Fines surge in crackdown on Airbnb owners in Paris

 11 Aug 2017 - 23:04

Fines surge in crackdown on Airbnb owners in Paris
File photo of an incident in which a corpse found in the garden of a Airbnb rental in France (Reuters)


Paris:  Fines imposed against owners renting their Paris apartments out on Airbnb surged more than tenfold in the first half of 2017 thanks to more rigorous monitoring, city authorities said yesterday.
Thirty-one owners of 128 units were slapped with a total of €615,000  ($723,000) in fines for renting them out for more than the city limit of 120 days per year, city hall official Ian Brossat said.
“These numbers do not reflect an explosion in the number of rental offers but in the effectiveness of the monitoring” by a team of 25 agents deployed by the city, Brossat said.
“We are pleased to see that the courts have a heavier hand than before,” he added.
The maximum fine for the offence doubled in November to €50,000.
Paris is one of Airbnb’s top markets, with some 65,000 sites listed. Another 35,000 are available from similar online platforms. The city has slapped limits on the short-term rental of apartments and rooms as they compete with hotels, encourage property speculation and reduce the housing available to residents.
The practice of rentals on Airbnb and rival websites has become so pervasive that some neighbourhoods have nearly emptied of permanent residents.
“You can’t turn your lodging into a cash machine and yourself into a speculator,” Brossat told French radio France Inter.
Airbnb meanwhile said the fines “are far from being representative of the Airbnb community in Paris, where the average host rents out their lodgings 33 times per year.”
Airbnb had proposed a solution last year to the city which would have automatically limited rentals to 120 nights per year. France also wants to address a tax situation that allows Airbnb to avoid paying French taxes on rentals in France.