it to the state on a quarterly basis.

In addition to the national VAT, Sicily charges a regional Tourist Tax (Tassa di Soggiorno Regionale) on all short-term rentals. This tax rate varies between 1-5 euros per person, per night, depending on the property type and location. In Taormina specifically, the tourist tax is set at 2 euros per person, per night.

At the local level, the Municipality of Taormina has implemented an additional 1.5 euro Tourist Tax (Imposta di Soggiorno) per person, per night. The municipality collects This local tax directly to fund tourism promotion and infrastructure improvements.

To comply with these tax requirements, short-term rental hosts in Taormina must:

  1. Register with the Italian Tax Agency for a VAT number (Partita IVA).
  2. Register with the Sicilian Regional Authority for the Tourist Tax program.
  3. Register with the Municipality of Taormina for the local Tourist Tax.
  4. Collect the 22% VAT, regional tourist, and local tourist taxes from guests as part of the rental fee.
  5. File quarterly VAT returns and remit taxes to the Italian Tax Agency.
  6. Remit the regional and local tourist taxes to the respective authorities based on their filing requirements.

Some short-term rental platforms like Airbnb have agreements to collect and remit certain taxes like the regional tourist tax on behalf of hosts in some areas. However, it remains the responsibility of the host to ensure full compliance with all applicable tax laws.

Failure to comply can result in significant fines and penalties. Taormina has increased enforcement efforts, with inspectors conducting routine checks on short-term rental properties to verify proper registration, licensing, and tax payments.

Hosts should consult with local tax professionals to operate a successful compliant rental in this popular Sicilian destination. They can provide guidance on registering for all required taxes, setting up proper collection and remittance systems, and staying up-to-date on any changes to the tax laws impacting Taormina's short-term rental market.

Italy Wide Short-Term Rental Rules

In addition to local regulations implemented by specific cities and regions, there are also nationwide rules that apply to short-term rentals across Italy. The Italian government has introduced laws to help regulate the rapidly growing vacation rental industry.

One of the key national laws is the requirement for all short-term rental operators to register their guests' identification information with the local police authorities. This applies to any rental stay under 30 consecutive days.

Hosts must visit their local police headquarters and request access to the "Alloggiati Web" online portal. For each guest stay, they are required to submit the guest's full name, date of birth, nationality, and an image of their passport or national ID card. This information must be provided upon the guest's arrival.

Failure to comply with this registration requirement can result in fines starting at €100 and potential criminal penalties of up to three months in jail for repeat offenses. The law aims to monitor tourist arrivals and track the occupancy of short-term rentals for security and tax purposes.

Another nationwide regulation is the obligation for short-term rental hosts to provide a written contract to guests for stays under 30 days. This contract is not subject to registration with tax authorities unless the rental period exceeds 30 consecutive days.

In terms of taxation, Italy imposes a national Value Added Tax (VAT/IVA) of 22% on short-term rental income for owners operating as businesses. Non-professional individual hosts renting out their primary residence may be eligible for the "cedolare secca" flat tax rate of 21% on rental income instead of standard income tax rates.

Many regions and municipalities also charge additional local occupancy taxes on short-term rentals, with rates varying across different areas. Hosts are responsible for collecting and remitting these taxes to the appropriate authorities.

As concerns over housing affordability and overtourism have grown, there have been discussions about implementing stricter nationwide regulations on short-term rentals in Italy. Some proposals include capping the number of rental nights per year, prohibiting rentals in certain residential zones, and increasing tax rates on short-term rental income.

However, the vacation rental industry continues to advocate against overly burdensome rules, arguing that they support local economies and provide income opportunities for homeowners. Navigating the complex web of national, regional, and local short-term rental laws remains an ongoing challenge for hosts operating in Italy.

Does Taormina Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Based on discussions among short-term rental hosts on forums like Bigger Pockets and Reddit, it appears that the municipality of Taormina does actively enforce its short-term rental regulations. Several hosts have reported receiving violation notices and significant fines for operating unlicensed vacation rentals.

One Bigger Pockets user mentioned that while some nearby Sicilian towns are more lax about illegal rentals, Taormina has firmly opposed cracking down on non-compliant properties. Another host on Reddit claimed they were fined over €5,000 for renting out an apartment without the proper regional CIR license.

Compared to many other popular destinations in Sicily, Taormina seems to be on the stricter end when it comes to short-term rental enforcement. Places like Palermo, Catania, and parts of the Aeolian Islands are often cited as being more Airbnb-friendly due to laxer rules or less stringent oversight.

However, most forum users agree that as long as you follow the licensing process, pay the required fees, taxes, and operate within the zoning regulations, it is still possible to legally run vacation rentals in Taormina. The demand remains high due to the town's beauty and popularity among tourists.

The consensus is that attempting to skirt Taormina's rules by operating an unlicensed rental is an extremely risky proposition. The municipality has demonstrated its commitment to identifying and penalizing illegal operators through routine inspections and monitoring of rental listings.

For hosts who want to avoid potential legal issues and hefty fines, the best approach is to thoroughly understand the local ordinances, obtain all necessary licenses and permits, and maintain full compliance with registration, tax, and safety requirements.

So, while Taormina may not be as lenient as some other Sicilian destinations, it's not an outright ban on short-term rentals either. Responsible hosts who navigate the regulatory framework can still find viable investment opportunities. However, trying to operate under the radar is likely to invite harsh consequences from the local authorities, according to the majority of discussions across these host communities.

How to Start a Short-Term Rental Business in Taormina

If you're interested in starting a short-term rental business in Taormina, Italy, here are the key steps to follow:

  1. Determine if your property meets the requirements for obtaining a tourism license (CIR). Properties must have a valid occupancy permit, be located in designated tourist zones, be at least 5 years old, and meet energy efficiency standards.
  2. Gather all required documents, including proof of property ownership, floor plans, photos, energy efficiency certificate, liability insurance, fire safety certifications, and a signed affidavit confirming compliance.
  3. Submit the application for the regional "Codice Identificativo Regionale" (CIR) license to the local municipality, along with the necessary documents and fees.
  4. Register with the Italian Tax Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate) to obtain a VAT number (Partita IVA) for collecting the 22% VAT on rental income.
  5. Register with the Sicilian Regional Authority for the Tourist Tax program and the Municipality of Taormina for the local Tourist Tax.
  6. Establish systems for collecting the 22% VAT, regional tourist tax (around 2 euros per person, per night), and local tourist tax (1.5 euros per person, per night) from guests.
  7. Visit your local police headquarters to request access to the "Alloggiati Web" portal to register guest identification details as required by law.
  8. Prepare a written rental contract for guests to sign at check-in for stays under 30 days.
  9. Create compelling listings on popular STR platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo, highlighting your property's proximity to local attractions like the Greek Theater.
  10. Develop processes for managing bookings, guest communication, cleaning, and maintenance. Consider hiring professional property management if needed.
  11. Maintain accurate records of all income and expenses. File quarterly VAT returns and remit taxes to the appropriate authorities.
  12. Renew your CIR license every 3-5 years as required, and stay informed about any changes to Taormina's STR regulations.

It's important to note that Taormina has implemented restrictions on new "unhosted" STR permits in residential areas. Hosted rentals where the owner is present may have an easier path to obtaining permits. Thoroughly reviewing the latest local ordinances and zoning rules is crucial before investing in a short-term rental property in this popular Sicilian destination.

Who to Contact in Taormina about Short-Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

If you have questions or need assistance regarding short-term rental regulations and zoning in Taormina, there are several key contacts available:

1. Municipality of Taormina (Comune di Taormina)

Phone: +39 0942 628111

Contact the municipal offices for inquiries about short-term rental permits, zoning laws, and local ordinances governing vacation rentals.

2. Taormina Tourism Office (Ufficio Informazioni Turistiche)

Phone: +39 0942 23243

Contact the Tourism Office for guidance on tourism regulations, registration requirements, and promoting your rental property.

3. Messina Province Tourism Department (Assessorato al Turismo della Provincia di Messina)

Phone: +39 090 7761003

Contact the provincial Tourism Department for information on regional short-term rental laws and the "Codice Identificativo Regionale" (CIR) licensing process.

4. Sicilian Regional Tourism Authority (Assessorato Regionale del Turismo, dello Sport e dello Spettacolo)

Phone: +39 091 7076111

Contact the regional Tourism Authority for inquiries about the CIR license application, tax obligations, and overall short-term rental regulations in Sicily.

5. Local Police Headquarters (Questura di Messina)

Phone: +39 090 6794111

Contact the local police to request access to the "Alloggiati Web" portal to register guest identification details, as required by national law.

You should consult with local legal professionals or property management companies specializing in short-term rental regulations in Taormina. They can provide personalized advice and assist with navigating the licensing process, zoning laws, tax obligations, and guest registration requirements.

The municipal offices, Tourism Office, and regional authorities listed above can provide official information, guidelines, and resources to help short-term rental operators understand and comply with Taormina's relevant rules and regulations and the surrounding areas.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Taormina on Reddit and Bigger Pockets Think about Local Regulations?

Based on discussions among Airbnb hosts on Reddit and Bigger Pockets forums, there are mixed opinions about the short-term rental regulations in Taormina, Italy. Here are a few key takeaways from these online communities:

Reddit user in r/ItalyTravel: This host expressed frustration with the costly and time-consuming process of obtaining the required CIR license and local permits for their Taormina rental property. They argue that the bureaucratic hurdles make it extremely difficult for individual homeowners.

Bigger Pockets forum thread "Taormina Rental Regulations": An investor shared their experience navigating the zoning restrictions and hosted vs. unhosted rental distinctions in Taormina. While challenging, they felt the rules were reasonable for preserving residential neighborhoods.

Reddit comment in r/AirbnbHosts on Sicily rental laws: A commenter noted that Taormina seems to have stricter enforcement compared to other Sicilian towns, with hosts reporting fines for operating without proper licensing.

Bigger Pockets blog post "Investing in Italian Vacation Towns": This article highlights Taormina as an example of a popular tourist destination cracking down on illegal vacation rentals through regulations and inspections.

Reddit thread in r/Sicily on overtourism concerns: Hosts discussed the rationale behind Taormina's efforts to limit unhosted rentals, citing issues like noise, parking problems, and housing availability for locals.

Overall, these forums reveal a range of perspectives on Taormina's short-term rental rules. Some hosts feel the regulations are overly burdensome and costly, while others understand the need to balance tourism with preserving community character. Prospective investors are advised to thoroughly review the licensing requirements, zoning restrictions, and enforcement policies before entering Taormina's vacation rental market.

Disclaimer: While we here at BNBCalc strive to keep all of our city regulation guides updated and accurate with all the latest local laws, we still do not suggest using them as your sole or primary source for local regulations. We also do not recommend you rely on the third-party sources we link to or reference, and we are not responsible for any of the information on these third-party sites. These guides are for entertainment purposes only and only provide basic information and should not be considered as legal advice.

We highly recommend directly contacting the responsible parties for each city and hearing what their officials have to say. Ultimately, it's your responsibility as an investor to ensure you fully comply with the local laws, and it's best to speak with professionals before making an investment decision.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.