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City of Paris accused of encouraging denunciations with database of legal rentals
A contentious move by the City of Paris sees a list of legal rentals publicized online and Parisians reportedly encouraged to denounce each other. Unsurprisingly, officials face widespread condemnation for this controversial initiative while Airbnb launches a petition to prevent the government’s overzealous regulations damaging tourist rentals in the capital.
In its latest attack against furnished rentals, The City of Paris has launched a public database on tourist rentals for owners to register their properties online. Authorities have made public a list of properties permitted for use as furnished rentals on the city’s online database, opendata.paris.fr.
The initiative has been met with extensive criticism from publications, politicians and others who see it as a move to encourage residents to denounce their neighbors.
The officially stated purpose of the site — as detailed in the City’s press release — is to collect data on short-term rentals in the city in order to come up with new “regulatory solutions.” Yet, the move is being widely regarded as a method of pressuring seasonal rental websites and their users.
Parisians were quick to voice their disapproval of the policy, which, according to many, seems to incite residents to spy and report on their neighbors’ rental activities. This is already the case in Berlin, where city authorities have started a website on which individuals are encouraged to denounce fellow residents they suspect of engaging in illegal rental practice.
This has Parisians worried that the French capital is set to follow in Berlin’s footsteps, prompting many to call officials out on the move. Among the initiative’s most vocal critics is Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet a representative for the Republicans, who took to social media to share her ire, stating on Twitter: “Anne Hidalgo has created a new movement: the informers party.”
Unfortunately, this database is just one of the city’s new regulatory moves against tourist rentals. A law requiring all rental platform users to register with their municipality before being permitted to post an ad online may be in the works.
Major rental platform Airbnb has started a petition against the city’s overzealous regulations on rental activity in the capital, considering these measures as brakes to the beneficial growth of the collaborative economy in France.
“We believe that sharing housing with visitors contributes to regional development and benefits the local economy,” writes the group in its petition, calling for the government to “reconsider this unfair and disproportionate decision.”
“In the past year, the French have weathered a terrorist attack, strikes and floods” says Kathryn Brown of Paris Property Group. “In this environment, it seems foolhardy to create additional discord and adversity for the economy.”
Meanwhile, Airbnb has been cooperating with Parisian authorities of late, agreeing to clearly set out French rental regulations for users on the website and to collect tourist tax from each and every guest on behalf of the City.
Photo credit: Guilhem Vellut