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Paris mayor warned Olympics chief of ‘risks’ from Airbnb deal

Paris, France: The mayor of Paris warned the head of the International Olympic Committee about the "risks" of its partnership deal with the home rental platform Airbnb, in a letter sent last week and seen by AFP on Monday.

Anne Hidalgo, a Socialist who is up for re-election next year, vowed in the letter sent Friday to IOC chief Thomas Bach her "total determination" to tighten rules on tourist rentals in the French capital, which is one of Airbnb's biggest markets and will host the 2024 summer Olympics.

Paris has 65,000 Airbnb listings alone, sparking charges by city officials that the company is pushing up rents by encouraging people to favour the tourist market over residents.

The French capital has been locked in several legal battles with the US giant, and in February demanded it pay 12.5 million euros ($13.8 million) in fines for allowing owners to rent properties without registering with the city.

In her letter, Hidalgo said she could outlaw short-term tourist rentals in some parts of the city altogether if tighter restrictions are not put in place at the national level.

"By removing a significant number of lodgings from Paris, Airbnb contributes to rising rents and worsens the shortage of apartments on the rental market, at a cost for all Parisians, in particular the middle class," Hidalgo wrote.

She also accused the platform of "destabilising local businesses and competing harshly with traditional hotels."

Hidalgo's deputy mayor in charge of housing, Ian Brossat, told AFP on Monday that he regretted the IOC's choice of partner "at a time when many cities in Europe and the world are fighting back against Airbnb."

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