Updated at 1:38 p.m PST with comments from Airbnb.
Updated at 5:30 a.m PST with additional comments from Paris mayor’s office.
In the latest chapter of an ongoing battle over the sharing economy, the city of Paris is asking residents to squeal on any neighbors who have not properly registered a residence that’s being used as an Airbnb.
Paris officials announced today they had created a new section of the city’s open data portal that lists residents who have registered as an Airbnb host. There are 126 residences listed as being Airbnb locations on the site.
Here is the map of those sites:
So, there is a gap. And because hosts are supposed to be paying tourist taxes to the city, just like the ones paid by hotels, the city would like to close that gap.
In an interview with Europe1, Mathias Vicherat, chief of staff for the city’s mayor, said he hopes residents will use the information on the open data portal to put pressure on their neighbors who are not complying with the rules. People found in violation of the city’s Airbnb regulations could face a fine of $28,000.
“We hope that this causes a shock of civic conscience, and people begin to follow the rules on their own, without waiting to be eventually reported by a neighbor,” he said.
This gauntlet is just the latest one thrown down in the tense relationship between Paris and Airbnb.
As the number of Airbnb listings in Paris has grown, many residents have complained that their neighborhoods are being transformed from residential into tourist zones.
And hotel owners complained that the competition was unfair because Airbnb rentals weren’t subject to the same rules and taxes. Last year, Airbnb reached a settlement with Paris and agreed to start collecting those taxes in the hopes of smoothing out its image in this critical market.
“We want to make sure that hosts do comply with local laws and regulations,” Airbnb cofounder Brian Chesky said last year. “So whatever we can do to cooperate, we would like to do that.”
[UPDATED at 5:30 a.m. PST] The Paris mayor’s office made an additional statement to Europe1, insisting that the purpose of the new release was not to get neighbors to denounce each other.
In addition to Vicherat’s previous statement, he had told Europe1 that the mayor’s office would create an email form to let neighbors report each other:
However, that paragraph was deleted from the Europe1 story and replaced with another quote from Vicherat: “It is not a site to denounce a neighbor.”
[UPDATED at 1:38 p.m. PST] In a statement emailed to us, Airbnb spokesman Peter Huntingford wanted to clarify that the issue raised by the city of Paris related to people who were renting their apartments for four months or longer.
Under a law passed in 2014, anyone can rent out their home without permission or a permit for short terms. Last year, after Airbnb began collecting tourist taxes, it delivered almost $1.36 million in tax revenue to Paris in three months. He noted that tourist tax on any reservation on Airbnb is automatically collected and remitted in Paris.
“Paris has clear home sharing rules that allow local residents to share their space for up to 120 days without a permit, sending a simple message to locals that everyone can benefit from visitors to their communities,” Huntingford wrote. “The actions announced by City Hall today are confusing and misleading, and refer only to properties shared for more than 120 days. We too oppose unwelcome commercial operators and want to work with Paris on progressive measures to promote the rules and build an open, transparent and responsible home sharing community.”
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