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Airbnb must pay out over sub-letting - could it happen here?

Airbnb has been ordered to pay some 52,000 euros in compensation to the owner of an apartment in Paris after a tenant was found to have sublet it without her knowledge.

It must also pay legal costs of 5,000 euros and reimburse the 1,558 euros it received from the illegal subletting.

A range of news sources report that a judge last week confirmed that Airbnb could be regarded as a publisher - rather than another widely-held definition of ‘an information society service’ - and was therefore liable.


The court ruled that Airbnb was effectively at fault for the sub-letter’s actions and it had failed to adequately inspect listings for the property on its platform.

Le Figaro newspaper says it has seen documentation relating that the tenant sublet the apartment in the capital for a total of 534 days between 2016 and 2017 without the owner’s permission, thereby violating Airbnb’s conditions of renting.

Airbnb says it will appeal the court’s decision, arguing that the case constitutes a private dispute between the landlord and tenant.

Le Parisien newspaper claims the legal representatives of the property owner says: “This decision brings financial responsibilities to bear on Airbnb, which will be answerable for abuses committed on its platform. Legal risk has become an economic risk.”

  • Roger  Mellie

    That's the French for you. Here in the UK, the actual owner has no financial claim largely because they are not entitled to the consideration unless they actually did the AirBNB themselves.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    If this gets upheld and doesn't get overturned at appeal this is HUGE and should make every short term platform quake in their boots and rightly so. We had an illegal sublet and Airbnb refused to do anything to stop it continuing. Here's hoping this doesnt get quashed at appeal!


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