French cities are working to wreck Airbnb’s summer time

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PARIS — As France heads out for the summer time break, its mayors are turning the screw on short-term rental platforms.

Inside just a few weeks, a string of French cities have imposed new restrictions on short-term lodging platforms like Airbnb, Abritel and — and Paris is cooking up extra restrictions nonetheless. 

“We need to seize the chance of COVID to substantiate the downward pattern in vacationer leases. We now have proof that Airbnb does have an effect on housing,” Ian Brossat, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s deputy for housing, informed POLITICO. 

Because the COVID disaster successfully emptied giant city areas of vacationers, cities throughout Europe are fortunately considering life with much less Airbnb. 

In France, the U.S. platform’s second-biggest market, Airbnb is more and more specializing in rural areas — the place the platform is welcomed with open arms by native mayors — to restrict its reliance on regulation-heavy cities. On Wednesday, the corporate mentioned stays in France’s rural areas account for 45 p.c of bookings for this summer time, in contrast with 24 p.c again in 2019. 

After a string of French cities, together with vacationer hotspots Good, Saint-Malo and Ajaccio, both formally adopted or mulled new restrictions within the final three weeks, Airbnb’s rural technique now appears extra prescient.

On Thursday, a Paris courtroom dominated that the corporate should pay an €8 million wonderful to town of Paris for permitting postings with out registration numbers on its platform. The identical day, Airbnb introduced that each one hosts who want to hire their flats within the French capital will want a registration quantity; in any other case company gained’t be capable to e book their lodging. The requirement will likely be rolled out in different French cities by the tip of the 12 months. 

Airbnb mentioned that Thursday’s ruling will “haven’t any influence” on its Paris enterprise as a result of the corporate already carried out obligatory registration of listings. Nonetheless, the corporate mentioned the courtroom determination was “questionable” and is contemplating an attraction. Airbnb declined to touch upon the brand new native guidelines. 

Southern crack down 

In June, 4 southern cities adopted or threatened to undertake new restrictions for vacationer leases to regulate the quantity of housing placed on the short-term market.  

After years of lobbying by the resort trade, which sees Airbnb as a rival and a menace, Montpellier voted to restrict the rental of second houses to at least one per family, with a purpose to stop folks from shopping for homes solely to place them on the short-term rental market. In the long term, all listings on platforms corresponding to Airbnb would require a registration quantity, as is already the case in greater cities corresponding to Paris.

Marseille — France’s second-largest metropolis — agreed to ask the bigger metropolitan space to additionally restrict the variety of second house leases to at least one, and to make it harder to transform housing into short-term vacationer lodging. 

Good Mayor Christian Estrosi, a longtime foe of Airbnb, who earlier this 12 months unsuccessfully tried to crack down on the platform, mentioned his city would restrict authorizations to keep away from an enormous inflow of vacationers over the summer time. The mayor of the Corsican capital Ajaccio has additionally mulled new laws. 

In Brittany too, the touristic city of Saint-Malo has imposed quotas on vacationer lodging, and householders will be capable to convert just one dwelling for short-rental functions.

It is unclear when these efforts could have the specified influence.

Dominique Debuire, the president of the Nationwide Union for the Promotion of Vacation Leases, a commerce group representing platforms corresponding to Abritel and Airbnb, mentioned the brand new push was unlikely to have an effect on this 12 months’s summer time season, and that the impact will develop into clearer in six months to a 12 months.

Municipalities, he mentioned, are dealing with “an affordable selection between vacationer attractiveness and the satisfaction of the residents of metropolis facilities, for which it does develop into troublesome to search out lodging.”

Extra to return

French cities aren’t carried out with Airbnb but.

Final month, the federal government issued a long-awaited government order that makes it tougher for homeowners to transform industrial properties like places of work and warehouses into vacationer lodging.

Since 2015, 89,000 sq. meters of economic house in Paris has been transformed into resort lodging, together with short-term leases and conventional inns, in accordance with Le Parisien.

Cities which have carried out registration-number obligations will successfully be capable to veto such conversions. However first, they might want to outline the precise guidelines for when properties will be transformed, and put them to a vote. In Paris, Brossat plans a metropolis council vote by the tip of the 12 months, for the foundations to use in 2022. 

Paris additionally desires management over what number of days householders can hire their primary residence, and to have the ability to ban vacationer leases in some areas. To that finish, town is pushing for amendments in a invoice that goals to provide extra energy to native authorities, which is now underneath dialogue in parliament.

Whether or not Paris’ push will likely be profitable is unclear. In contrast to the capital’s metropolis council, neither the French Nationwide Meeting nor the Senate has a left-leaning majority, and the federal government is just not in favor of reducing the 120-day restrict for renting a primary residence.

To not point out that Parisians themselves are proud of the present guidelines.

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