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Over €1.3 million in fines issued in Paris in 2018 over illegal holiday rentals

Christophe Archambault, AFP | A view of Montmartre, in Paris's 18th arrondissement (district)

The number of fines issued in Paris for illegal holiday rentals on Airbnb and other online home rental services rose sharply in 2018, as city officials seek to restrict the practice amid a growing housing crisis.

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“There’s been a very significant increase in fines, because we have decided to reinforce inspections. We’re cracking down,” Ian Brossat, the assistant housing commissioner for the city of Paris, told France’s RTL radio.

Brossat said that as of August 15 the fines totaled €1.38 million – up from €1.32 million for all of 2017. Around 111 properties were found in violation of the city’s rules on holiday rentals, with the average fine set at a little more than €12,000, according to data published on RTL’s website.

“Judges are more heavy-handed, the punishment is harsher, because they feel that people know the rules now,” Brossat said.

Paris officials, like other cities around the world, have been tightening restrictions on Airbnb, faced with complaints from hoteliers and residents who believe holiday rentals are fuelling property speculation. A team of around 30 staff has been assembled to deal specifically with the problem.

“It’s starting to become very dissuasive, especially because those concerned generally have several properties. We’ve sometimes dealt with people who have bought three, four, five apartments, whole buildings that they’ve turned into clandestine hotels,” Brossat explained.

The housing commissioner also applauded an upcoming bill in parliament known as the Elan law that would fine online home rental services up to €50,000 for advertising properties that violate housing rules.

In April, the city of Paris filed a lawsuit against Airbnb and two other home rental services for continuing to advertise properties that did not feature an official registration number, as required by law. Overall, around 43,000 ads are concerned.

Paris is one of Airbnb's most lucrative markets with some 65,000 homes listed on its website. Another 35,000 are available on rival platforms.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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