Paris Sues Airbnb For £11m Over ‘Illegal’ Adverts


French capital sues rental platform under new rules as tourist destinations complain of antisocial side-effects of short-term rentals

The City of Paris is to sue Airbnb for some 1,000 rental advertisements it says are illegal under a law passed last year for a total of more than 12.5 million euros (£11m) in fines.

French law places a limit of 120 days for short-term rentals on properties owned in Paris. Those renting the properties are required to include a registration number in their advertisements to help ensure the limit is adhered to.

Paris says the advertisements in question did not adhere to these rules, and is suing under a law passed last year that makes rental platforms liable to fines of 12,500 euros per illegal posting.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said that the lawsuit was a response to the proliferation of short-term rentals that have increased antisocial behaviour and turned some neighbourhoods into tourist-only zones.

‘Shot across the bows’

“The goal is to send a shot across the bows to get it over with unauthorised rentals that spoil some Parisian neighborhoods,” she told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

A number of cities around the world have attempted to respond to the rise of online short-term rental platforms, which some say compete unfairly with hotels and have had unwanted side-effects on residential areas.

France is Airbnb’s second-largest market after the US, and Paris is its largest single market, with around 65,000 homes listed.

A report last year by Statista found that the French capital was Airbnb’s second most popular in terms of active rentals, after London.

‘Disproportionate’ rules

Airbnb said it had instituted measures to help Paris users of its website comply with relevant laws.

It said that in the 18 French cities where the 120-day limit applies, the site has implemented a technical measure that bars further rentals after the limit has been reached.

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

Other capitals that are popular with tourists have also brought in rental limits, with London short-term rentals for whole homes limited to 90 days a year.

In San Francisco, where Airbnb is located, hosts are required to obtain business registration and short-term rental certificates, and whole-property rentals are limited to 90 days per year.

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