Holiday rental and Airbnb hosts in Nice have welcomed a ruling by an administrative court to reverse the mayor’s ban on holiday rentals, which was intended to last from February 6 until at least February 20.
Mayor Christian Estrosi introduced the ban to help curb Covid-19 cases, with the Alpes-Maritimes department particularly badly affected by the epidemic.
But his ban was reversed on Monday, February 8, after the holiday rental union, the Union des Professionnels de la Location Touristique (UPLT), took the decision to court.
Isabelle Nicolas is the moderator of a private Facebook group for holiday rental and Airbnb hosts in Nice. She told The Connexion she was glad the decision had been overturned.
“We were pretty sure that the decision would be reversed as it is discriminatory, considering that hotels are allowed to remain open,” she said.
Nice was the only city in France to place a ban on holiday rentals, which, like hotels, are allowed to remain open in France.
The national government has not placed any ban on inter-regional travel or demanded holiday rentals or hotels close.
“If the health situation demands that we close, then of course, we will close,” Ms Nicolas said.
“But the hotels are not closed so it is a sort of discrimination. There is no reason why people cannot come to stay at our holiday rentals if they can go to hotels.
“It is not more justifiable to close holiday rentals in Nice, even if there are a lot of Covid cases here. There are other places in France with a lot of cases too.
In Nice, there are 452 recorded cases of Covid-19 for every 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 207 at a national level.
Mr Estrosi had said he wanted to ban holiday rentals to discourage tourists coming to Nice and aggravating the Covid situation there.
“It is in nobody's interest that, in order to scrape together a few days or weeks of rent, a collective risk should be taken by allowing a large influx of at-risk people,” he said.
But the administrative court ruled against him.
The judge said that the order “infringed the right of citizens to use, enjoy and dispose of all their property and the freedom of trade and industry of professionals whose activity involves seasonal rentals”.
The judge gave multiple reasons to explain the decision. They said that while the Covid situation in the Alpes-Maritimes department was worrying, state representatives there had not forbidden people from travelling to the department.
The judge also stated that there had not been any great influx of tourists to the Côte d’Azur, where Nice is located, and that holiday rentals were already following strict sanitary measures set out by the UPLT.
Ms Nicolas said she did not think Airbnb or holiday rentals were more dangerous than hotels.
“On the Airbnb website there are recommended protocols and I believe people follow them. It is quite simple,” she said.
“The thing is, if we do not follow these rules or keep the rooms clean, then customers will write that in their reviews and other travellers won’t come to our apartments. So by principle and by obligation, we follow the sanitary protocols.”
Mr Estrosi has said he will appeal the court’s decision.