Tribune. In France, it is on the scale of metropolises and smaller cities that the presence of the American tourist accommodation platform Airbnb remains most visible. The company is crystallizing some of the main challenges of French urban policies and is already one of the major subjects that will fuel the future municipal electoral debates in March 2020.
To hear some elected officials whose municipality is colonized or cannibalized by the multinational, there would now be a before and after Airbnb. Because after having upset the world tourist accommodation system as it existed until 2008 (date of the birth of the company) and seduced millions of users – tourists or renters -, the firm has established itself in our cities.
The consequences are legion: imbalance in the rental market linked to the misappropriation of goods hitherto reserved for residential rental in favor of tourist accommodation for short periods; worsening of the housing crisis, especially for the poorest households – single-parent families and students; real estate inflation; relegation of precarious populations to the outskirts of cities, to the suburbs or to peri-urban areas; proliferation of professional multi-advertisers with low virtuous real estate practices; deterioration of neighborly relations between residents and between permanent residents and tourists; desertification of city centers by the local population; unfair competition with hoteliers; gentrification and museification of historic centers; closure, or even disappearance, of local shops; loss of neighborhood identity; tax optimization on the part of the company – admittedly legal, but morally reprehensible; loss of revenue for municipalities which do not collect, or at random, the tourist tax, etc.
Nearly 60,000 offers in Paris
Any of these reasons alone would explain the political and public positions unfavorable to the digital platform, coming from different urban actors, which derive their justification and legitimacy from the denunciation of the most negative and most negative aspects. controversial Airbnb. They have multiplied the attempts of concrete regulation, towards the owners – obligation to compensate any accommodation transformed into tourist furnished, threshold of 120 days of hiring per year, compulsory registration number – or towards the company itself – legal summonses , including the highly publicized notice initiated by Paris in 2017, annual transmission to the town hall of the list of rental addresses and overnight stays, etc. Faced with a state that they consider hesitant, slow and reluctant to give them more power, and faced with a European Union deemed too conciliatory, even complacent, towards Airbnb, cities want to take advantage of the prerogatives that they consider necessary to manage this unprecedented situation.