In recent business news, there is an interesting article on the Reuters website about how the city of Paris is suing online marketplace and hospitality service Airbnd for posting illegal advertising. The city is asking for $14 million, and its mayor, Anne Hidalgo, announced the lawsuit to the press.
Under french law, home owners are allowed to rent out their homes for up to 120 days through hospitality services such as Airbnd. However, any rental advertisement must include a registration number to make it easier for the government to track, and the Airbnb advertisements in question did not do so. The city passed the laws in 2018 in an attempt to curb what many see as an industry that needs more regulation.
Many in France have worried that services like Airbnb will put traditional hotels out of business and will turn residential neighborhoods into areas where tourists stay temporarily rather than Parisians live permanently. The lawsuit is a clear shot across the bow, and many on both sides of the debate over the role of online hospitality services will be watching it closely because there are other cities around the world popular with tourists where similar concerns have been raised.
The company said in a response that they are implementing changes to their platform that make it easier for french property owners to post rental information without violating any laws. They added, however, that they felt that the laws they are accused of violating are not consistent with larger European rules and regulations and will lead to inefficiency in the Parisian tourism industry.
Airbnb was founded in San Francisco in 2008, and it has helped transform how travelers and tourists book lodging. Paris has long been a popular tourist destination, and the city is the biggest market for the hospitality firm outside of the United States.