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My Paris AirBnb Experience

As a heads up to those who have an airbnb booked or are thinking of doing so here is how mine went.

It has been completely trouble free and wonderful. We are in a cozy 2 room apartment on the 7th floor of a great building with an elevator in a lovely neighborhood in the 2nd arrondissiment. We are just half a block from Rue Montorguiel a busy , lively shop and cafe filled street. We are in walking distance to the Louvre, Notre Dame, St Eustache, St Chapelle, Georges Pompidou Center and a lot more. The apartment had a washer, nice sized refrigerator and all the amenities you need for full housekeeping.

Our host Arno (his spelling) has been wonderful. And I had a lengthy discussion with him about the registration issue and the overall issue of AirBnb.

He manages 15 properties some his and some for others. He says he has both properties WITH and
WITHOUT registration numbers. He claims that it matters not really about the number for anything. The issue is about the type of residency the apartment is. Paris and he says mostly THE HOTELS as I have claimed previously on threads here, want AirBnb out. Arno told me that to get around the regulation and avoid problems owners are now converting Commercial spaces to apartments for AirBnb which will allow them to rent it full time.

My take on this has not changed since I have been here. If you want to do an AirBnb I highly recommend it. Our experience has been wonderful. If you have concerns discuss them with the host before you book.

We have had a wonderful time here and loved our cozy little Paris Apartment. Our neighbors have been very nice and the Building Gardienne and her husband have been so kind and helpful. It has given us a nice insight to Irving like a Parisan. The only single negative was the elevator broke last night but was fixed by this afternoon.

So for $607 for 8 nights or about $76 per night we have been housed in comfort and charm right in the heart of Paris...cant beat that.

(The moral of the story I guess is this: if I had not gone ahead with my plans for this lovely place it would have been unfortunate indeed.)

Posted by
6876 posts

I don't think anyone would doubt that the properties themselves are nice, cute, cosy, you name it....but I still can't tell whether this particular one is 1) legal, 2) assesses lodging taxes and forwards to the locality and 3) conforms to local rules regarding minimum rental duration and a host of other stuff (although probably not exactly the same as a full-fledged hotel). As a renter who stayed in a nice place for less, of course you are happy. Who doesn't like to have a pleasant surprise and save money simultaneously? Potential problems with Airbnbs have to do with things outside your specific personal experience: skirting regulations, setting up illegally, and/or pretending they are part of a quaint "sharing economy" when most owners are clearly multi-property investors who don't live in the property and, hence, "share" anything. If the neighbors don't care, if everything's legit, and there's no acute housing shortage in that subarea, then no problem and everyone is better off in the end.

The "moral of the story" should encompass more than one side of the story. The other side(s) need(s) to be aired as well, a balanced viewpoint is key.

Posted by
1775 posts

Glad it worked out.
Don't think anyone ever implied or should have that a place without a registration would be less nice or in anyway an unpleasant place to stay.

Had your Airbnb been cancelled on you a week prior I think you would not have such a positive experience.
That is a real possibility when renting a place with no registration number so important for this forum to warn travelers of that.

It has nothing to do with me disliking Airbnb ; I love it myself and I really don't know or care enough to get involved with Paris politics to choose a correct side or opinion on the debate. Fact is it is more risky if a place does not have a number advising others to ignore that is really not good advise to your fellow traveler.

Posted by
21844 posts

The situation you described is well outside of the original concept of AirBnB. What you described sounds much closer to VRBO or other similar set ups. I would be more concerned about the legality of the situation rather than just tossing it off to Arno says. Are you stating that if someone rents a AirBnB six months out without a registration number, there is no downside risk? That is great if all of the prior discussion is just misinformation - fake news ?? Or is it just your opinion that it is misinformation? How do I decide? Part of being a good traveler is compliance with local customs and laws.

Posted by
7205 posts

I love AirBnb - but I would never rent an illegally run AirBnb facility. There's too much at stake for me (the renter) to lose.

Posted by
776 posts

Just a caution, Aarthur is certainly entitled to his view, but it's a worm's eye view based on an extremely limited experience no way encompassing the situation fully. In essence, he wanted a cheap place to stay and got it. Good for him. Others want to do this legally. Good for them. There's room for more than one approach.

I think that those who live here have been trying to warn visitors of a gradual situation change in Paris that is still playing out.

Posted by
13211 posts

I think the risk in renting an illegal apartment with Air BnB is a last minute cancellation, not that you will lose your money ( Air BnB will refund it if your booking is cancelled by the owner).

Posted by
546 posts

What I am saying is that there is a tremendous amount of misinformation out there perpetrated by what I am sure are well meaning folks but who are misinformed.

There is a risk of cancellation AT ANY HOTEL or property. The legal issues are between the owners and the City of Paris. No laws are being broken in my case. The registration number issue is complex and as far as I can tell from being here not an issue at all for the guest.

As far as this kind of place being “Far from what Airbnb” was intended to be. I think you should take a look at the web site. There is and has been for a long time many different kinds of properties of all price ranges and levels of luxury. And AirBnb is evolving as it grows, that is clear even to the most casual observer.

I have read many posts here on this forum predicting doom and financial loss if one booked an AirBnb and yet I don’t recall ever reading a single post from someone who ACTUALLY was affected by the registration number/zoning issues of AirBnb’s in Paris. After listening to my host who confronted the issues squarely and honestly and gave me a full explanation I was confirmed in my belief all along that there is absolutely NO REASON to try scare people away from booking an AirBnb in Paris. (Or anywhere else)

Posted by
2923 posts

"He manages 15 properties some his and some for others. He says he has both properties WITH and
WITHOUT registration numbers. He claims that it matters not really about the number for anything. The issue is about the type of residency the apartment is. Paris and he says mostly THE HOTELS as I have claimed previously on threads here, want AirBnb out. Arno told me that to get around the regulation and avoid problems owners are now converting Commercial spaces to apartments for AirBnb which will allow them to rent it full time."

I find it very interesting that what Arno says is taken as being correct and the answer when he, obviously, as the manager of 15 vacation rentals has his own axe to grind. There is an old quote that applies here: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." (Upton Sinclair, 1878)

Posted by
6876 posts

There is a risk of cancellation AT ANY HOTEL or property.

I've never had a hotel where I put in a credit card to secure my room ever contact me to say they've cancelled my booking. I don't contact hotels via e-mail or online forms and wait for their response, I use their online reservation systems which are pretty accurate in tracking available inventory (sure there's always a teeny chance of overbooking but I've never had it happen). I think the point being made was that Airbnb can self-select and cancel reservations almost last minute; hotels are not likely to do this. Hotels also don't try to engage you in offline transactions via e-mail (outside the booking platform to avoid fees); whatever you book via their online reservation system - and even a third party system - is respected and "holds".

To repeat, I have no issue with Airbnb as long as they play fair. I've heard property managers malign booking.com and other players, and I always take it with a grain of salt. They are self-interested too and their opinions are fairly narrow (and if they don't like booking.com, then they shouldn't sign contracts with booking.com and then complain about it). I'm not surprised that an Airbnb owner would complain about this, that, and the other which affects their bottom line and to try to get the customer to align with them.

Posted by
7694 posts

"MOSTLY THE HOTELS" complaining but also those who want to live in a city at a somewhat reasonable rate and not find all the housing stock off the market because it's in holiday rentals. We silly city dwellers who work in lower paying jobs!! We should all be working in lucrative positions in private firms whose equity is rocketing -- then we wouldn't be bothered by HOW much the housing stock in our city costs, we could just throw our money around and rent willy-nilly as we pleased. Dumb us.

Posted by
2466 posts

The problem is that the property owner does not live in the buildings.
The 13-digit registration number is the key. It doesn't matter if he flaunts the law - it's illegal.

Posted by
2055 posts

Let´s look at a couple of points made by Arno:

He claims that it matters not really about the number for anything.

The French government which enacts legislation and the city of Paris which enforces it look at this differently. In 2016, the city collected fines of under 300,000€ from owners operating illegal apartments. In 2017, the number increased to 1,300,000€. In the first 3 months of 2018, the city has fined owners 490,000€. Clearly it matters and violators are paying fines in ever increasing amounts.

Arno told me that to get around the regulation and avoid problems owners are now converting Commercial spaces to apartments for AirBnb which will allow them to rent it full time.

This is correct but it needs some perspective. The government has allowed owners to commercialize apartments. To do this in Paris, an owner must purchase commercial space and convert it into full time lodgings at a rate of 2 square meters of new lodging for each square meter of vacation apartment rental space. Needless to say that this is very expensive and it is why there are only about 150 such units in all of Paris.

Do not worry about whether it has a registration number or not

Last December, a law was past requiring all short term vacation rentals be registered with the city. The only requirement to register was that:

  1. the apartment could only be offered by the owner and resident.
  2. annual rental is limited to a maximum of 120 days.

Not only are owners subject to penalties for renting illegal apartments (capped at 50,000€ per occurrence) but, pursuant to new legislation from earlier this month, on line platforms, which includes but is not limited to Airbnb, are liable for any apartment listing which does not have the required registration number. The fine is from 1000€ to 5000€ per day, per listing. The city estimates that 43,000 Airbnb listings, or 84%, do not have the required registration number.

The city now has a pending lawsuit against Airbnb, and several other similar services. The court date is June 12th. If the city prevails, as did the city of Barcelona in 2016 against Airbnb, Airbnb´s fines could exceed the 600,000€ they paid Barcelona and 43,000 unregistered apartments on the Paris Airbnb website will disappear.

It really makes no difference whether you agree with Arno or the city of Paris. The short term rental landscape has changed. Anyone holding an Airbnb reservation for an unregistered apartment after June 12th, should probably have a strong backup plan.

Posted by
8394 posts

aarthur, I appreciate hearing your viewpoint. Thank you.
No doubt in my mind it was the hotel industry that started the war against AirBnB.

Posted by
6876 posts

No doubt in my mind it was the hotel industry that started the war
against AirBnB.

I wish I could convince you otherwise. Airbnb has only a fraction of the lodging market. While the legacy players (established hotels) naturally hate competition and disruption and any siphoning off from the potential client base, Airbnbs "gone bad" actually affects local residents in specific localities (those with expensive lodging) much, much more. As an example, I live in a condo complex with Bylaws that prohibit short-term rentals. In spite of this, some folks went entrepreneurial and Aibnb'd their units. So here you have all sorts of people and their friends/guests wandering around with their luggage in what's supposed to be a secure building at all hours and using common amenities and not contributing to their upkeep. Plus they don't know or abide by any of the condo rules. I don't believe there were noise issues, but there are lots of places where Airbnbs are seen as hotels - meaning partying in them till the break of dawn or having accidents in the hallways is not out of the question. Of course the owners are nowhere in sight when this happens, and they don't seem to want to be responsible for their "guests". Most Airbnb owners operating illegally are smart enough to tell their guest to keep a low profile, respect neighbors, and to pretend they are not actually Airbnb guests.

Posted by
8394 posts

Agnes, not disputing local renters were not happy w AirBnB. But I fully believe the hotel industry, with all it’s might and power, started this war.

Posted by
2055 posts

No doubt in my mind it was the hotel industry that started the war against AirBnB.

I saw an interview with the CEO of Accor who said that Airbnb is not against whom he competes. If you are reading the French newspapers: le Parisian, Figaro, or le Monde, you would probably not feel that the hotel industry is the primary motivator against short term rentals. There is an urgent housing crises in Paris and the conversion of many full time lodgings into vacation apartments has seriously aggravated the shortage. The city estimates that they have lost over 20,000 apartments which once housed residents and are now used as illegal apartment rentals. That´s a lot of displaced families.

You should also not ignore the fact that many Parisians do not want strangers coming and going in their buildings. Having an apartment building full of short term rentals destroys property values. Voters are not necessarily happy with the flood of illegal apartments and legislators have taken action.

Posted by
8394 posts

As I clearly said, I do not dispute that locals are not happy w AirBnB.
That has nothing to do with the hotel industry starting this war.

I do not believe hotel industry denials.

Posted by
13211 posts

Regarding cancellation: yes, it does occasionally happen with hotels when they mistakenly overbook or lose your reservation. At least I have read of such instances, although it has never happened to us.

But the risk is greater when you rent an AirBnB that is flying under the radar to evade local regulations. It happened to us when we rented a house for 14 family members to share for a family wedding in the Bay Area. About a month before the wedding, the owner got a "cease and desist" letter from the town, advising her she was violating a local ordinance and must stop renting out her house. Apparently some neighbors were fed up with loud parties and lack of parking on their street, and complained to the city. We had to really scramble to fine an alternate house for our family. Air BnB was sympathetic and gave us a discount on the next rental, but it was all,pretty stressful.

This type of last-minute cancellation is much more likely with an illegal rental. If they happen to get caught by the authorities before you come, you are out of luck ( but not out of money). And there are other reasons an owner might cancel, even if the property is legal - maybe they have a chance to rent the unit to someone else at a higher price, or for a longer period. So I am always cautious when I read reviews and see "owner cancelled".

Actually I now only rent from " Superhosts" who work hard to keep that designation. They can lose it if they cancel without a very good reason.

Posted by
2923 posts

Lola raises a good point about how hard it is to find alternate accommodations for large groups. If you are traveling alone or with one other person, it is usually pretty easy to find replacement accommodations. When you have larger groups, the difficulties that a last-minute cancellation will cause are magnified, especially in Paris where accommodations for large groups are already scarce.

Posted by
8499 posts

Actually, I’ve never seen a claim that the potential renter would lose money, but I have seen posts from people who had appartement reservations canceled due to the law. If neighbors get fed up, an owner will get reported.

Posted by
546 posts

There is so much misinformation and hyperbole surrounding this subject to say nothing of quite a bit of emotion that it is nearly impossible to get an alternate and accurate view out there. One is shouted down at every turn.

First the AirBnb I am in is legal. Even without a registration number. But even if you don’t believe that the term “legal” is misleading. This is a zoning issue. The issuance of a number is basically a “permit” Not having a permit may get you a fine or may not depending on if you really need one. But in any case it does not rise to the level of civil or criminal action. It is a BUiLDING PERMIT.

I am not some dupe that just fell off the turnip truck. I questioned my host and we discusssed this issue for some 10 minutes or more. I have also had discussions with other owners of AirBnb’s most recently two weeks ago. They are business men. But they also LIVE in the community and YES the buildings they rent out. I think it is very wrong to make assumptions about a hosts motives when you haven’t even spoken to him/her.

And yes overwhelmingly this is a hotel vs Airbnb issue. I find it interesting that one poster believes the Chaiman of Accor Hotels but decries the motives of the AirBnb host.

According to a Reuters article there are 65,000 AirBnb listing in Paris and 350,000 in France (2016/17) and while AirBnb has seen growth of 20% hotels are losing business over the same period. Now please don’t try to tell me this is NOT hurting hotels. Look at the math: If you assume the vast majority of AirBnb stays happen in the three summer months or 90 days then that equals 5,850,000 ROOM NIGHTS available for rent. Assume a 60% occupancy rate which is very low for peak seasons for any hotel in Paris and you get 3,510,000 ROOM NIGHTs Occupied and paid for. These are rooms the hotels are losing out on. At the average rate of 100 Euro per night for those rooms you get 351 MILLION EUROS the hotels are losing because of AirBnb. Just in the summer months. And in reality it is much more.

So I think the math and the money speaks for itself. It is the hotels driving the anti AirBnb issue.

But the reason I posted this was not to be controversial but to offer another viewpoint because I think it wrong to try to convince anyone not to use AirBnb because of this Paris issue and paint the thing as “Illegal” giving a much harsher and unrealistic tone and aura to the entire subject than it deserves.

And again I have never seen a thread here where anyone was denied their room at an AirBnb because of this issue.

Posted by
8394 posts

aarthur, on some subjects, a different opinion is not allowed on this forum.

Posted by
7205 posts

"we discusssed this issue for some 10 minutes or more.." My word, I did not realize you had researched in such depth. Now I am completely and forever sold on AirBnbs whenever I am next in Paris ;-)

Posted by
2923 posts

@ Tim, I laughed out loud when I read that 10-minutes reference as well but then I decided that the poster must have done other research and the 10 minutes of conversation was just the icing on the cake of hours of other intensive study of the topic.

Posted by
129 posts

Thank you aarthurperry for the update.
Off-topic: what did you end up doing for transportation from the airport with your dog? Did it go smoothly? Do you have room to store the dog crate?

Posted by
12970 posts

I have never encountered a hotel cancellation of my reservation, be it in a 2 star budget hotel or a 3-4 star. No such possibility. A few in Germany were concerned whether I would show up on the date given, since the hotel or Pension did not take a credit card to hold the room, ie they were more concerned if I would keep my word and not be a "no-show"

Never encountered a hotel cancellation in France either, in Paris or anywhere else.

There will those going to Paris and will choose the Airbnb options, regardless of their reasons. Conversely, there will be those rejecting the Airbnb option outright, preferring to stick to staying in small hotels or whatever their luxury expectations prefer.

Posted by
1780 posts

The only time a hotel did not honor my confirmed reservation was on San Francisco. I booked a B&B and they gave my room to someone else. They were all speaking French (which I thought was interesting but not helpful). I understood enough to get that they had rented out my room. They found me a room at another hotel that was more expensive. Live and learn. I would have handled it differently today.

Posted by
1775 posts

OP: while some people here feel differently about the morality of the situation ; I think most agree with your overall sentiment.

However where we differ is you are not recognizing the reality that the chance of a place without a registration number getting cancelled last minute is much higher than a place with a registration number being pulled or a hotel being cancelled on you last minute which is extremely low.
Just cause it didn't happen to you or others doesn't make it less of a risk for the future.
The person hosting is breaking the law ; even if just a minor zooming law it is a law that the government passed. You can blame that on hotel lobbyists getting the ear of the politicians/judges but it does not matter the cause that person hosting if caught will be fined and immediately need to cancel any future bookings.

Maybe this is all smoke and no fire from the authorities but personally I would not want to risk it if I had alternatives and would book a place with a registration number or at least go into it with the mindset that the worst could happen and I would need to shell out a bunch more cash to find a last minute solution.

And yes to those that have not visited Airbnb lately prepare for a bit of a shock, it is much more than rental rooms and homes. Many hotels/motels are actually using it now to book rooms and if you own a bed and breakfast anywhere in the world and are not using it as your main source of bookings you are way behind the times.

Posted by
364 posts

There is a risk of cancellation AT ANY HOTEL or property.
I've never had a hotel where I put in a credit card to secure my room ever contact me to say they've cancelled my booking. I don't contact hotels via e-mail or online forms and wait for their response, I use their online reservation systems which are pretty accurate in tracking available inventory (sure there's always a teeny chance of overbooking

  • I have family members who work for Hotels- you can be cxld as all hotels overbook expecting some reservations to cancel. They call it “walking”- that means when the hotel is sold out and because they overbook and everyone shows up- they have to “walk” the guest to another hotel ( re book them at a local hotel) or refund them ie:cancel their reservation. Hotel managers are constantly looking at the “numbers” arrivals/due outs/extensions- it is especially common at Casino Hotels in Las Vegas . But it can also happen at your local Holiday Inn. And besides the Hotels own website, blocks of rooms are also being sold on 3rd party sites like Priceline, Expedia, Hotels.com- and maintenance problems could lead to a room being put out of order which also affects occupancy. As far as rules and regulations- they should always be followed- they are there for a reason.

Happy Travels✨💫