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Paris vs. Airbnb round 7 or so

According to various newspaper reports today, Airbnb was fined for posting an illegal sublet and not registering the sublets' rental of over 120 days.

In certain (all) arrondissements of Paris Airbnb was to patrol the listings and report those of over 120 days. (All rentals of primary residences for over 120 days are illegal but Airbnb agreed to report only those in the heavily touristed areas.)

This is particularly newsworthy because this is the first time Airbnb has been fined auguring more of the same for other platforms. (Airbnb is sometimes used also as the generic name for short term rentals)

http://www.lemonde.fr/argent/article/2018/02/15/condamne-pour-une-sous-location-illicite-a-paris-airbnb-va-faire-appel_5257391_1657007.html

Posted by
11028 posts

Looks to me like the French are enfircung their laws. Good for them I guess. Is there a deeper issue that I am missing?

Posted by
1109 posts

In certain arrondissements of Paris Airbnb was to patrol the listings and report those of over 120 days. (All rentals of primary residences for over 120 days are illegal but Airbnb was charged to report only those in the heavily touristed areas)

Airbnb previously announced that they were going to monitor and limit, at 120 annually, the number of days each of their listings were rented in the 1st through the 4th arrondissements but I have never seen anything written indicating that the city agreed with what Airbnb proposed nor that the city was going to ignore violations in the other 16 arrondissements. Indeed, this violation was in the 6th arrondissement.

The fact that this is the first time any on line platform or rental agency has been fined for abusing rules governing vacation rentals is extremely significant. One would think that the overall exposure to rental companies and online platforms to additional fines could be significant.

Is there a deeper issue that I am missing?

Wouldn´t that depend entirely upon your current familiarization with the subject? At its core, the government is concerned about housing for its citzenry and the overall lack of available apartments, particularly in Paris.

Posted by
775 posts

Tocard, your paragraph 1 is absolutely correct. My writing was sloppy so I'll edit the original post. AirBnb agreed to patrol 1-4.

Posted by
7736 posts

Thanks for posting this. I was just reading a similar thread over on Trip Advisor.

Posted by
1700 posts

Curious if this will have an immediate effect on properties booked for later in the year.
I have a trip planned but opted for a hotel this time ; I helped my sister book a trip for this summer and she opted for an airbnb I suspected was not a legal rental so a little nervous for her.

Posted by
1109 posts

I suspected was not a legal rental so a little nervous for her.

You can tell quickly. If the listing shows the 13 digit city registration number, she might be Ok. If not, after this latest development enforcement could advance rapidly closing thousand of illegal rentals. Having a backup hotel might be advisable.

Posted by
6885 posts

According the the article in Le Monde shared by 75020 above---

The case is between a landlord, tenant, and AirBnB, not the city of Paris vs. AirBnB. However, the city of Paris does approve the outcome. It wasn't the city of Paris patrolling and and there is no fine. It's a law suit.

It's a landlord who sued his tenant and AirBnB for illegally subletting the apartment. The tenant had raked in 49,301 euros during an 18-month period from March 2016-September 2017 subletting the apartment for 119 separate contracts. The owner received a small award from the court, nothing like what we'd see in the US, but the important part of the ruling for the city of Paris was that AirBnB was held responsible and considered complicit for listing this rental that was not only illegal but against the renter's lease agreement. There was no action taken by the city of Paris.

Posted by
775 posts

What Betts is pointing out here is the court's stand on AirBnb's responsibility. Previously, the listing agents or platforms were not held accountable for what they listed. Only the owner was fined. Even though this is an apt owner challenging Airbnb, the verdict changes things considerably because it puts responsibility on Airbnb . Technicalities, technicalities. This will most certainly be an interesting development to watch.

from the article:
c’est la première fois que la justice reconnaît la responsabilité d’Airbnb lorsque le site héberge des annonces illégales

Posted by
6885 posts

Exactly 75020!
People here and on TA seemed to think it was the city of Paris stepping up patrols. It wasn't, but it is an important ruling.

Posted by
11028 posts

Its always important when a governing administration enforces laws. The rest of the topic, the political portion, you are correct I dont read French so i couldn't begin to study it enough to have an informed opinion. I do know a little about AirBnb in general and am sort of un-opinionated about them as well. I just know that in my favorite town, AirBnb and similar have lead to a rebirth of a lot of neighborhoods and raised property values, benefiting home owners and investors.

I should have read a little further on. So it was not an owner, but a renter, sub-lenting. If he violated the terms of his leas he out to be kicked out on his keester + the fine for breaking the law. Seriously, 49,000 euro in 18 months. That real estate would be worth a fortune if they didn't essentially rent control it. Too bad.

Posted by
8293 posts

That's all very well, James E, but how does it benefit the Budapest (your favourite town) residents who want to rent or buy an affordable place to live. Surely they are more important than "investors".

Posted by
6885 posts

Different cities are at different stages of gentrification. Forty years ago you couldn’t give away those 19thC apartments in central Vienna. Buildings were half-empty and the apartments in need of renovation, new windows, heat, elevators, etc. Today, who can afford to buy them.

Short-term rentals that are helping Budapest today, could be viewed totally differently in a few decades. That, when it comes, would be a good sign of the city’s prosperity, vitality, and the locals’ desire to return to the city center.

Posted by
11028 posts

Norma, generally speaking 15 years ago each apartment had become the property of whom ever was living in it when the system collapsed. The lovely woman I purchased my apartment from was living in abject squalor. Thanks to investors she was able to get out of the dilapidated city center and live in the green suburbs. Thanks to a half dozen investors the interiors were renovated and property values increased attracting more affluent owners who could pay the higher building fees required to renovate the exteriors. The people that didn't sell in the early days soon discovered they had wealth never before imagined. Thanks to the current state of affairs my building gets a new paint job every 3 or 4 years (I do it myself to preserve my investment) something unheard of 10 years ago. The new money in the neighborhood now supports several very nice restaurants and a lovely wine bar that never would have survived in the neighborhood even 8 years ago. The people working in those restaurants make good enough money to live nearby. I dont see the downside here. You may call it an investment, i call it my home.

Posted by
2466 posts

If a property owner specifically does not agree to have a tenant sublet, and has a valid lease, the tenant bears the fine.
The correct arrondissements are those from 1 through 4.

All others seem to be exempt - but you should still look for the 13-digit registration number.

Posted by
1109 posts

The correct arrondissements are those from 1 through 4.

Correct arrondissements for what exactly?

Nothing stops the owner of a secondary home from applying on line and receiving a registration number for an apartment he rents yet it´s an apartment which has no principal resident and therefore may not be rented legally short term for any amount of days.

The 13 digit city registration number only suggests that an apartment is legal.

Posted by
2466 posts

No, it does not.
The property owner bears the responsibility for all income received. It is tied to his/her financial information.

Posted by
2466 posts

The registration number is online for anybody who wants to see it.

The property owner - and not his tenant - have the "jouissance" to use the apartment for the vacation time permitted.
The property owner - and not his tenant - apparently did not live in the apartment for the rest of the year.

Posted by
11028 posts

chexbres; RS, being the supporter of law abiding travel that he is, should devote a little space on how to rent a legal apartment in Paris. At least then everyone would understand the issue and how to avoid being part of the issue. Makes me nuts when i see post here in which the OP doesn't care if its legal or not, but just wants a bargain.

Posted by
2466 posts

JamesE - all you have to look for is the 13-digit registration number. It's simple.
There have been numerous discussions on every travel forum - you just have to search for them.

Posted by
12 posts

Quick comment on vacation rentals. I own one in another county and advertise it on several platforms including Airbnb. Yet I don’t choose to rent through Airbnb. Based on my experiences I would suggest using other platforms such as HomeAway or VRBO and rather than using the instant rent button, contact the owner and ask questions , such as registration numbers, insurance, etc. A good landlord should be as eager to answer your questions as they are to find out who you are and how well you will care for their property. Airbnb allows very little inaction between owner and renter which I feel is risky for both. Just my opinion, I’m sure there are others.

Posted by
11028 posts

chexbres, is there a site to confirm the number is legitimate? Is this a universal requirement across Paris or just certain areas? I guess i should look, but are the listing companies requiring it be displayed on the apartment listing?

Posted by
2466 posts

There is no possibility to fake the 13-digit registration number, which is tied to the property owner's financial information. There is only enough space for the 13-digits.

If you are lazy, you should just look for the 13-digit registration number on the website.

The property owner must live in the apartment for the remaining 120 days of his/her vacation period.

The tenant takes no responsibility for subletting his/her vacation period, and can be invalidated if the lease forbids it.

If you are in the suburbs, where the population is less than 200,000, you might do well. But Paris is off limits, except in the 1 through 4 arrondissements, because most people stay there.

Posted by
2837 posts

Airbnb allows very little inaction between owner and renter which I feel is risky for both.

I didn't think that was true. I've only used AirBnB a couple of times, but the first time I used it (in Canada), I had several back and forth conversations with the owner. They all went through AirBnB, since they apparently try to prevent direct email contact before rental, but I got all the info I asked for.

Posted by
11028 posts

chexbres I'm glad they have gotten a system up and running. The holiday rental business can be a good one for all the parties involved, but it needs to be subject to the desires of the citizens of the city. Its better for everyone that way.

It will be interesting to see what happens in a city if they over regulate and property values plummet. I know of a city that is currently putting the breaks on holiday rentals by adding taxes and regulation. Its going to be a good case study.

Posted by
2466 posts

JamesE - the likelihood of property - ie, the metre carre and the arrondissement - will probably not change very much.
The notaires are in charge of this activity.

Frankly, I'm glad that there is a 13-digit registration number which is in effect.
The Mayor's Office has "capped" rent control for we lucky few.

Tourists pay too much for the metre carre.

Posted by
11028 posts

chexbres, I am sortbof a Libertarian and believe that in most cases government intervention does more harm than good. But I am also a bit fanatical about the rule of law and if the government us representing the views of the people, then so be it.

Driving tourists out of city centers through costs or other means is probably doing the tourists a favor. So much to be learned, seen and experience by being in the fringes.

Posted by
11028 posts

chexbres, I am sortbof a Libertarian and believe that in most cases government intervention does more harm than good. But I am also a bit fanatical about the rule of law and if the government us representing the views of the people, then so be it.

Driving tourists out of city centers through costs or other means is probably doing the tourists a favor. So much to be learned, seen and experience by being in the fringes.

Posted by
775 posts

" So much to be learned, seen and experience by being in the fringes. "

The statistic that always amazes me. The average tourist spends 2.4 days in Paris. What can one see in that time other than "must dos" in centrally located areas? Only "travelers" will go to the fringes and maybe that's good for those of us who live way out there. I think, instead of getting tourists to the fringes, apartment hotels and their ilk will be more prevalent in more central areas, but we'll see.

Posted by
11028 posts

This is one of the great things about Budapest (sorry, I know this France). The experiences and sights are spread all over town and it’s hard not to find yourself in the fringes. It works because of all of the wide boulevards and a few of the tall landmarks that you can see from great distances so you can negotiate the city by sight, and surface transportation (trams) and don’t so much need a map. Very hard to get lost despite the size of the city. Sort of the opposite of London.

Paris is a full 4 day stay if you want to even begin to understand it and realize how much you are missing. If you give it that much time you will probably return. My second favorite city.

Posted by
2466 posts

The residents, not tourists, should be in a comfortable apartment.
I'll say it again - the person who sells you a croissant in the morning - would love to stay right across the street - but has to go all the way to the RER A, far away in the suburbs.

I don't care if people want to "play like they are a Parisien", it's not fair for the person who sells you a croissant in the morning...