The hidden social impact of US home-sharing site Airbnb on France

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In recent years the American-owned home and room-sharing site Airbnb has become immensely popular, providing an easy way for homeowners to rent rooms out to tourists. However, a study by three French academics shows the potential negative sides of the phenomenon in France; its abuse by slum landlords, an increase in rent prices and the risk of tax-dodging. Michaël Hajdenberg reports.

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Renaud owns a small flat in rue Oberkampf in Paris's 11th arrondissement, or district. It has just one bedroom, plus a bathroom, and on the face of it does not seem like a ticket to making a fortune. However, the owner has re-branded this modest apartment as a “dormitory”, installed ten beds and now rents out each one for 22 euros a night via the home and room-sharing website Airbnb. And the owner is clearly doing well, as despite repeated requests Mediapart was unable to find a bed for the night – though that may be because the owner did not like the idea of journalists visiting.