Paris court fines Airbnb € 8 million for unregistered ads

No registration, no Airbnb apartment rental in Paris.

Paris won a major legal battle against Airbnb on Thursday after a court ordered the roommate giant to pay an eight million euros ($ 9.5 million) fine for allowing more than 1,000 listings to flout the registration rules.

It was the latest clash between the US housing rental platform and the French capital over accusations that the platform is turning a blind eye to violators and exacerbating a housing shortage that is pushing up prices for real estate.

The case was filed in 2019 after officials found 1,010 listings for Paris, one of Airbnb’s largest markets, without the required registration numbers since legislation was passed in 2017.

The records ensure that the goods are not rented for more than 120 nights per year and that the rental income is declared to the tax authorities.

Airbnb argued that as a service provider, it shouldn’t be obligated to ensure that users of its site comply with local regulations.

But the Paris court imposed a fine of 8,000 euros per advertisement “given the seriousness of the violations … and their consequences with regard to the general interest in combating the shortage of rental housing” in the capital.

But the fine was less than the 12.5 million euros claimed by the city.

“This decision, a first in France, is a great victory in our fight for housing for all and the regulation of the rental market,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter.

‘Responsible tourism’

Airbnb said earlier Thursday that it would now require Parisian owners to prove that their apartments have been registered with the town hall.

So far, Airbnb hasn’t blocked renters who don’t provide the numbers with their listings.

The platform will impose similar rules on Bordeaux on July 30 before extending them to other popular French destinations such as Lyon, Nice and Marseille by the end of the year.

“This new step is part of several Airbnb commitments to promote responsible tourism,” the company said in a statement.

He said a “large majority” of Parisian owners had already complied with the registration requirement, without providing any figures.

Before the Covid pandemic, Airbnb had 65,000 listings for the city.

“It’s a victory,” said Ian Brossat, deputy mayor of the city in charge of housing, in an interview Thursday with the Parisian newspaper.

He claimed that more than half of the 30,000 Parisian registrations currently did not display registration numbers.

Airbnb says Paris accounted for just 10% of all French searches in May, while searches for rural accommodation for this summer accounted for 45% of the total, up from 24% in summer 2019.

Paris to sue Airbnb for undeclared ads

© 2021 AFP

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