A long-awaited hearing takes place this Monday in Marseille, where the prosecution has made the hunt for sleep merchants a priority.
The owner of a building in peril is indeed accused of having rented apartments for rent on Airbnb in this building that he knew to be dangerous.
This is one of the first acts in a series of lawsuits against unworthy housing in Marseille, the result of investigations opened by the chain after the collapses of rue d'Aubagne on November 5, 2018. This Tuesday, the owner of a building in peril that rented three apartments in this downtown building on Airbnb is appearing before the Marseille Criminal Court.
takes stock of this eagerly awaited audience in Marseille.
What are the facts ?
On April 27, 2017, as revealed in an article in
which triggered this investigation, the building located at 7, rue Molière, in the 1st arrondissement of Marseille, very close to the Old Port and the Opera, was struck down. of a decree of imminent danger, after the complaint of a tenant on the dangerousness of the stairs. "Last flight of collapsed stairs, partially collapsed floors, dangerous silt", according to the order for reference to the criminal court consulted by
, worrying dysfunctions were then numerous.
This building, whose dilapidation was known for a long time according to statements by an executive of Soleam, the organization in charge of renovating the dilapidated city center of Marseille, to investigators, has belonged to a certain A. living in the northern districts of Marseille is 61 years old and unknown to the justice services.
Initially a furnished hotel with seventeen rooms, the building, after renovations, was transformed to be able to rent three apartments on Airbnb, at the rate of one rental per floor.
What is the accused accused of?
The owner of this building has been indicted for endangering others and living or using premises in bad faith despite a dangerous decree. Indeed, he continued to rent these apartments to tourists, despite the peril decree in force since April 2017 of which he was aware. According to a count sent by Airbnb to the investigators, if there is no rental between April and July 2017, 1,238 nights were booked for 2,301 customers between July 2017 and November 2019.
“The view of this building and its interiors is still quite telling and may even have led some tenants to leave immediately,” says the judge in his dismissal order. According to this same source, the defendant "never took the precaution of obtaining precise information on the reality of a release from the peril, but it is true that it was undoubtedly easier to continue to rent the apartments. , this in order to generate income. "
These three rentals, according to the investigators, enabled the defendant to collect 138,232.81 euros between April 2017 and November 26, 2019. “The rental of the apartments in the building in question generated between 1,800 and 2,000 euros in the most months of the year. low, reaching 6,000 euros in the highest months, ”wrote the judge in his order for reference.
Once the case was revealed by
, Airbnb had indicated in a press release that it had removed the host and its accommodation from the platform.
What does the defense say?
Aware of the symbolic significance of such a hearing, in a city where the poor housing crisis continues and the hunt for sleep merchants has been made a priority by the prosecution, Me Denis Fayolle, the owner's lawyer, tries to play down the situation, claiming that he had no intention of harming his clients.
"My client had done a lot of work as soon as he learned of an unsanitary problem on the first floor of the building," argues the lawyer.
He did not rent it clandestinely but on Airbnb to Parisian bobo tourists or others, generally very happy.
He also had good comments on the platform.
He was totally transparent.
We are not at all on a problematic of emblematic sleep merchants in Marseille, but on someone who may be in a bit of a hurry.
Our dossier on undignified housing
And to affirm: “My client had brought in an architect who had provided him with a certificate of lifting of imminent danger.
It is true that the procedure did not go to its end, because this simple certificate does not entail the lifting of the order of danger.
He certainly rebooked a little too quickly, and that's what he's going to do that he's going to be condemned.
The owner of this building faces up to five years in prison and total confiscation of this property.
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