Airbnb has been slow to clamp down on rogue listings, but the company has long had conflicts with French regulators so being a good citizen would be in Airbnb's long-term interests.
Airbnb announced plans on Monday to tighten control of short-term rentals advertised on its site in several French cities including Paris, by throwing out those without formal registration numbers.
France is one of Airbnb’s top destinations but the online letting marketplace has faced criticism in Paris and other cities, including Amsterdam and New York, over concerns that its short-term rentals make housing shortages worse.
Airbnb said it would take extra measures against people who let out properties in France for short-term stays without registering with authorities.
Listings without a registration number in Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux would be blocked from taking reservations as of this year, Airbnb said, adding the plan would be rolled out to other cities too.
Under existing rules in Paris, people are not allowed to rent out their entire homes on Airbnb for more than 120 days and are obliged to declare the rentals.
The new measures follow an appeal from France’s housing ministry for platforms such as Airbnb to work more closely with local authorities, including by sharing data and information.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the tourism and travel industries hard. Airbnb, which listed last December on the New York stock exchange, has suffered a blow to revenues as reservations dwindle.
The group said it would take part in new campaigns in France to promote travel, including in ski resorts in the French Alps and the Haute Savoie region. The French government has extended ski lift closures because of the pandemic, dealing a blow to local business owners who depend heavily on the winter season.
(Reporting by Sarah White, Editing by Timothy Heritage)