Police get involved in Paris’ war on Airbnb

France is Airbnb’s second-largest market after the United States, but the sharing platform is under increasing pressure to verify that landlords are renting apartments in accordance with the law, particularly in Paris. Today, for the first time, the police are involved in the fight against rental fraud.

This is the first time that the police have been allowed to enter without the owner’s permission

The echoes reported this week that police entered six apartments in the same building on the 7th arrondissement (arrondissement, or district) of Paris at the end of September.

It’s usually the responsibility of local housing officers to check who lives inside specific properties, but if landlords don’t want to let them in, they can’t use force to get in. The affected flats are owned by a Scottish management company which had previously refused entry, so a court order has been granted for police to investigate.

Paris City Hall issued a press release to affirm that it was no longer possible for owners to use the rental platform fraudulently and “without impunity”.

This is a huge escalation in the Paris battle over the legal use of Airbnb

The mayor of Paris fully supports the use of Airbnb, but the platform’s astonishing rise to power since its launch in 2012 has led the government to introduce strict laws on how landlords can rent out their apartments.

Due to strict French long-term rental regulations and the fact that Paris is the most sought-after capital of the world on the site, it is much easier and more profitable to rent apartments short-term on Airbnb than to long-term tenants; demand exceeds supply. Since 2018, to support the housing market at half mast (residents could not find enough rental accommodation), landlords using Airbnb are legally required to register with the town hall, charge the same additional taxes to visitors as hotels are obliged to do, and limit the number of rentals to 120 nights per year.

In early 2019, City Hall took legal action against Airbnb for failing to ensure this was done.

French Senate considers new restrictions for Airbnb tenants

On Wednesday, the Senate drafted an amendment to the earlier law, asking that local authorities be allowed to set their own limits on the maximum number of nights allowed, between 60 and 120.

The amendment will be considered by the Senate in November but, if adopted, it is likely to exacerbate existing tensions between Airbnb, its users and French municipalities.

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