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Is Paris’ short-term rental market under threat?

Alison Eastaway 19.01.2013
The allure of a Parisian
pied-à-terre is timeless, and it seems that just about everyone wants to own his or her own little piece of the city. In order to justify the expense though, many foreign property owners buy with the intention to rent their apartments out for short-term stays. But is all of that about to change?

It’s no secret that the short-term rental market in Paris is particularly lucrative. Owners can offer their apartments for 2-3 times as much over the course of a weeklong stay, than they could expect to charge for a year-long rental.1

Even given these inflated rates, when compared with the city’s notorious high hotel prices, a short-term apartment rental is still comparatively a good deal for renters. It seems like a win-win situation.

Alison Eastaway 19.01.2013 (2)
Illegal Parisian Rentals

Recently, however, it is becoming understood that such rentals are in fact, illegal. Local law prohibits the rental of any Parisian property for less than a twelve-month period, with the sole exception being rentals to students at a minimum of nine months. And it has been this way for quite some time. The law has been around for years but has only recently been actively enforced.

Parisian mayor leads enforcement charge

Mayor Bertrand Delanoë has been tasked with leading the crackdown operations through his housing agency, the Bureau de la Protection des Locaux d’Habitation.2 Which, as Franck Affortit, assistant director of the agency, readily admits, is no small task. Estimates regarding the amount of properties currently in breach of law go as high as 38,000.

With just five team members, the agency has taken an intelligent approach, pursuing a few key offenders and ensuring the cases are high profile as a means of encouraging everyone else to fall into line.4

Alison Easatway 19.01.2013
Parisian owners’ perspective

For apartment owners currently offering properties to rent in this market, their options are limited.

They can continue to act illegally, and run the risk of steep fines, reportedly up to 25,000 euros per day.3 They can pursue a complicated, and often-fruitless process to have their property reclassified as commercial premises, in order to legally let their property short-term. Or, they can forgo the lucrative profits associated with short-term rentals and move into the long-term market.

Renters Not in Breach in Paris

Those who rely upon short-term apartment rentals for their annual dose of authentic Parisian life may soon be forced to return to high priced and impersonal hotels. The good news is that in the interim, renters can rest assured that they are not in breach of any laws by renting an apartment in the short term. However, Susie Hollands of Bonapart Consulting warns, there may be implications for your insurance policy, so it pays to read the fine print.3

As a would-be property owner in Paris myself, the recent activity has certainly given me pause. And, as someone who stays in apartments whenever I visit Paris, I sincerely hope a compromise can be reached, so that visitors to the city can still have the opportunity to experience it from the eyes of a local, and not be relegated to the artificial domain of hotels.

References
1. Paris cracks down on short-term apartment rentals by Natalie Huet for Reuters, Sept 22, 2011.
2 To Address Its Housing Shortage Paris Cracks Down on Pied-à-Terre Rentals by Jean Rafferty for The New York Times, July 6, 2010.
3 Crackdown on private landlords in the City of Light via Expatica.com 02/12/2009
4 In Paris, Confusion Over Apartment Rental Laws by Kevin Brass for the International Property Journal.
Image Credits:
1. erikau on Flickr.
2. ParisSharing on Flickr.
3. aranjuez1404 on Flickr.


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