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The Tsunami of Transiency: Stop It or Ride the Wave?

I didn’t think that it was possible for me to be any angrier with the city’s handling of short-term rentals, but this recent article in Forbes Online by Alex Ledsom has just put me over the edge: “The Police Get Involved In Paris’ War On Airbnb!”

Has Madame le Maire lost her mind?

Forbes: “France is Airbnb’s second largest market after the U.S.”

Do you know why that is? That’s because Paris is the most visited city on the planet. And because Airbnb fills an important need.

Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, with PoliceMayor, Anne Hidalgo, with Police

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Paris Police

Unsuspecting touristsUnsuspecting tourists, sometimes followed by officers

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“For the first time ever, Greater Paris exceeded 23 million hotel arrivals (23.6 million – an increase of 11% on 2016 and 5% on 2014). The total number of visitors to Greater Paris, all accommodation combined, exceeded a record 40 million tourists, according to our estimates. Foreign markets and business tourism are the main driving forces behind these healthy results.” (press.parisinfo.com/news/press-releases/) People who come here for education or business stay longer periods of time than a few days…they come for a few weeks or a few months and need more than a hotel room for their stay. Would you consider them “tourists?” Not really. Wake up, Anne (Hidalgo, Le Maire), we live in a transient society and people can live and work now from anywhere…and do.

Did you know that “People who work from home earn more than those who commute — here’s why?”  And then from Bloomberg, here’s more: “Over this same period the number of people who reported working at home has risen from 5.9 million to 8.3 million, while their share of American workers has gone from 4.3% to 5.3%. The rise began in the early 2000s, as the spread of home broadband connections made new kinds of at-home work possible.”

Nope, we’re not going back to our homes and our offices to live and work. We’re traveling and taking our computing devices with us. We’re visiting cities all over the world and we’re loving getting to know people and places that aren’t like us or where we come from. That’s the beauty of it all. We don’t want to live in a hotel box without the amenities of home. We want it all. And why can’t we have it? What prevents us from taking advantage of what technology has given us?

Forbes: “It’s the first time that the police have been allowed to enter without the landlord’s permission.”

Not entirely true. I was personally inspected by an official of the Préfecture de Police as long ago as  2014 (Read the full account here in a past French Property Insider). She wasn’t a cop, but she was holding a document known as an “Order of Mission.” I was shocked and appalled. Especially when she asked if she could take photos of my personal apartment!

“Non, madame! J’habite ici!” (No, madame! I live here!)

“According to the ‘Ordre de Mission,’ the agent has the right to enter the property and either the occupant or the ‘guardien’ must allow him entry between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. In the case where the occupant or guardian is not present, they have the right to enter the property in the presence of the Mayor or the police commissioner! And they are following tourists to their accommodations, spying on tourists and residents!”

According to the Forbes article, which recounted a report from the French journal, Les Echos, that “police entered six apartments in the same building in the 7th arrondissement at the end of September.” This was after the management company refused entry to the housing officers who then obtained a court order to enter the apartments.

I do really think the city officials have lost their minds.

I understand the housing shortage problem they face and every facet of the assets and liabilities of the issue. As both a long-standing resident of Paris and real estate professional, I face all sides of the equation on a daily basis. But, I also understand how the city’s approach to solving their problems isn’t working and why. I could fill a tome with what’s wrong with their picture…all starting with the fact that transiency is going to grow and with it comes the need for even more temporary housing.

The solutions they are using such as these sorts of police tactics are not going to stop this tsunami changing the way we are living our lives…but, we shouldn’t want to! We need to embrace it, manage it, control it and tax it. It isn’t going away! It’s only going to get bigger and more powerful.

Don’t be stupid, Anne. This kind of police interference in people’s rights to own a property and live and use it the way they want, is quite frankly, Fascist…not Socialist as you claim you are. It is reminiscent of France in the early 1940s when French police participated in the roundup of Jews from their homes. Not only did the French police participate, but “not a single German soldier took part in orchestrating the notorious roundup of some 13,000 Jews at the Vél d’Hiv and Drancy internment camps in Paris from July 16-17, 1942.” (Source: france24.com/en/)

Is this a repeat performance, but this time targeting homeowners!? Homeowners! Is this really a country that stands for “liberté, égalité, fraternité?” Where is the liberty, equality and brotherhood in any of this?

You should really be ashamed of yourself, Madame. Instead, it’s time to ride the wave and be a leader in surfing everyone home…wherever that is and for however long that is.

A la prochaine…

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