Earlier this month, the city of Paris filed a lawsuit against Airbnb for failing to remove undocumented listings from their site.
A court hearing is set for June 12. For those traveling to Paris before that date and planning on staying in an Airbnb, it's likely nothing about your accommodation will change. But once the court hears the case, circumstances could change.
While the court decision won’t make all Airbnbs in Paris illegal, it may affect Airbnb owners who are currently operating without proper documentation — which Paris’s deputy mayor of housing said is “an overwhelming majority of 85 percent,” according to Agence France Presse.
In November, Paris capped how often a homeowner could rent out their space with short term stays to 120 days per year. One month later, it became mandatory for homeowners to display a registration number on their Airbnb listings. This registration would allow authorities to confirm that homeowners are obeying the 120-day regulation.
However, according to the government, most Airbnb listings are operating without registrations, in violation of the law.
“The regulation of furnished tourist rentals in Paris is complex, confusing and more suited to professionals than individuals,” Airbnb said in a response to the lawsuit. The company added that it was willing to work with city officials to develop “simple, clear rules appropriate for everyone — not just big businesses.”
There are an estimated 65,000 home listings on Airbnb in Paris. Any listings that already contain a registration will not be affected by the court’s decision come June. However, if the city wins, up to 43,000 unregistered listings could disappear.
The lawsuit will also affect homesharing sites Paris Attitude and Wimdu.
Paris joins a long list of major cities (New York, San Francisco, London, Barcelona and Berlin) who are fighting short term rentals. Many city officials believe that short term rentals are contributing to property speculation, making neighborhoods too expensive for locals to afford.
“What’s at stake for us is the very identity of Paris,” Ian Brossat, Paris’s deputy mayor in charge of housing policy, told the Wall Street Journal. “We can’t let Paris become a museum city where no one can afford to live.”