If you’re planning on visiting Paris, which has 65,000 homes listed on Airbnb, you may want to find a traditional hotel rather than a homeshare. The city council has proposed banning Airbnb from operating in the capital in an effort to avoid displacing long-term residents.
“Do we want Paris to be a city which the middle classes can afford, or do we want it to be a playground for Saudi or American billionaires?” Ian Brossat, a council member, told Agence France Presse.
Brossat, who has been in charge of housing in Paris for the past four years, has proposed banning vacation rentals downtown in a new book that was published last week. He would also like to minimize the purchase of second homes in the city since he claims that more than 20,000 homes have been lost over the past five years to Airbnb and other home sharing sites. “If we don’t regulate Airbnb, we will no longer have citizens in our city centers,” Brossat told Le Parisien.
In Paris, residents may not list their home as a vacation rental for more than 120 days a year. The city also filed a lawsuit against Airbnb earlier this year for not removing unregistered listings from the site.
The areas surrounding the Louvre and the Opera Garnier have been targeted by those renting vacation homes, and nearly one-quarter of the apartments in the city’s four centermost neighborhoods are currently being rented as homeshares.
Brossat hopes to “reinforce the presence of two or three-star hotels with rates comparable to the tourist apartments.” He believes strong measures are necessary to keep Paris from turning into an "open-air museum.”
Many cities in Europe have begun to regulate short-term vacation rentals, including Madrid, which has banned homeshares in the city center, and Valencia, which has banned homeshare sites from renting apartments with ocean views. Also, Palma and Mallorca require homeshares to apply for a license.
In addition, a Florence tenants’ union reported last week that home sharing services had displaced nearly 500 residents this year alone. The European Union (EU), on the other hand, has warned member states against banning sharing businesses like Airbnb and Uber since it believes that bans should be a last resort and that governments should implement more moderate regulations. The EU has also said that sharing businesses companies generate massive revenues, estimate to be over 28 billion euros, across Europe.
Meanwhile, Airbnb France has condemned Brossat’s proposal saying it would take opportunities away from thousands of middle-class families by keeping profits in the hands of the “wealthy hotel lobby.”
“But while the Deputy Mayor uses his time in office to clamp down on opportunities for local families and write books that champion the views of the hotel lobby, Airbnb is building a platform that 1 in 5 Parisians use to travel the world, boost their income and afford rising living costs in their communities, where housing capacity has failed to meet demand for decades.” the statement added.
Airbnb, which is based in San Francisco, receives percentage service fees from each booking it manages. The company currently has over 5 million listings in 81,000 cities and 191 countries around the world, and claims to have had more than 300 million check-ins.