Illegal Property Rentals Are Common in Paris
Many people who live in Paris rent their property to tourists. This is a common way for them to make some extra money because the French capitol is one of the most popular tourists destinations in the world. However, Paris has laws regarding local people who rent their property. For example, a property cannot be rented for a period of longer than 120 days. A person must also disclose all of his or her rental activities to local authorities. despite these laws, Parisians have been constantly attempting to get around them. Many of the guilty parties have taken advantage of websites like Airbnb where people can rent out their properties. The website handles all of the paperwork and makes the transaction very simple.
A total of 31 Paris residents were caught illegally renting their properties during the first half of 2017. These 31 people were fined a combined 615,000 euros. This is up significantly from previous years. Judges in Paris courts used to be relatively lenient regarding the amounts of fines they would hand down to people who did not abide by the city's rental laws. There was an assumption that many of the people were unaware they were breaking these laws. However, the fines have increased because it is apparent in many cases that the people know about the laws and are deliberately breaking them. Therefore, judges are showing no mercy in many cases.
Airbnb disputes the fact that most of the people who are renting their properties illegally are using their service to circumvent French rental laws. The company says that less than one percent of renters in Paris actively use the Airbnb service. That having been said, the problem is so widespread that there are now 25 people who have been assigned to investigate illegal rentals on a full-time basis in Paris.
The Paris police have issued a statement on the matter. They want people to understand that they are not targeting Paris residents who rent their property to generate a crucial form of income that they need to survive. One the contrary, they are going after wealthier individuals who know what they are doing is wrong and do it anyway to make a large amount of extra cash on the side. Failure of property owners to pay taxes on their rental income is another issue that Paris authorities are looking into. It remains to be seen if the fines will have any effect.
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