Air dates: Thursday, December 26 11:00 pm ET Friday, December 27 2:00 am ET
A Boston woman scores her dream job transfer to Paris, and her boyfriend settles for an unpaid sabbatical to join her. However, he's looking to reap the benefits of her new salary with a large, modern property.
I was pleased as punch to learn that the European Union court ruled in the favor of Airbnb and against a French tourism and hotel association, believe it or not. If you have followed my missives about the rental regulations in Paris that I believe are counter-productive to their goals by creating even more housing shortages, raising rents and turning law-abiding homeowners into criminals...then you know why I'd be on the side of Airbnb.
According to the European court of justice, Airbnb is just an “information society service,” and not a real estate agency. Duh. I could have told them that. The point is that it doesn't require a real estate license to operate in France, as Madame le Maire Anne Hidalgo, the hotels and others would prefer. All it does is match a landlord with a tenant, and does not act as a broker or agent. It is being classified as an “information society service.” They don't like this “information society service." because they claim it presents unfair competition to licensed tourism operators.
Bah, humbug. We now use the term "an Airbnb" as a noun for any short-term rental property, represented by an agency or not, as that's just an easy way out by lumping every rental apartment under one title. The big complaint by cities across the globe is that Airbnb is changing the face of various neighborhoods by creating even more transiency than they already have. Even a Luxembourg court wants Airbnb to follow the same accounting, insurance and financial obligations as all the traditional providers of real estate. But, it's not an agency. It allows the owners to set their own prices and rent their properties wherever and however they like. Like an online "dating service" that matches two people for the purposes of forming a relationship, and which has no responsibility for their actions, Airbnb is the same. We cannot blame Airbnb for the experience both the renter and the landlord have in the relationship Airbnb facilitated.
From my perspective, everyone needs to step back and understand what's really happening here. Did Airbnb create the problem or did it fulfill a need to solve a problem? If the need wasn't there, Airbnb wouldn't have been so successful so fast. This is what I want lawmakers to fully comprehend. We live in a growing transient society and our needs have changed. We need temporary housing to satisfy the transiency that comes with our ability to work from anywhere in the world. During the ongoing transportation strikes in Paris and all over France, I can assure you that this ability to work long distance has come in very handy indeed.
Transiency is not going away. It's growing and its needs are growing with that. Platforms that can fulfill these needs will prosper, like it or not by the competitors that aren't as futuristically thinking as they are. And in our capitalistic world, competition is what drives an improvement of services for the consumer. Unfortunately, the Paris City Hall and the tourism association aren't going to give up. This complaint started in 2015, but they want to regulate Airbnb in the worst kind of way, so they will seek out other ways. In fact, the EU is looking at ways of regulating online businesses in general.
My hope is that someone with some real common sense will come along and take a different perspective on the issue so that everyone wins...the landlord and the tenant, the city and it's associations, the businesses and their clients, etc., etc. Sadly, I don't have much faith in that and expect this saga to continue harming everyone and everything in its path along the way.
This is the last issue of French Property Insider for the year...50 issues a year since 2001, believe it or not.
P.S. Don't miss our newest House Hunters International episode TONIGHT! "Bostonians Go For Broke in Paris" - See our ad at the top of the newsletter for all the details!
January's Après-Midi: January 10, 2019
Kim Bingham, Real Estate & International Financing Professional
As the director of the international financing agency Private Rate, Kim has become a go-to person for loans to US buyers in France. Her seven years of experience in French real estate range from being Adrian’s top property search consultant in Paris to working as a real estate agent for Paris luxury apartments and French Chateaux. This before founding what is now a seven-member multilingual team of international mortgage brokers at Private Rate in 2017 — a branch of French mortgage firm La Centrale de Financement.
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