AUTHORITIES in Paris are cracking down on illegal short-term holiday rentals which they say is driving up long-term residential rents.
A team of officers are visiting apartments whose owners are suspected of unlawfully renting to tourists.
Le Point has reported that officials believe that up to 70% of the 30,000 properties in Paris being offered for short-term rent to tourists are breaking the law. Anyone who rents out a second property to tourists must have appropriate authorisation from the city.
The team carried out 400 investigations in 2013, and five landlords were fined the maximum €25,000 penalty for breaking the law. In the first six months of this year, 10 landlords have been fined and another 13 are under investigation.
The city argues that the problem has been exacerbated by the likes of AirBnB, which says it has had 25,000 listings in Paris this year, and Sojourning.com, which has 2,000 properties for rent in the capital.
The rising popularity of short-term tourist lets is cheating local residents out of the housing market and depriving the city of revenue from tourists, officials believe.
Affordable housing for local residents was one of the election promises of mayor Anne Hidalgo. This initiative is intended to rein-in investors who buy properties to rent.
Properties in Paris can command up to €1,000-a-week in short-term rents on sites such as AirBnB, authorities say. That sum can be four times as high as long-term rents in the city which - according to a government study - have risen 43% in the decade to 2013.
Paris’s crackdown on illegal short-term letting has been welcomed by the hotel industry, which believes the activities of the likes of AirBnB and Sojourning.com amount to unfair competition.
There are more than 80,000 hotel rooms in the world’s most popular city for tourists, according to the Paris tourist office.
But AirBnB argues that it brings tourists to the city who may not otherwise visit, who have generated €185million for the city between 2012 and 2013.
France is AirBnB’s second largest market after the US, with an estimated 500,000 people using its services in 2013 alone.