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Airbnb hasn’t been short of difficulties in recent months, with many cities across the world ramping up efforts to clamp down on rising rent and illegal short term rentals. This time, things are kicking off in Paris, as the city has made moves to sue Airbnb over what are claimed to be illegal listings. Paris will be suing Airbnb for €12.5m ($14m) for over 1,000 listings that are alleged to be illegal rentals, as reported in an interview with Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, in the French weekly paper Journal du Dimanche.
In current French law, homeowners can rent out their properties for 120 days per year. When renting a property, a homeowner must register themselves as an official business with their local municipality and a registration number must be displayed on any home rental listing. The city of Paris inspected the home rentals listed on Airbnb and found that over 1,000 do not meet the required terms and conditions. Each illegal listing could receive a potential fine of $12,500 ($14,000).
Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, is at the forefront, trying to preserve some of Paris’ best neighborhoods from inflation, rising rent, priced-out locals, and the anti-social behavior that can come hand-in-hand with the short term rental industry.
Airbnb has disputed Paris’ move, stating that the rules are “disproportionate and in contravention of European rules”. The online travel agent has contested the claim saying that they have already implemented measures to help homeowners rent their homes in compliance with French law.
Other European cities that have clamped down on short-term rentals in recent months and years include Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Worldwide, cities such as San Francisco, and New York have followed a similar suit.
Paris is one of Airbnb’s most popular destinations, with many travelers wanting to visit the Eiffel tower and stay in a traditional Parisian short-term vacation rental. Airbnb rentals are most popular in the Marais district or within walking distance to points of interest, such as the Champs Elysee or the centrally located Gare du Nord station.