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Money Matters and Legal / In Law

Paris continues to fight illegal tourist rentals with new public database

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The City of Paris has decided to make public the list of tourist rental properties registered by their owners, and thus legally allowed to operate. The move aims to encourage homeowners engaging in short-term rentals to comply with the city’s regulations.

European cities are continuing to crack down on illegal tourist rentals hosted on platforms such as Airbnb. While Berlin has started a website encouraging residents to denounce owners who are renting out their homes without prior permission, the City of Paris has launched its own online database.

On opendata.paris.fr, Parisian owners can register their homes on the list of properties having gained change of usage permits — from residential to commercial. As of yet only 107 properties have been registered, with 23 of them in the 4th arrondissement, the district containing the Marais area, which is very popular with tourists and especially monitored by city inspectors.

This figure pales in comparison to the 20,000 homes the city estimates are illegally rented out to tourists in the capital. Under the ALUR real estate law, owners can rent out their primary residence for no more than 4 months per year. To rent out a secondary property — or a primary home for longer than 4 months — the owner has to register it as a commercial property.

Individuals exceeding this timeframe without the city’s authorization risk a fine of 25,000 euros — though the Mayor wishes to raise this penalty to 100,000 euros, to match the fine imposed on Berlin homeowners breaking the rules.

The data will be updated monthly, Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a statement. The City is also planning on building on the list, to include different types of properties that have obtained a change of usage authorization — such as office space converted into hotel accommodation, for instance.

The move has been slammed by critics claiming that the city is inciting residents to denounce one another. However, Mathias Vicherat, a spokesman for the Mayor, has said that the objective is in no way to inspire denunciation, as this would be “contrary to the city’s values.”

Instead, Vicherat says the initiative is intended to “encourage a sort of burst of civic conscience, for people to start playing by the rules without waiting to be reported on by their neighbors.”

Paris has recently been intensifying efforts to track down rental fraudsters, with several investigations undertaken in recent months. Parisian officials inspected 98 buildings last May, and over 1,200 homes in early January.

Airbnb announced last year that Paris was the rental platform’s top destination, with close to 50,000 listings in the French capital. Protests by hoteliers led to Airbnb agreeing to collect tourist tax directly from users — 0.83€ per person per night — to give to the city.

Photo credit: Pixabay / Skeeze

 

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