In an interview with the local newspaper Le Journal de Dimanche, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo confirmed the City of Lights is suing AirBnB for posting 1,000 illegal rental listings. Paris is seeking fines worth USD 14 million, added Hidalgo.
The main aim of this move, continued the Paris mayor was to trigger some electroshock and put a definite end to the uncontrolled rentals that spoiled some local neighborhoods.
Hidalgo explained that a recent inspection by the Paris municipality identified at least 1,000 illegal ads on Airbnb. The mayor highlighted she would not tolerate that further.
As per the French legislation, homeowners in Paris have the right to rent out their properties on short-term rental platforms for a maximum of 120 a year. It is worth mentioning that all the advertisements need to include a registration number to make sure the allowed period is not prolonged illegally.
In addition to that, the homeowners need to register as businesses with the local tax authority to avoid tax evasion.
Earlier in 2018, France passed a new law stating that firms like Airbnb could get a fine of EUR 12,500 per illegal posting. Paris mayor is planning to use this new provision to challenge AirBnB in court.
The San Francisco-based home-sharing platform immediately disputed the claim, saying that the French rules for short-term rentals were excessively bureaucratic and might not be in line with the European Union standards.
Airbnb also confirmed it has already taken the necessary measures to help its hosts in Paris to list their properties under the local laws.
France and Paris, in particular, are of utmost importance for Airbnb. Statistics have shown that France is Airbnb's second largest market after the USA. Moreover, Paris, being the most visited city in the world, is the biggest single market for the home-sharing platform, with more than 65,000 properties listed.
The Airbnb spokesperson confirmed the firm was ready to work together with all the parties involved to find a suitable solution for the French cities and their inhabitants.
That is not the first time when Airbnb is experiencing issues with the EU Member States. Although it has to abide by EU consumer regulations and be transparent about its pricing, Airbnb has often been accused of spurring rental-price increase causing a shortage of housing options available for the local population.
Also, several cities across the world complained that Airbnb and other similar platforms had turned some of the local neighborhoods into tourist-only zones.
Do you support the Paris mayor in her battle with Airbnb?