Paris sues Airbnb over unregistered apartment listings

April 12 (UPI) — The city of Paris is suing Airbnb for “failing to respect local laws” with unregistered rental properties, and is asking the company to comply or remove tens of thousands of ads.

Included in the lawsuit are two other companies that offer similar services, Paris Attitude and Wimdu.

Since Dec. 1, the city has required furnished short-term rentals to be registered and said the three companies in the lawsuit “do not respect the legislation.”

During the last five years, Paris has lost at least 20,000 traditional homes to tourist rentals.

The new law caps the number of days rental days to 120 per year. The law also requires homeowners to display a registration number on listings so officials can track the process.

“To date, only 16.1 percent of nearly 60,000 Paris Airbnb ads have a registration number in proper form,” the city said.

Paris is asking the companies to register or withdraw the advertisements. Those who don’t comply could face fines of $1,233 per listing per day.

Airbnb said in a statement it’s disappointed by the decision, which it says “will hurt local families who share their homes and puts their needs behind the financial interests of big hotel chains and well-funded lobby groups.”

Paris officials say short-term rentals make it more lucrative for property owners to cater to tourists than long-term residents.

“What’s at stake for us is the very identity of Paris,” said Ian Brossat, Paris deputy mayor in charge of housing policy. “We can’t let Paris become a museum city where no one can afford to live.”

A hearing is scheduled for June 12.

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