“We fix the rate of the tourist tax, but we have no means of checking the real occupation of the various accommodation offers”, explains the elected official.
Philippe Augier, mayor of Deauville (Calvados), estimated on Friday January 10 on franceinfo that “cannot go against the Airbnb phenomenon”, which will pay 58 million euros in tourist tax to 28,000 municipalities, more than double that in 2018. “An obvious underestimation”, for the mayor who regrets the absence of a “means of controlling the actual occupancy of the various accommodation offers” by tourist apartment rental platforms.
franceinfo: How much will the city of Deauville receive from Airbnb?
Philippe Augier: This has not yet been announced to us. Last year, we received 82,000 euros. 58 million between 28,000 municipalities, even if we don't count Paris, that's 2,000 euros per municipality. We can imagine that this is not the reality of things. This is not the reality of tourist taxes. You know that this amount is declarative, that is to say that we do not have the means of control. It is Airbnb which decides how much they will give to the different municipalities. We set the tourist tax rate, but we have no way of controlling the actual occupancy of the different accommodation offers. It is obvious that as long as it is declarative in this way, we will be, if I may say so, underpaid.
Do you think the amount is underestimated?
This is of course very largely underestimated. The controls are difficult. There are measures that have been taken anyway by successive governments. In particular, today, there is a declaration obligation on the part of furnished rental companies. And obviously, from the moment the lessor declares that he is renting out his apartment, we begin to have a means of control, but apart from that, there is an obvious underestimation.
How can you resist Airbnb when you are a municipality?
Airbnb is not only the raising of the tourist tax which poses problem. First of all, I fundamentally think that this is a societal trend and that we will not go against the Airbnb phenomenon. Except that it is necessary to make so that the companies which live and which earn a lot of money around the world thanks to this new economic model are in a situation of competition with the companies known as normal, egalitarian. Today, rules are imposed on hoteliers, tourist residences, hotel residences, etc. Extremely restrictive rules.
What impact has this Airbnb phenomenon had in Deauville?
First, they are not on an equal footing on the fiscal, administrative, regulatory constraints, etc. This is a real subject. The second subject is that it completely disrupts the life of buildings. People come to spend a night or have no respect for the building in which they come to sleep, so they disturb the neighbors, create additional problems in terms of garbage, noise, etc. So there is a real disturbance of the buildings. Besides, Airbnb’s general management is aware of the reality of this problem. Finally, I believe that this is an inevitable societal problem. But we have to set a certain number of rules which respect competition, competition, but which, above all, ensure that it does not disturb the rest of the population.
Following this interview, Airbnb wanted to react via a press release ensuring that, contrary to what Philippe Augier claims “the amount [de la taxe de séjour] collected and donated by Airbnb for each municipality is in no way the result of an Airbnb decision “. Depending on the platform, this amount “varies according to the tariff imposed by the municipality and the number of travelers who have stayed annually in the municipality through the platform.” Airbnb says it has “collected and donated at the end of 2019 more than 133,000 euros of tourist tax to the municipality of Deauville, in application of the rates set by the City of Deauville.”