The City of Paris Suing Airbnb
On Thursday, a Paris official announced that the city was suing the popular travel site Airbnb, accusing it of violating city ordinances relating to short-term property leasing. The lawsuit also names two other similar websites: Wimdu and Paris Attitude.
Ian Brossat, who is the assistant housing commissioner for Paris, ssid that the three companies would be issued a summons to appear before the Paris District Court on June 12 at 9:30 a.m.
The city, like many like it around the world, has been tightening restrictions on companies like Airbnb, due to complaints that have come from both the city's many hotels and from its local residents, who believe the services have driven the prices of housing up.
In November of last year, Paris enacted a law that limited the number of days someone could lease their property on a short-term basis, to 120 days. Beginning a month later, those who list ads on the sites have been required to provide a registration number with their listings, in order for the city to ascertain that they are complying with the law.
The city's lawsuit claims that Airbnb and the other two sites have failed to remove listings that have not contained registration numbers, as they are required to do by law. The city asserts that they found more than 40,000 ads that failed to provide registration numbers. Brossat says that if the sites fail to remove the ads in question, according to the law, they face fines ranging anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 euros a day per violation.
In response to lawsuit, Airbnb said that it was disappointed. In a statement, it said that the Paris law was both confusing and complex, and that it was not well suited for individual property owners. The company further said that it was willing to work with the city to create clearer and simpler rules that could be more easily applied.
Airbnb also said that Paris should follow the measures of other European cities regarding their services. They said Barcelona, London and Berlin had all worked with the company to implement rules and regulations that were easy to follow.
Paris is one of the most popular locations on Airbnb. The site currently has more than 60,000 property listings for city, which is an amount almost comparable with the city's 80,000 hotel rooms. More than 30,000 property listings are available for the city on other sites as well.
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