Paris turns up pressure on Airbnb cheats

The Local France
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Paris turns up pressure on Airbnb cheats
Photo: AFP

Almost half of Parisian Airbnb hosts are not playing by the rules, and Paris officials have released information they hope will help close the gap.


Bureaucrats in Paris City Hall are sick of people renting out their apartments to tourists for most of the year, especially given there is a huge shortage of housing in the capital.

In a bid to shame the people breaking these laws (the legal limit is 120 days a year), officials have taken action in the form of a new interactive map.
City Hall has added a new section to its Open Data Portal, which lists all the Airbnb users who have officially registered their homes as long-term rentals.
By shining a light on those who are playing by the book, officials are hoping the cheats will come out of the woodwork and sign up themselves too.
Or, indeed, perhaps neighbours who are irritated by a constant flow of noisy tourists next door might just make the call to authorities instead. 
There are 107 apartments are on the "good" list that was published this week, as can be seen in the map below. The most popular areas are in the centre of the city, especially the 4th arrondissement, and the area near the Eiffel Tower in the upmarket 7th.
Glaringly missing from the map are the estimated 44 percent of the 41,000 apartments in Paris that are illegally being rented out full time, where the owners aren't coughing up the proper taxes. 
The purpose of the database has been questioned by many, with many social media users and French newspapers suggesting that Paris was calling for neighbours to turn into informants on any nearby Airbnb cheats.
The Town Hall denied this, and denied also that there was any kind of "mailbox" on the site for people to dob in their neighbours, reported Le Figaro newspaper.
"No, we're not launching this site for people to inform on their neighbours," a Town Hall spokesperson told the paper. 
"Such an approach doesn't correspond with the identity of Paris, nor with our concerns of efficiency when it comes to controlling tourist properties."
Mathias Vicherat, chief of staff for the city’s mayor, told Europe 1 radio that he hoped the move would encourage people to register themselves.
"We hope that this causes a shock of civic conscience, and people begin to follow the rules on their own, without waiting to be eventually reported by a neighbor," he said. 
The Town Hall added that the data had other purposes, and could, for example, help developers and startups to "better understand the situation and the evolution of the recent phenomenon of tourist homes".
Paris has a tense relationship with Airbnb. While many hosts are breaking rules by not paying their taxes (some of whom have been caught in recent crackdowns), others are learning the hard way that you need to get permission from your landlord if you want to rent out your apartment. 
Those who offer more than their share of nights face fines of up to €25,000, but officials are looking into hiking this fourfold to €100,000.
In Numbers: How Airbnb has conquered Paris


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