Where to stay in Venice, Italy? A quick guide for the responsible visitor

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    A crucial question you all ask yourselves: ``Where to stay in Venice?``

    ‘Where to stay in Venice?’ is actually also one of the most common questions people ask us! And we are honored by it.

    You may wonder why people don’t just look at ratings and review when deciding where to stay in Venice. Well, there’s a simple but very serious reason for it.

    Why do people ask us ``Where to stay in Venice?``

    Many of you ask us where to stay in Venice, because you want to make sure not to hurt Venice by staying at the wrong place!

    In fact, many of you have heard about the issues the city and the locals are facing due to mass tourism and illegal rentals. Therefore, many of you understand that a place might be “bad” even if reviews are “good”.

    Therefore, we created this quick guide to help you find where to stay in Venice in a way that is good for you and doesn’t hurt the local community.

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    Where to stay in Venice to have a great time without hurting the city? The common dilemna of Venice lovers

    At Venezia Autentica we’re committed to be close to our community and to help everyone maximize their positive impact in Venice.

    Many of you sent us e-mails telling us you feel very confused about where to stay in Venice. In fact, many of you wonderful people want to support the local population but are afraid you might end up hurting it instead!

    This article gives you pointers and tips to help you find the right accommodation. You deserve to find a place you like and to know you are not contributing to the local housing crisis.

    A typical message from a visitor wondering where to stay in Venice:

    “My husband and daughter and I will be in Venice in___. I’ve rented an apartment for us through ____, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s a legal or illegal rental… The owner apparently lives in ____, which seems like a bad sign. But in our communications, she did mention the Venice city tax that is payable upon check-in, which seems like a good sign…? I guess my question is, without asking the owner, how would I know if the rental is legal or not? I certainly don’t want to be part of the problem in Venice.  So far, I’ve only paid a deposit, and I have until ____ to cancel and get a full refund. We would prefer to stay in an apartment rather than a hotel…but how does one make sure they’re looking at legal apartment rentals in Venice? Any advice you can give me would be much appreciated. “

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    ``We would prefer to stay in an apartment rather than a hotel``. Our stand on renting an appartment in Venice

    A lot has been said locally and internationally about the damages caused by the giants of the sharing economy such as Airbnb on local housing markets.

    People are going as far as condemning such services at all. These services are said to be THE reason for which cities are suffering.

    Allow us to have a slightly different opinion.

    We are not convinced that Airbnb, HomeAway, etc. are the issue per se. In fact, they can even be an essential extra revenue stream for some people.

    In fact, since many rewarding jobs are being lost, some people rent a room or an apartment to make some extra money and have the means to remain in their city.

    Staying in an apartment in Venice is not a problem. The lack of rules, is.

    For decades, visitors around the world could choose to stay in a hotel, in a pension, and also in an apartment.

    However, in more recent years, a growing number of people feel that deciding to stay in an apartment is bad. This is mainly due to the birth and growth of powerful short-term rental booking platforms.

    However, we believe that the problem is not so much the existence of booking platforms, but rather the use that some people or agencies make of them.

    This is why we believe that it would be wrong to label booking platforms as good or as evil.

    The good of booking platforms:

    It is important to acknowledge that booking platforms have the power to allow residents to rent a room or an apartment and have an extra income which helps them to keep on living in their city.

    Of course, also renting to a local family provides the apartment owner with an income.

    However, the increasing cost of living and the lack of jobs in Venice has sometimes made the rent of one apartment the only source of income of some families.

    In such cases, renting to tourists rather than to a local might help the owner to continue living in Venice.

    Expecting a local family who depends on renting a flat to rent it to a local, even if that would not provide them with enough money to keep on living in the city, would be nonsense.

    The evil of booking platforms:

    As mentioned above, sometimes short-time rentals can help a local family to keep on living in their city.

    However, the lack of regulations also makes short-time rentals a very profitable business for investors.

    As a consequence, a growing number of people invests in Venice for the sole purpose of buying apartments and renting them to tourists.

    Investors include ‘agencies’ commissioned by investment funds, for example, to buy and rent to tourists many apartments at a time.

    This takes an entire pan of the housing and rental inventory out of the residential market,  and drives up the cost of housing and renting.

    This definitely constitutes a crucial problem for the local community, since “regular” people no longer can find affordable places where to live.

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    Where to stay in Venice would be a problem, also without booking platforms.

    We are also aware that, because of a lack of rules, housing would be a problem even without booking platforms.

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    In fact, in Venice, new services and agencies offering tourist rentals are born every day.

    As a consequence, investors and agencies would exploit the current situation regardless of the existence or booking platforms.

    We actually wonder if booking platforms aren’t, in some cases, helping a local family to manage their flat instead of handing it, for a smaller return, to agencies.

    Staying in an apartment in Venice is not a problem. The lack of rules, is.

    You understood it, we are not against tourist rentals per se.

    We are, of course, against the exploitation of the current situation. Some players, in fact, make great returns at the expense of a wide part of the local population.

    We hope that new regulations will be introduced and enforced to protect residents. However, we believe they should not block short-term rentals completely.

    Regulations should impede exploitation, not prohibit entirely one of the remaining revenue streams of the local population.

    When you wonder where to stay in Venice, we know many of you desire to stay in a flat. And we can understand...

    In fact, when we travel we often rent apartments ourselves.

    We believe that staying in an apartment is a great way to feel like a local and to help the people we’re renting from. This is why we always make sure we stay at a local’s place.

    Also, we enjoy doing groceries and cooking in our temporary flat’s kitchen. Indeed, staying in an apartment allows us to spend locally even more than we would do staying at a hotel.

    As a consequence, we completely understand your desire to stay in an apartment.

    As you understood, we don’t think it’s bad of you to stay in a flat, rather than in a hotel room. However, when doing so, there are few red flags though that you should look out for.

    Knowing them should prevent you from renting from the wrong person…

    Where to stay in Venice: the 3 rules to follow to pick a tourist rental responsibly

    In a world where many are trying to maximize their personal profit at the cost of everything, us consumers have a huge responsibility. We need to learn to make the right choice, with limited information available, and we need to learn to buy responsibly.

    When it comes to finding a place where to stay in Venice, there is no foolproof solution. However, these 3 rules are a good start.

    Where to stay rule #1:

    Does the person renting the flat have many flats to rent? This is a bad sign. If you see that someone rents several flats in Venice or even in different locations, it’s likely to be an agency or someone who’s exploiting the city’s popularity.
    We do understand the importance of doing business, but if the investor(s) is happy to make huge profits regardless of sensibly contributing to the housing problem, his “doing business” is harming the local population.

    Where to stay rule #2:

    Does the person live in Venice? If you can get this information, then we’d recommend going for people who respect the rules above and are residents.
    In fact, these people are more likely to be residents who are renting to continue to stay living in Venice. The extra income from renting helps them to do so.

    Where to stay rule #3:

    Once you enter the apartment, do they make you pay a city tax and ask for your ID? If so, this is good a good sign.
    In fact, these things assume that the B&B registers its clients in the National Police registry, that it is officially registered in the city’s register, and that the city tax is collected and then handed to the city.
    Of course, you might be able to find out about the third rule only once you are in Venice. However, if it’s not respected, you can make sure not to visit again and tell your friends to avoid that B&B.

    Extra tip: Once you know the address of your flat, you can look it up on the City’s map of authorized accommodations. All apartments MUST be registered.

    This interactive map shows the registered hotels, B&Bs, and apartments and is updated every day with the latest information.
    We are aware that the address of the flat is often given to you after completing the transaction. However, if you verify that the flat is not registered, you could immediately demand to be refunded.
    Every accommodation MUST be registered, it’s a Law.

    Related: Venice Townhall’s Map of authorized accommodation facilities

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    This is it, as ‘simple’ as that. Obviously, these 3 tips couldn’t be perfectly full proof but by making the effort to try and check that the apartment you are looking to stay at does meet these criteria you’re doing an awesome job at helping tourism and residency cohabit in a more balanced way. The rest is in the hand of the institutions and regulators…

    Since you care about Venice and the impact you make on the local community, make sure to check out the following resources. They will help you have a great time in Venice while supporting the locals!

    I'm visiting Venice. Why should I follow your recommendations?

    The way you visit Venice has an impact both on the quality of your experience and on Venice itself.  Chilling, exploring, shopping, eating and drinking where the locals do, can make a huge impact both on the memories you bring home and on the local economy and community.

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