Airbnb is being sued by the municipality of Paris for reportedly listing unauthorized houses for short-term renting on their website. A hearing has been scheduled for June 12 in a Paris court. The lawsuit, which also involves two other smaller firms, was brought against the companies for failing to take down listings of properties that lacked official registration numbers.
Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows homeowners to rent their properties directly to consumers for short-term stays.
A law passed by the French city last year limits the number of nights a homeowner can rent their property to 120 nights a year. In order to keep track of the number of nights a property has been rented, unique registration numbers were issued. Paris is suing the companies for failing to remove ads that lacked those unique identifiers.
The hotel industry has accused Airbnb of being an unfair competitor to their enterprise. Airbnb says that home-sharing rules in Paris are complex and put the needs of everyday Parisians “behind the financial interests of big hotel chains and well-funded lobby groups.”
The San-Francisco-based giant says it has tried to compromise with the city’s government. They point out that they proposed an automated 120-day limit for all Parisian listings, but that the city’s government refused it.
Deputy Mayor of Paris Ian Brossat said the city is seeking damages totaling 1,000-5,000 euros (roughly $1,200-$6,000) per day and per advertisement.
The move comes after a court in Singapore fined two Airbnb hosts nearly $46,000 each for violating that city’s short-term renting regulations.
Airbnb called the decision by the Parisian government “disappointing” and said it would primarily harm Parisian citizens, but said it would continue to work with city’s government on ways to best regulate their industry.
France is Airbnb’s second largest market after the U.S., with Paris being its single-biggest market with 65,000 homes listed.
Photo by Open Grid Scheduler via Flickr