Paris to sue Airbnb over ‘illegal ads’

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The city of Paris is suing Airbnb for €12.5m (£11m) over 1,000 adverts for what it says are illegal rentals.

Homeowners in the city can rent out their properties for only 120 days per year. They must register themselves as a business and display their registration number on any advertising.

Under French law, companies can be fined up to €12,500 for each advert.

Airbnb said the rules in Paris were “inefficient, disproportionate and in contravention of European rules”.

According to a 2018 report by analyst Statista, Paris was Airbnb’s second most popular destination in terms of active rentals, with London in the top spot.

On its website Airbnb says that after a property has been booked out for 120 nights in one of the 18 French cities where the rule applies, the calendar will be blocked out so that no more bookings can be made.

It also says that every other holiday rental service that is a member of the French holidays homes body, the UNPLV (Union Nationale pour la Promotion de la Location de Vacances), is imposing this automated limit.

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Speaking to French newspaper Journal du Dimanche, Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, said unauthorised rentals “spoil some Parisian neighbourhoods”.

Critics of platforms such as Airbnb say they can drive up private rental prices in an area and result in an increase in anti-social behaviour by guests.

Speaking to BBC News in 2018, Airbnb said it was important that residents and communities could “benefit from often record numbers of visitors to their cities”.

Short-term rental restrictions around the world

  • Amsterdam: Entire home rentals limited to 60 days a year, set to be halved
  • Barcelona: Short-term rentals must be licensed but no new licences are being issued
  • Berlin: Landlords need a permit to rent 50% or more of their main residence for a short period
  • London: Short-term rentals for whole homes limited to 90 days a year
  • Palma: Mayor has announced a ban on short-term flat rentals
  • New York City: Usually illegal for flats to be rented for 30 consecutive days or fewer, unless the host is present
  • Paris: Short-term rentals limited to 120 days a year
  • San Francisco: Hosts must obtain business registration and short-term rental certificates. Entire property rentals limited to 90 days a year
  • Singapore: Minimum rental period of six consecutive months for public housing
  • Tokyo: Home sharing legalised in only 2017. Capped at 180 days per year
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Sources: Airbnb, Amsterdam City Council, Government of the Balearic Islands, Reuters, the New York Times

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