The City of Lights takes Airbnb to court

“We can’t let Paris become a museum city where no one can afford to live.”
April 14, 2018 12:32PM

(Credit from back: Eric Chan, Lin Padgham, Pexels)

The City of Paris’ problem with Airbnb may seem to come down to the one thing many of its residents love to hate — tourists — but the legal dispute hits a far deeper nerve.

The city is suing the short-term rental platform for refusing to uniformly incorporate the city’s registration system, which is designed to prevent rentals from lasting more than 120 days, into all its listings, the Wall Street Journal reports. (In Los Angeles, The Real Deal reported a bill with the same 120-day cap on short-term rentals is being considered.) Paris is taking a hard line asking the court to fine Airbnb €1,000 per listing per day that the company refuses to comply — if granted, fines could easily total €1 million per month.

“What’s at stake for us is the very identity of Paris,” the city’s deputy mayor Ian Brossat told the Jounral. “We can’t let Paris become a museum city where no one can afford to live.”

But the vast number of its listings — Paris is one of Airbnb’s largest markets — suggests many Parisians welcome visitors with open arms and homes. Airbnb contends the city’s strict rules will hurt permanent residents who just want to make some extra cash on the side.(Last year, an American study found profiting off hosting Airbnb guests requires longer stays than it used to.)

“We are disappointed by this decision, which will hurt local families who share their homes and puts their needs behind the financial interests of big hotel chains and well-funded lobby groups,” Airbnb’s spokesperson wrote in an email to the Journal.

In New York, a 2015 The Real Deal analysis found that Airbnb pushed up monthly rents in various neighborhoods by $37 to $69. [WSJ]Erin Hudson