Nils Kraus - Jun 24, 2024
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A group of 26 French hoteliers is taking legal action against Airbnb. The lawyer representing them, Jonathan Bellaiche, filed the summons on Monday, June 17, 2024, at the Lisieux commercial court in Calvados. The hotels involved in the collective action are located in various French regions, excluding Ile-de-France. Cities such as Nice, Strasbourg, Cannes, Avignon, Biarritz, Limoges, and Mâcon are represented.

In a groundbreaking move, the French hoteliers accuse Airbnb of unfair competition for the first time. Their lawyer, Jonathan Bellaiche, asserts that the platform's business practices are detrimental to all French hoteliers. Seeking 9.2 million in damages for the plaintiffs, the founder of the Goldwin firm argues that this is the most viable path to reparations. Airbnb, known for resisting restrictive regulations in France and Europe, is set to face this unique legal challenge. The hearing is scheduled for September 6, 2024, at the Lisieux Commercial Court.

Hoteliers believe that the platform needs to fulfill its obligations. For instance, the leading seasonal rental company does not always display the required registration number for advertisements in certain cities. A lawyer stated that the platform is not adequately monitoring its content and is responsible for illegal advertisements, notably as it has been recognized as a "content publisher" in a judgment by the Paris Judicial Court dated June 5, 2020.

"We are aware that many people are renting their apartments without authorization, to the detriment of their landlords," the lawyer stated. Mr. Jonathan Bellaiche recently compelled Airbnb to provide property ownership documents to identify illegal sublets.

"We do not oppose these platforms," stated Véronique Siegel, president of Umih Hôtellerie. "However, the ramifications of not complying with French law extend beyond unfair competition with the hotel industry. The platform contributes to complete deregulation of the rental market and exacerbates the housing crisis."

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