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World What consequences of the judgment of the European Court of Justice for borderline Airbnb rental companies?

17:00  22 september  2020
17:00  22 september  2020 Source:   lepoint.fr

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The EU Court of Justice ruled against two Airbnb owners who were fined after repeatedly and without authorisation rent for short periods to a transient clientele. The EU court has confirmed previous decisions regarding short-term repeated letting of accommodation in Paris - Copyright Alban

But the court found that Airbnb meets its criteria as an intermediary and that France ought to have lodged its concerns before the EU e-commerce law was enacted. The site “is not aimed only at providing immediate accommodation services, but rather it consists essentially of providing a tool for

Quelles conséquences de l’arrêt de la Cour de justice européenne pour les loueurs Airbnb borderline ? © Thomas Trutschel / Getty Images What consequences of the judgment of the European Court of Justice for borderline Airbnb rental companies? The Court of Justice of the European Union has just ruled: French regulations which subject seasonal rentals to prior authorization comply with European law. The noose is tightening for Airbnb rental companies who had so far escaped sanctions. Explanations.

First victory for the City of Paris in its fight against Airbnb. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered its verdict on Tuesday, September 22: French regulations intended to regulate the rental of accommodation on Airbnb-type platforms comply with European law. The origin of the case dates back to 2015: the City of Paris then accused two lessors, an SCI and a natural person, for having rented their studios on Airbnb without having obtained the authorization and without having respected the principle of compensation set up by the municipality. As a reminder, this imposes that any change in the use of a second home must simultaneously be accompanied by the purchase of the same surface area of ​​commercial premises in the same arrondissement - or even double in some neighborhoods - and its transformation. in housing. This rule is certainly very restrictive, but which appeared necessary to compensate for the lost square meters of housing, according to the City of Paris.

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On 11 September 2014, the Court of Justice overturned the General Court judgment . The judgment contains three important lessons in connection with ‘by object’ One might now expect EU competition authorities to tread more carefully when they examine borderline or more nuanced fact scenarios.

In the Court of Justice , each case is assigned 1 judge ( the " judge -rapporteur") and 1 advocate general. The parties give written statements to the Court - and observations can also be submitted by national authorities, EU institutions and sometimes private individuals.

In 2017, the tribunal de grande instance, then the Paris Court of Appeal, ordered the two owners to pay a fine of 25,000 and 15,000 euros respectively. Following the lodging of an appeal, the Court of Cassation seized the CJEU , to verify the compliance of French regulations and these compensation mechanisms. Hundreds of other homeowners' claims have since been frozen, pending his decision.

Authorization regime justified and proportionate

On the merits, the European justice has therefore validated the national regulations, which subject to prior authorization the rental of accommodation on Airbnb-type platforms, repeatedly and for short periods, to a passing customers. According to her, this authorization scheme is well justified by an overriding reason in the general interest of combating the housing shortage. This device also appears proportionate, since it is "limited to a specific rental activity", that of second homes, and it excludes main residences from its scope. The CJEU further observes that this objective of combating the housing shortage could not be pursued by a less restrictive measure. A posteriori control, by a declaration system accompanied by sanctions, for example, would not make it possible, according to her, to immediately and effectively slow down the transformation of housing intended for long-term rental into commercial premises intended for seasonal rental.

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As such, the CCJUE considers that the principle of compensation set up by the City of Paris is an adequate tool . However, it invites the Court of Cassation to ensure that the methods for setting this compensation are well suited to the situation of the local rental market. In other words, the national court will have to examine, on a case-by-case basis, the situations of each municipality and verify the compliance of local arrangements. “The municipalities, and first and foremost the City of Paris, where a large number of owners are currently assigned, will have to provide proof, through a detailed study, that there is a mismatch between the supply of housing and the 'tourist attractiveness of the district ”, analyzes Lorène Derhy, lawyer specializing in seasonal rentals and one of the main opponents of the City of Paris. "Failure for the city of Paris to provide such a study, one could hope that the judges reject its request or greatly minimize the amount of fines requested", she adds.

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If the person feels aggrieved by the judgement of the First Hall Civil Court (Constitutional Jurisdiction), he Causes made under the Constitution and under the European Convention Act, as well as those causes Therefore, the Government cannot refer the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

If the case is heard in the sub-district sector of the court you are not required to engage a lawyer and can instead choose to represent yourself. In cross- border cases within the EU, the European small claims procedure may also be used. You can use the European small claims procedure if you are

Suspended proceedings soon to be relaunched

"Everything will now depend on the judgment of the Court of Cassation, for his part, says Xavier Demeuzoy, a lawyer specializing in furnished rentals, who represents around a hundred Airbnb owners assigned to Paris. It can either be satisfied with a study on the overall housing shortage at the level of the municipality, or formulate criticisms and then consider, on a case-by-case basis, that the City of Paris does not demonstrate the housing shortage in the area. district in which the property in question is located. ” However, a close examination of today's judgment could lead the Court to make some criticisms, he said. “So the match is not yet won for the City of Paris,” he said.

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Anyway, and despite the few reservations made by the CJEU, the situation is getting a little more tense for owners suspected in breach. The real outcome of this case should not be long, since the Court of Cassation is expected to deliver its judgment in the coming months. After which the suspended proceedings will be relaunched.

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