Paris municipality asks court to fine Airbnb over unregistered listings


Ian Brossat, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of housing, said Airbnb and other competitors had failed to take down listings lacking official registration numbers.
Ian Brossat, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of housing, said Airbnb and other competitors had failed to take down listings lacking official registration numbers.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS, AFP) - The municipality of Paris has asked a French court to urgently fine Airbnb and two other small companies for unauthorised short-term letting, said an official with the city's administration.

A hearing at a Paris court is scheduled for June 12.

Founded in 2008 in San Francisco, Airbnb matches people wishing to rent out all or part of their homes to temporary guests, via a website.

Ian Brossat, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of housing, told Le Parisien newspaper on Thursday (April 12) that Airbnb and other competitors had failed to take down listings lacking official registration numbers.

The registration number, he said, helps ensure the companies do not rent out properties for more than the 120 nights a year allowed.

Brossat said the municipality had asked for fines ranging from 1,000-5,000 euros (S$1,618-S$8,090) per day and per advertisement.

"This disappointing decision is primarily detrimental to Paris' inhabitants," an Airbnb spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement, regarding the move by the Paris municipality.

She added that Airbnb was keen to work with the Paris municipality regarding how best to regulate this area.

In November 2017, Paris capped the number of days an individual can rent out their home as a short-term let at 120 per year.

Since December, home-owners have been required to display a registration number on their ads listings that authorities can check to see if they are sticking to that 120-day limit.

 
 
 
 

France is Airbnb's second-largest market after the United States. Paris, one of the most visited cities in the world, is its biggest single market, with around 65,000 homes listed.

Airbnb called on Paris to follow the lead of other European cities in deciding how to regulate its rentals.

Berlin has previously had one of the strictest regimes for regulating the site in Europe, but announced last month that they would allow residents to rent out their main home without time limitations.

"We encourage Paris to follow the path of other cities such as London, Berlin and Barcelona, with whom we have worked efficiently on common-sense measures to promote responsible furnished tourist rentals," Airbnb said.

Earlier this month, a Singapore court fined two Airbnb hosts a total of S$60,000 (US$45,800) each for unauthorised short-term letting.

Several cities throughout the world have expressed concerns that platforms such as Airbnb might stand as unfair competitors to hotels.