‘The noose is tightening’: Paris sues Airbnb over illegal apartment listings

The Eiffel Tower and the dome of Les Invalides, are seen along the skyline of the French capital Paris from the tower at the Notre Dame Cathedral on March 14, 2017. Paris in December 2016 suffered from a high air pollution index. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE LOPEZ
Paris is taking home-sharing giant Airbnb to court for failing to remove ads from people who have not properly declared their properties, city authorities said Thursday.

The French capital is also suing the smaller German website Wimdu for the same reason, with the court hearing in Paris set for June 12, Ian Brossat, deputy mayor for housing, told AFP.

“The noose is tightening,” he said.

In France, the rules on Airbnb are relatively simple. Hosts can rent their primary residence for up to 120 days without city permission, however  city governments can demand that hosts register with authorities. Registration allows the city to better enforce the law and eliminate rogue operators. Registration is a tool used to regulate homesharing in cities as far apart as San Francisco to Tokyo.

Registering in France is a relatively simple 4-step process. However, a large number of hosts refuse to do so, most likely because they are breaching the law (e.g: by renting second homes for more than 120 days) or because they are inactive. The city government has asked Airbnb to remove listings without registration numbers. Airbnb has refused, stating that the laws are “complicated” and “confusing” and, therefore, they will not enforce them until they were simplified. This makes it extremely difficult for the city to monitor illegal activity.

The city of Paris, after repeatedly asking for compliance has decided the only way to convince the company is through the courts. The trial will commence June 12th.

“In reality, Airbnb is disrespecting the law,” Brossat said, “It’s incredible that this company is able to break all the rules.”

This article, by the local, covers the story in more detail.

See the original article here