The city of Paris is suing Airbnb for $14.2 million for allegedly listing 1,010 illegal rentals. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, in an exclusive interview with French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, said many renters were exploiting current regulations.
"I have nothing against Parisians who rent their home a few days a year to make some cash," Hidalgo said. "The problem is those who own multiple properties who rent apartments all-year-round to tourists without declaring them, and the online platforms, which are accomplices, welcoming them."
Airbnb was issued a subpoena by the local government on Friday. French law bars property owners from renting homes for more than 120 days a year in cities like Paris. Last year, regulations were passed that allow the government to fine companies like Airnbnb up to €12,500 for each illegal posting listed on their website. Renters must also include a registration number on each advertisement to ensure spaces are not rented for more than three months.
Parisian officials will reportedly use the new law to prosecute the 1,010 illegal advertisements in court. Airbnb claims they have followed the law and informed renters of the new regulations. Starting on January 1, the Airbnb platform blocked hosts from making future reservations on their primary residences after reaching the 120-day mark. Under current law, guests cannot book a property if the primary residence has been rented for more than 120 days within the calendar year.
Since the new regulations took effect in January, Airbnb is still honoring confirmed reservations made before this date. Hosts who listed their rentals in 2018 for more than 120 days are also entitled to maintain their current bookings, though they cannot accept new bookings for 2019. According to a 2018 report by analyst Statista, Paris followed London as Airbnb's second most popular destination in terms of active rentals.
A spokesperson for Airbnb has stated that the company has already worked with other STR platforms to ensure that Parisian hosts following the new regulations, while respecting EU law. The company believes that the Parisian STR rules violate EU rules and negatively impact the one in five Parisians that use the Airbnb platform. The company added that they look forward to making their case in court, as well as finding a solution for Parisian hosts.
According to Le Journal Du Dimanche, City Hall has requested that all non-compliant ads be removed from the platform. They will offer further updates in the beginning of March.