Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo is gearing up to take on Airbnb, over illegal ads for home rentals. With an expected fine of 12.5 million euros, the mayor announced that Airbnb and other similar websites would face consequences for their adverts, which she says flouts rules and regulations.
Current laws in France say private renters must display a registration number on their ad and can only lease for 120 days a year. Anyone who wants to rent out for longer must apply for a separate permit and register as a commercial business.
Non-adherence can cause fines of 25,000 euros. Adding that Airbnb is showing 1000 ads without registration, each listing could incur penalties of 12,500 euros.
Ongoing Problem Between Paris and Airbnb
It is not the first clash between the local council and top home rental site. In 2016, the company agreed to send letters to landlords, after the city hall placed pressure on Airbnb to deal with the growing number of illegal advertisements and in 2018, they took legal action against them and Wimdu.
Paris, one of the world’s top visited city break destinations is Airbnb’s number one market with an average of 50,000 listings. In recent years, in the 6th arrondissement, a popular touristic area, officials carried out raids on homes to catch unregistered proprietors flouting the rules.
An investigation by the Guardian Newspaper in 2016 showed 41% of listings were rented out for longer than 120 days and sometimes, by hosts who owned over one property. Jean Francios Martins, deputy mayor of tourism at that time said home sharing could not happen at the expense of affordable housing.
In a recent interview, Anne Hidalgo said private home renting websites are accomplices to people who flout the rules before adding…
“I have nothing against Parisians renting lodgings a few days a year to make ends meet. The problem is owners who rent apartments to tourists year-round without registering. Yes to the sharing economy. Yes to Parisians who rent their apartment a few days a year to have a small additional income. No to those who make money preying, destroying residential housing and risking making Paris a museum city.”
Airbnb Disputes the Claims
Airbnb are disputing the recent legal action and further went onto claim the laws are not in line with European Union regulation. On January the 1st of 2019, the website limited Parisian hosts from confirming further bookings if they had hit their 120-day limit, but it does not include bookings made before this date into the equation.
A press statement said…
“Airbnb has already implemented appropriate measures to help Parisian hosts rent out their homes per the applicable rules.”
They remain steadfast in their opinion that Paris’s STR rules break EU rules and hurt 1 in 5 Parisians using Airbnb. They are gearing up to make their case in court, so no-one is expecting a unified outcome.