Could Airbnb rentals soon be banned in central Paris?

The Local/AFP
The Local/AFP - [email protected] • 6 Sep, 2018 Updated Thu 6 Sep 2018 10:10 CEST
Could Airbnb rentals soon be banned in central Paris?

The rules around Airbnb rentals in Paris have already been tightened but could the US home-sharing giant soon be shut out of the centre of the French capital altogether to prevent it becoming "an open-air museum"?


The Paris city council member in charge of housing said Thursday that he would propose outlawing home rentals via Airbnb and other websites in the city centre, accusing the service of forcing residents out of the French capital.
Ian Brossat told AFP that he would also seek to prohibit the purchase of secondary residences in Paris, saying such measures were necessary to keep the city from becoming an "open-air museum".
Banning Airbnb rentals in the central areas of Paris might be a source of regret for tourists but perhaps it will be good news for the declining number of locals who live in the area, Brossat argues.
"One residence out of every four no longer houses Parisians," said Brossat.
Photo: AFP
"I think we should prohibit the rental of entire apartments in the central arrondissements of Paris and allow only room rentals as was the case when Airbnb was first created," the elected official who has been in charge of housing in Paris since 2014, said in an interview with Le Parisien.
"If we don't do anything, there won't be any more locals: Like on the Ile Saint-Louis, we'll end up with a drop in the number of residents and food 
shops turned into clothing or souvenir stores," he said, referring to the Seine island in the shadow of the Notre-Dame cathedral.
"We'll be living in an open-air museum," he added.
He wants to forbid any short-term tourist rentals of entire apartments in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris, home to some of the world's most popular sites including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Louvre museum.
"In the beginning, Airbnb presented itself as a nice company allowing owners to rent their home for a few days a year, and tourists to find accommodation at prices lower than those of hotels," he added. "Today, we are no longer in the culture of sharing but in an economy of predators. 
But he says now "most homeowners now rent entire homes instead of a single room. Above all, more and more professionals are buying apartments or even entire buildings to turn them into cash machines."
Paris rolls out tough new rule on Airbnb rentals
Photo: AFP
Brossat believes that if Airbnb stopped operating in the centre of Paris this would "give the city back to the middle classes", highlighting the home-sharing site's threat to "the soul and identity of a number of neighbourhoods" in the French capital. 
"Do we want Paris to be a city which the middle classes can afford, or do we want it to be a playground for Saudi or American billionaires?" he said.
Brossat has had Airbnb and its rivals in his sights for years, and recently published a book assailing the US giant titled "Airbnb, or the Uberised City".
"If we do not regulate Airbnb, we won't have anyone living in our city centers," he said, adding that in the city's 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements (all located in the heart of Paris), 26 percent of properties are not lived in by Parisians. 
Ian Brossat told AFP that he would also seek to prohibit the purchase of secondary residences in Paris, saying such measures were necessary to keep the city from becoming an "open-air museum".
With some 60,000 apartments on offer in the city, Paris is the biggest market for Airbnb, which like other home-sharing platforms has come under increasing pressure from cities which claim it drives up rents for locals.
Airbnb paid French tax man just €93,000
Photo: AFP
According to the deputy mayor, the French capital has lost 20,000 homes, mostly in the centre of the city since the Airbnb boom. 
"Under the pressure of Airbnb, entire neighborhoods change. Food shops are replaced by clothes shops. Real estate speculation is gaining momentum," he said, adding that every major city in the world is facing the same problem. 
In a statement to AFP, Airbnb, estimated to be worth some $30 billion, countered that "One Parisian out of five currently uses Airbnb to top up their income and cope with living costs".
It also accused Brossat of "broadcasting the arguments of the hotel lobbies", which have long denounced lost revenues from tourists looking for less costly lodgings.
Brossat hopes the measures will be included in a law aimed at overhauling France's real estate laws to be debated this autumn.
The administration of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has already taken action against Airbnb and others, requiring homeowners to register with the city and limiting the number of rentals to 120 nights a year.
Last month the city said the total amount of fines levied against home rental platforms rose to 1.38 million euros ($1.60 million) from January to August 15, compared with 1.3 million euros for 2017 as a whole.


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