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Paris mayor declares new war on Airbnb to stop city turning into 'museum'

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Paris mayor declares new war on Airbnb to stop city turning into 'museum'
Photo: AFP
15:36 CET+01:00
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has gone to battle once again with home-sharing giant Airbnb, saying that she wants to fine the company a record sum of €12.5 million as she fights to prevent the French capital being turned into a "museum".

It seems the war between the City of Paris and Airbnb is far from over. 

The rules around rentals on the home-sharing platform in Paris have already been tightened but the mayor isn't convinced they've go far enough to stop the city becoming "an open-air museum" which is reserved exclusively for tourists.

"Yes to the sharing economy. Yes to Parisians who rent their apartment a few days a year to have a small additional income. No to those who make money preying, destroying residential housing and risking making Paris a museum city."

Hidalgo has accused the home-sharing platform of breaking the law by listing 1,000 homes that have not been officially registered with the City of Paris. 

"We can not accept that Airbnb [and others like it] do not respect the law," the mayor said in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday. 
 
Since December 2017, anyone wanting to rent their French home on an online platform must register it and display a number on their ad in accordance with the Elan Law (Loi Elan).
   
The system allows authorities to ensure the property is not being rented for more than 120 days a year -- the maximum duration a person can rent out their main residence -- and also ensure they are paying their taxes.
 
French hotels sue Airbnb claiming 'unfair competition'
Photo: AFP
   
But many homeowners are flouting the rules and continue to advertise properties they have not declared.
 
Hidalgo wants to hold Airbnb to account and, according to the law, that means the company must pay a fine of €12,500 for each unregistered listing. 
 
But the mayor doesn't want to stop there -- Hidalgo is also calling for a considerable reduction in the number of nights people are allowed to rent out their property. 
 
"I have nothing against Parisians who rent their home a few days a year to make some cash," said the mayor. "The problem is those who own multiple properties who rent apartments all-year-round to tourists without declaring them, and the online platforms, which are accomplices, welcoming them. "
 
This isn't the first time Paris City Hall has taken umbrage with Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms.
 
Paris -- the world's third-most visited city, according to a Mastercard ranking -- is one of Airbnb's top markets, with some 65,000 homes listed and another 35,000 are available on rival platforms.
 
France to end 'law of the jungle' by cracking down on undeclared Airbnb listings
Photo: AFP
 
As a result, City Hall has faced complaints from hoteliers as well as locals who believe that holiday rentals are fuelling property speculation and pricing them out of the market.
   
"Home-sharing platforms are good because they allow people to increase their purchasing power and visit cities at a lower cost," Julien Denormandie, the junior minister responsible for housing, told France 2 television back in March 2018.
 
"But there are rules. It's now the law of the jungle."
 
However Airbnb has said it is already respecting the rules. 
 
"Airbnb has already implemented appropriate measures to help Parisian hosts rent out their homes in accordance with the applicable rules," said a spokesperson for the platform.
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