Hidalgo promises to hold referendum on Airbnb operations in Paris this year

France: Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris since 2014, plans to hold a referendum on short-term rental operations of Airbnb and other platforms in the city this fall, as part of her six-year plan to conduct the post-Covid recovery.

By organizing the non-binding referendum, the Franco-Spanish politician aims to free up more residential accommodation in the capital, as she believes that many Parisian residents are excluded from the rental market.

Hidalgo was comfortably re-elected mayor of Paris last month and she quickly laid out her agenda for securing a “greener” future for the city in the wake of the pandemic.

This is the last step in a long war of words between the Parisian authorities and Airbnb, which has been intensified by the International Olympic Committee. [IOC] announces its partnership with the colocation platform ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, which will be held in 2024. The agreement should extend to the next five editions of the Olympic and Paralympic Games until 2028.

Hidalgo said: “There are around 30,000 Airbnb type rentals in Paris, the task is to get them back. We will therefore ask Parisians by referendum whether or not they wish to see the annual rental period of these apartments limited.

“This will encourage owners not to put them on the rental market,” she added.

At the time, Hidalgo wrote to IOC President Thomas Bach to “alert him to the risks and consequences” of the agreement and assure him of his “absolute determination to ensure that the regulations relating to rental platforms are reinforced “, declared the mayor of Paris. The Associated Press, something Bach then downplayed during the sponsorship deal press conference.

At the time, Jean-François Martins, deputy mayor of France in charge of sports and tourism, told the PA that Hidalgo was planning to hold the referendum on Airbnb’s presence in Paris if she was re-elected in 2020.

He said: “She thinks Airbnb is having a bad impact on housing. Parisians will have the choice between several options, including the possibility of having it banned in certain neighborhoods. “

Before that, it was announced last February that the city was suing Airbnb for posting 1,000 illegal rental ads, which reportedly cost the company more than 12.5 million euros. Hidalgo told the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche that his problem was with Parisians who “treat roommates like a business, rather than those who only rent a few days a year.”

She specifies: “The problem is the multi-owners who rent apartments all year round to tourists without declaring them, and the platforms, accomplices, who welcome them.”

Hidalgo’s plans after his re-election as mayor also include:

  • Temporary cycle paths that were installed during the pandemic will be made permanent to encourage fewer people to use overcrowded public transport, and speed limits will be limited to 50 km / h on some ring roads
  • Widened street terraces to facilitate social distancing in restaurants and cafes are likely to be maintained and may mean cars are restricted on certain roads
  • Work more closely with the French Green Party to introduce “urban forests” with more trees and plants planted on the embankments and around major monuments [Hidalgo wants Paris to reach 50 per cent vegetation coverage by 2030]

The proposed vote seems increasingly likely to take place in the fall, and it could pave the way for mayors of other major cities around the world to rethink their collaborations with Airbnb and others.

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