Paris sues Airbnb over unregistered apartment listings
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The city of Paris has filed a lawsuit against home rental service Airbnb for failing to respect local laws regulating holiday rental properties, an official announced on Thursday.
The suit also targets two other companies, Paris Attitude and Wimdu, which offer similar services.
“Airbnb, as well as Paris Attitude and Wimdu, will be served a summons this Thursday or Friday to appear before the Paris district court at 9:30am on June 12,” Ian Brossat, the assistant housing commissioner for the city of Paris, told French daily Le Parisien.
Paris authorities, like other cities around the world, have been toughening restrictions on Airbnb, faced with complaints from hoteliers as well as residents who believe holiday rentals are fuelling property speculation.
In November 2017, Paris capped the number of days an individual can rent out their home as a short-term let at 120 per year.
Since December, home-owners have been required to display a registration number on their ads listings so that authorities can check they are sticking to that 120-day limit.
The city’s suit claims Airbnb, Paris Attitude and Wimdu broke the law by failing to take down apartment ads that did not feature an official registration number. Overall, around 43,000 ads are concerned.
“We ask that all ads without a registration number be taken down, or face a penalty of €1,000-5,000 per day per ad,” Brossat said.
Airbnb said the decision was "disappointing".
"The regulation of holiday rentals in Paris is complex, confusing and more suited to professionals than individuals," it shot back in a statement.
It said it was willing to work with city authorities on developing "simple, clear rules appropriate for everyone".
Airbnb called on Paris to follow the lead of other European cities in deciding how to regulate its rentals.
Berlin has previously had one of the strictest regimes for regulating the site in Europe, but announced last month that they would allow residents to rent out their main home without time limitations.
"We encourage Paris to follow the path of other cities such as London, Berlin and Barcelona, with whom we have worked efficiently on common-sense measures to promote responsible furnished tourist rentals," Airbnb said.
Paris is one of Airbnb's top markets with some 65,000 homes listed – not much lower than the capital's 80,000 hotel rooms.
Another 35,000 are available on rival platforms.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)