Paris municipality asks court to fine Airbnb over unregistered listings

PARIS (Reuters) - The municipality of Paris has asked a French court to urgently fine Airbnb and two other small companies for unauthorized short-term letting, said an official with the city’s administration.

FILE PHOTO: A woman talks on the phone at the Airbnb office headquarters in the SOMA district of San Francisco, California, U.S., August 2, 2016. REUTERS/Gabrielle Lurie/File Photo

A hearing at a Paris court is scheduled for June 12.

Founded in 2008 in San Francisco, Airbnb matches people wishing to rent out all or part of their homes to temporary guests, via a website.

Ian Brossat, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of housing, told Le Parisien newspaper that Airbnb and other competitors had failed to take down listings lacking official registration numbers.

The registration number, he said, helps ensure the companies do not rent out properties for more than the 120 nights a year allowed.

Brossat said the municipality had asked for fines ranging from 1,000-5,000 euros ($1,236.4-$6,182) per day and per advertisement.

“This disappointing decision is primarily detrimental to Paris’ inhabitants,” an Airbnb spokeswoman said in an emailed statement, regarding the move by the Paris municipality.

She added that Airbnb was keen to work with the Paris municipality regarding how best to regulate this area.

Earlier this month, a Singapore court fined two Airbnb hosts a total of $45,800 each for unauthorized short-term letting.

Several cities throughout the world have expressed concerns that platforms such as Airbnb might stand as unfair competitors to hotels.

France is Airbnb’s second-largest market after the United States. Paris, one of the most visited cities in the world, is its biggest single market, with around 65,000 homes listed.

Reporting by Myriam Rivet; Writing by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Dominique Vidalon/Sudip Kar-Gupta