The news has spread like wildfire: the city of Paris is suing Airbnb for not removing from its site listings that are not registered with the city. And Airbnb isn’t the only rental site to bear the wrath of Mayor Madame Anne Hidalgo and her housing team, led by Deputy Mayor Ian Brossat; Wimdu is another one, and more are sure to come.
And, if a planned new law is passed by the French government, Airbnb will be fined €1,000 per listing per day for a listing without a registration number! The registration numbers allow the city to keep track of landlords who rent more than their allotted 120 nights a year.
Paris, the world’s third-most-visited city in 2017, according to Condé Nast Traveler, needs all the accommodations it can get. Airbnb claims to have about 65,000 Paris properties listed with them, and another 35,000 can be found on other sites (with a lot of overlap, of course). The city has about 80,000 hotel rooms.
The case will go to court on June 12, 2018. This will not only hurt Airbnb, but also the thousands of homeowners who need to generate revenue to cover the costs of maintaining their property investments. While the city is hell-bent on making more long-term housing available for its residents by reducing the number of short-term rental properties, it is indirectly punishing individual property owners in favor of the big-business hotel industry and serviced apartments, leaving Parisians out on a limb.
Airbnb and other sites do not promote only short-term rentals. Long-term apartment rentals – a year or more – are also listed on the site, but they are not required to have a registration number. It’s unclear whether the city officials will respect this difference.
We can all understand the city’s goal of limiting the number of tourist accommodations to make room for city residents, but I personally do not agree with their methods nor the way the regulations punish property-owning residents. Big business wins at the expense of the little-guy landlord, all under the guise of protecting the little-guy tenant. Why should one win and the other lose, when both can win and let big business fend for itself?
Adrian Leeds is the director of the Adrian Leeds Group, Inc., which helps foreigners find short- and long-term housing in France. firstname.lastname@example.org