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Airbnb hits back at threat it will be banned from Paris: Rental site insists it is 'exceptionally popular' with residents

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 14/09/2018 Jennifer Newton for MailOnline and Afp Reporter

Airbnb has hit back at a Paris official who said he wanted to ban the holiday rental firm from the French capital © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Airbnb has hit back at a Paris official who said he wanted to ban the holiday rental firm from the French capital Airbnb has hit back at a Paris official who said he wanted to ban the holiday rental from the French capital, insisting its service is 'exceptionally popular'.

Deputy mayor Ian Brossat said last week he would seek to outlaw the service in central Paris because operations were forcing out residents and it was in danger of turning the city into a 'playground for Americans'.

But speaking at a conference in Cape Town, Chris Lehane, head of policy at Airbnb, accused Mr Brossat of electioneering.

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He told AFP: 'I know from surveys and polling that we are exceptionally popular in France at large and in Paris. Maybe not as popular as Mbappe, but we're really popular', referring to French footballer and PSG star Kylian Mbappe.

'I've never been asked to be a political consultant to him (Brossat). But taking on an issue where 20 per cent of the people support you and 80 per cent of the people oppose you is not a winning political hand.'

Mr Brossat, who is expected to head up the French Communist party list for European Parliament elections next year, has said he wants to stop the City of Lights becoming an 'open-air museum'.

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He said last week: 'One residence out of every four no longer houses Parisians. Do we want Paris to be a city which the middle classes can afford, or do we want it to be a playground for Saudi or American billionaires?'

He responded to Lehane's comments on Wednesday, telling AFP that 'all we ask is for the company to respect French law'.

He said: 'Why does Airbnb refuse to enforce the law that obliges the platform to remove illegal advertisements? Why does Airbnb pay as much tax in France as a neighbourhood bakery?'

Chris Lehane, Airbnb's head of policy, speaking at an African tourism conference organised by Airbnb in Cape Town. He said: 'I know from surveys and polling that we are exceptionally popular in France at large and in Paris' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Chris Lehane, Airbnb's head of policy, speaking at an African tourism conference organised by Airbnb in Cape Town. He said: 'I know from surveys and polling that we are exceptionally popular in France at large and in Paris' Paris is Airbnb's single biggest market with 60,000 apartments on offer but the service has, along with its competitors, faced accusations of pushing up rents and diluting communities.

Brossat has a history of criticising Airbnb and recently published a book called Airbnb, the Uberised City.

The councillor will seek to have his measure included in a new property law due to be debated later this year.

Paris already requires homeowners to register with authorities and limits rentals to 120 nights a year.

But Mr Lehane added: 'If you look over the past two years we've done over 500 government partnerships around the world. We have a regulatory framework that exists in Paris.'

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