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Airbnb puts automatic rental cap on central Paris offers

* To comply with official French limits on short-term rents

* France's official limit is 120 days/year on main residence

* Critics blame Airbnb for driving up house prices

PARIS, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Short-term rental website Airbnb, which has been challenging traditional hotel operators such as Accor and Marriott, said it would automatically cap the number of days its hosts can rent their property each year in central Paris.

The decision, which goes into effect in January and mirrors initiatives already in place in London and Amsterdam, will force hosts to effectively comply with France's official limit on short-term rentals of 120 days a year for a main residence.

It comes as Airbnb, similar to its taxi-hailing peer Uber, is facing a growing crackdown from legislators worldwide - triggered in part by lobbying from the hotel industry, which sees the rental service as providing unfair competition.

Airbnb and other rental platforms have also been criticized for driving up property prices and contributing to a housing shortage in some cities such as Paris or Berlin.

Airbnb is implementing the cap as the Paris city council has made it mandatory from December for people renting their apartments on short-term rental websites to register their property with the town hall.

With over 400,000 listings, France is Airbnbs second-largest market after the United States. Paris, which is the most visited city in the world, is Airbnb's biggest single market, with 65,000 homes. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)