Battle against Airbnb: Paris verbalizes, New York attack

Like Paris, Berlin or Barcelona, ​​New York is also trying to crack down on these tourist hirings, accused of helping to reduce the supply of affordable housing, against a backdrop of multiple complaints from residents faced with the parade of tourists in their building.

The mayor of New York has sued Monday a real estate group accused of renting unlawfully on Airbnb about 130 apartments, new episode of the battle between the city platform and professional rental, accused of contributing to soaring rents.

According to the complaint, the city accuses the Metropolitan Property Group (MPG), a large New York real estate company, five of its agents and 18 affiliates, of renting apartments through Airbnb in at least five New York buildings – four in the heart of Manhattan, one in East Harlem – in violation of a New York law prohibiting rental for less than 30 days when the official occupant of the apartment is absent.

MPG, the agents and the companies would have received about 21 million dollars from the rental of these 130 apartments, corresponding to some 55,000 overnight stays, according to the text of the summons, which presents MPG as one of the main hirers of the platform to New York.

The complaint, filed in the New York State Supreme Court, says the apartments were offered via some 250 ads representing 101 different accounts on Airbnb. If the names associated with these accounts differ, the phone numbers are often the same, says the city.

Contacted, a lawyer from MPG refuted all charges.

The city “has taken a publicity stunt, but it’s just inaccurate,” said Doug Pick.

According to him, of the five officers incriminated in the complaint, three have not worked for MPG since 2017 and the other two are the owner of MPG and his wife, implicated as such. And the 18 accused companies have no affiliation with MPG.

Why would a lessor like MPG “compete with himself by offering his flats via Airbnb?”, He said. “It does not mean anything”.

If the role of MPG is disputed, the presence of professional hirers on Airbnb is not, even if the platform ensures they are marginal.

“The illegal hotels deprive the New Yorkers of valuable housing and destabilize our neighborhoods,” said the mayor Democrat Bill de Blasio in a statement, saying he decided to “crack down” against “professional operators.”

In early January, however, the city suffered a defeat: a federal judge suspended the entry into force of a decree forcing Airbnb to communicate to the city the list of its hosts from February, considering it unconstitutional. However, a judgment is still expected on the merits.

Record fines for illegal tourist rentals in Paris
The amount of fines imposed to punish illegal tourist rentals in Paris has almost doubled in 2018 to reach 2.1 million euros in 2018 in a context of strengthened controls and convictions hailed by the deputy’s housing assistant. the mayor of Paris, Ian Brossat. In 2017, the total amount of these fines reached 1.3 million euros.

“This record shows the effectiveness of our policy that is beginning to bear fruit,” said the elected Paris PCF in an interview with the Parisian, noting also that “tourism rental professionals who turn their property into a machine cash are punished more severely than in the past. “

According to figures released by the daily, 118 convictions were pronounced in the capital last year for illegal rentals of tourist furniture.

For Ian Brossat, who points out that the number of ads posted on rental platforms type Airbnb, Homeway or Abritel, for example, has stabilized for a little over a year, the “next challenge is to recover the housing become tourist furniture “to” stop the haemorrhage of the Parisian population “.

“Our goal is not to kill the offer of tourist rentals, but to regulate so that this market does not compete with that of housing,” said the elected, stating that the legal advertisements “are intended to continue”.

However, he declares that his proposal to ban Airbnb rentals in the center of Paris “will be a structuring topic of the next municipal”.

The Good Corner also in the crosshairs
Ian Brossat also explains to Parisian that the mayor of Paris account “imminently” seize the possibility opened by the law Elan (Evolution of housing, development and digital) to sanction the platforms up to 50,000 euros by illegal advertisement.

“It is not normal that only fraudulent owners are convicted, and platforms that do not comply with regulations must also be sanctioned,” he says.

Airbnb, as well as Paris Attitude and Wimdu, were sued last April by the Paris city hall, which accuses them of not respecting the rules governing the rental of furnished and contribute to the drying up of the traditional real estate market that translated by a flight prices to rent.

The Californian platform was also summoned before the Commercial Court of Paris by the Union of trades and industries of the hotel industry (Umih) last November, for “unfair competition”.

Several sites offering furnished tourist rentals, including Airbnb and the Bon Coin in particular, had committed last June to the government to implement from January 2019 an automatic blocking of ads beyond the legal ceiling of 120 nights, which applies to principal residences throughout France.

This commitment relates only to announcements concerning properties located in Paris and in major French cities.

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