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Money Matters and Legal / In Law

French deputies hope to require Airbnb to verify ownership of Paris apartments listed on the site

Paris apartment

French deputies are supporting an amendment that may make it illegal for tenants to sublet their properties on short-term rental websites such as Airbnb without their landlord’s explicit approval.

The City of Paris has taken on short-term rentals of late, from sending investigators to tourist areas to identify residential apartments rented out short term to negotiating a deal with Airbnb for the platform to collect a tourist tax from its users. A new proposed measure could see tenants required to prove explicit permission from their landlords in order to advertise their Paris apartment on Internet rental platforms.

French deputies recently adopted an amendment to the Digital Republic bill, rendering subletting without permission illegal. To be implemented, the full text of the amendment still needs to be adopted by the National Assembly and Senate.

Currently, proof of authorization is not required and the tenant is simply presumed to be acting in accordance with the terms of his or her lease. The new law would see heavy penalties befall individuals who fail to provide documents proving they are allowed to sublet their property. A tenant advertising a property without permission can be fined up to 25,000 euros while the rental platform risks a hefty 80,000 euros.

Numerous government officials have criticized the measure, including Digital Minister Axelle Lemaire, who dubbed it premature and has vowed to seek alternatives to it. Many have also found the proposed fines to be excessive and far higher than they need to be to discourage the practice.

Kathryn Brown of Paris Property Group finds that “France continues to try to make it more difficult for regular people to afford living in Paris.  Now they are going after people who would rent their primary residences when they go on vacation, giving their landlord the final decision on whether they can offset their costs with a bit of revenue while they are out of town.”

Meanwhile, Airbnb’s success in Paris has gained the city 1.2 million euros between the months of October and December 2015 alone. This sum represents the tourist tax individuals have always been obligated to pay but were neglecting to do so until August last year, when a decree saw Airbnb begin to collect the tax itself to pay it directly to the city. It is expected the city will collect 90 million euros in tourist tax in 2016.

Photo credit: Flickr / decor8 holly

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