Paris court fines Airbnb $9.6 million for illegal listings

A court in Paris has fined Airbnb, the popular marketplace for vacation rentals. According to the court, the tech company has failed to comply with local regulation when it comes to listing your apartment on the platform. Airbnb should pay $9.6 million (€8.08 million) to the city of Paris.

This decision has been years in the making. Like many major cities around the world, Airbnb has had some impact on the housing market in Paris. Many apartments disappeared from the housing market as they became full-time Airbnb apartments, leading to high rents.

In 2017, it became a bit more difficult to list your home on Airbnb if you live in Paris. For instance, you can’t rent an apartment for more than 120 nights a year. This way, landlords would think twice before switching from full-time tenants to Airbnb customers.

As there are multiple vacation rental platforms, the city of Paris implemented a registration system. If you want to list your apartment on Airbnb, you have to get a registration number first. Platforms like Airbnb would have to ask for that registration number and cap listings to 120 nights per year.

At first, the mayor’s office flagged around 1,000 apartments that were not properly registered. They sent the list to Airbnb, asking the company to take down those listings.

In 2019, the city of Paris sued Airbnb for the same reason. Thanks to some regulatory changes, the responsibility was shared between the hosts and the platform. And it leads us to today’s fine.

“This is the first time in France that a local government wins a case against a tech giant,” Paris Deputy Mayor Ian Brossat said in a statement. “Platforms are finally held accountable. A wonderful win for Parisians.”

Airbnb told the AFP that 95% of listings in Paris have been reserved for less than 120 nights in the past year. It means that those last 5% of listings represent much more than 5% of nights.