So you thought you could save money on your trip to Paris by renting an Airbnb? You might want to think again, because the company may be cutting 43,000 listings in the city of lights come June, should the municipality of Paris have its way.
According to Condé Nast Traveler, Paris is taking Airbnb to court after officials claimed that some 43,000 listings on the sharing company’s website are unregistered with the government. This is an issue, as Paris law currently restricts residents from renting out their homes for no more than 120 days a year.
Reuters reports that Ian Brossat, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of housing, said that Airbnb and other similar competitors ignored their instructions to take down any listings from the website that had lacked official registration numbers.
These registration numbers, Brossat said, help to make sure that companies don’t rent out properties for more than the allowed number of days in a year.
So now the city is suing the company and has asked for fines ranging between 1,000 to 5,000 euros per day per advertisement.
“While the decision in Paris was not unexpected, we remain disappointed that we aren’t so far able to collaborate with city authorities as effectively as we are in other major European cities, including Berlin, Barcelona and London,” spokesperson Aurelien Perol of Airbnb said in a statement to Global News.
“We continue to believe the decision will ultimately hurt local families – who should be front and centre of all decision making – and that it puts their needs behind the financial interests of big hotel chains and well-funded lobby groups.”
However, the company remains optimistic as it believes home sharing is “an integral part of tourism in Paris,” Perol adds.
“We are having constructive conversations with national governments and will continue working with Paris on rules that work for everyone – not just big businesses,” he says.
There are currently 65,000 listings in Paris on Airbnb, making it the number one city in the world in terms of the number of listings available on the website, Perol says.
It all started last year when Paris announced that it would be imposing a tourist tax starting in May, Traveler details.
This was followed by an announcement making it mandatory for landlords to register their properties with the city before listing them on Airbnb and other similar websites.
Similar moves and crackdown proceedings have been seen in other cities around the world, including cities like Amsterdam, New York, Santa Monica in California and even Vancouver, says Claire Newell of Travel Best Bets.
Newell believes these restrictions haven’t affected most tourists, other than those looking for long-term stays.
What travellers need to do now, though, is find out what the regulations are in the city where you plan to rent. If it’s a short-term stay (like a few days) you’re looking for, this won’t be something you need to worry about, she says. But if it’s for longer-term, or if it’s a really popular place, find out what those restrictions are and make sure that the renter is following the rules.
If you’re travelling to a place that doesn’t meet your accommodation needs, there are other options for staying in expensive cities for longer periods of time that can still save you money.
For example, home exchange is another option, as long as it’s done through a reputable website like HomeExchange.com, Newell says. Home exchanges allow you to switch homes with people from across the world.
But if you think booking with a hotel is more your speed, avoid third-party websites, Newell advises. Instead, you can browse them for pricing reference, but book directly with the hotel instead, because your chances of getting deals or added extras to your hotel booking is more likely.