Apartment hunting in Paris

Dec 6th, 2015, 02:35 PM
Original Poster
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Apartment hunting in Paris

Three friends and I are planning a late spring trip to Paris. We would like to rent an apartment;but, with the new rules is that still an option? Can anyone recommend a service or site from which we can safely rent?
Thank you.
cmcfong is online now  
Dec 6th, 2015, 03:26 PM
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From this week
Dear Parler Paris Reader,

We all knew deep down in our hearts that something had to give...the city officials simply couldn't continue to be as unjust, unfair and nonsensical as it has been regarding their policy on short-term apartment rentals. Since November of 2009, when the laws on the books first came to light, when the housing department began to follow up on denouncements by neighbors and then take on the full-blown campaign waging war against innocent homeowners, we have prayed for some light at the end of the long, dark tunnel that seemingly led to nowhere.

Personally I have been seriously affected, having sold two treasured properties that took a lot of time, money, effort and heart to create and manage as a result of being 'discovered' by the team of 20 people Madame le Maire Hidalgo appointed to ferret out offenders -- one of which was meant for my retirement...and now long gone. In addition, our property owners, the foreign buyers who have a deep love and appreciation of Paris and France, who invested their hard-earned bucks in a "pied-à-terre" they could enjoy themselves and rent when available, had their 'hands bitten' by the very city they fed.

The anger has not sat well with me, nor with the thousands of others like me for whom this has negatively affected. Now, finally, there seems to be light at the end of this tunnel.

If you are not aware of the challenge we have faced, let me refresh your memory or put it in simple terms. According to the current regulations, a primary residence can be legally rented short-term up to four months a year in total. A property holding 'commercial usage designation' can be legally rented any duration. A secondary property can legally be rented one year or nine months to a student, but no less of a lease is legal.

I've written about this extensively in our Nouvellettres® and long ago posted a petition to submit to Madame Hidalgo.

The regulations mean that as a tenant, if you want to live in Paris less than one year, you were not entitled to housing. That goes for the thousands of individuals who come here for work or education and those who need temporary housing of any sort. They are virtually relegated to a hotel or commercial property. One is entitled to stay in France 90 days with no visa, but with nowhere to live except outside the city limits or accommodations unfit for long-term housing.

This also means that suddenly all of those earnest investors and property owners are operating illegally and have to make certain choices: 1) continue doing what they were doing until caught; 2) stop renting their property at a loss of revenue which covers the operating costs; 3) obtain commercial usage designation for their property (near to impossible to achieve) plus pay the city heavy licensing fees or 4) sell their property.

As a renter of short-term properties for vacation or otherwise, your choices became more limited as legitimate professionally managed properties came off the market while more and more owners offered their own unprofessional principal residences for short-term rental. Airbnb boombed while long standing rental agencies suffered (such as ours, Parler Paris Apartments and our partner site, Paris Sharing).

I am familiar with one agency in Paris -- one of the first to offer luxury rentals as long ago as 1998, fully licensed by the city to operate, a company which collected and paid all its taxes and was forced out of business by the city. City agents knocked on the doors of the apartments and harassed the innocent and unsuspecting renters. The company had to sell off all their properties, mostly located on the two islands in the Seine, shut down its operations and move to another country to operate -- where they found success. The properties that the company sold off naturally became short-term rentals...illegal ones, of course.

After six years of living this 'hell,' this past week we received an unofficial notice from a member of the SPLM -- the Syndicat des Professionnels de la Location Meublée -- a lobbying organization that was formed in 2009 to combat the unfair regulations, that in June of this year the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls ordered a study by the Inspection Générale des Finances (IGF), an interdepartemental auditing and supervisory body in France.

You can follow the progress of the study on the official Web site.

In summary, the first study concluded that:

a) The demand for short to medium term furnished rentals exists and is legitimate

b) No such offerings are possible within the current legal framework

c) The short-term rental of "résidences secondaires" (whether the owner is Parisian or not) would help to satisfy that legitimate demand, without taking housing off the market for long-term rental (which by definition cannot take place in résidences secondaires).

The recommendation of the IGF is to create a new lease called "Location Temporaire" that would be valid for rental durations of one week to six months, for example. They estimate that some 7,600 apartments would be concerned (on top of the "résidences principales" in which up to four months of short-term rental is already allowed -- a figure not high enough to impact long-term housing.

As a counter-measure, they propose to eliminate the furnished rental "niches fiscales" (i.e. amortization and micro-BIC régime).

Conclusions to the study are expected in late January. We are all hoping and praying for positive results. For me, personally, it's too late. I fed the city with my own efforts and have been personally and directly responsible for bringing in hundreds of millions of euros into the city's economy thanks to the hundreds of clients with whom we have worked since 2002 to help them purchase and maintain a property in Paris for their own pleasure and profit. Then, the city of Paris bit my hand.

If the study can evoke an amendment to the regulations that will be fair and equitable to everyone, then these past six unjust years can be forgiven and everyone can breathe deep and take in the fresh air. Potential investors can feel safe again to show Paris how much we all love the city.

Let's face it, it's tough not to love Paris, in spite of a few ignorant (and thankfully temporary) politicians.

You can read the report (in French), and read Manuel Valls' mission letter (in French).

A la prochaine...

Vacationinparis is who I use and will continue to use.
flpab is offline  
Dec 6th, 2015, 03:50 PM
Original Poster
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Merci beaucoup!
cmcfong is online now  
Dec 6th, 2015, 04:34 PM
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Try VRBO, a legitimate agency and only deal through the website. I recently rented a 5th ar apartment via VRBO for next October.

hpeabody is offline  
Dec 6th, 2015, 04:44 PM
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hpeabody>Try VRBO, a legitimate agency and only deal through the website. I recently rented a 5th ar apartment via VRBO for next October.<<

You are quite mistaken. VRBO is not an agency. They are merely a listing site just like airbnb. They don't rent anything - they only hook you up w/ owners.
janisj is online now  
Dec 6th, 2015, 09:07 PM
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If the study can evoke an amendment to the regulations that will be fair and equitable to everyone, then these past six unjust years can be forgiven and everyone can breathe deep and take in the fresh air.

Fair and equitable to everyone as long as everyone a wealthy foreigner who purchases an apartment from a local resident, subdivides it, and sees monthly investment revenues increase four to six times from where they were when a French citizen lived there.

Yes, the French; those inconsiderate souls who take issue when vacationing foreigners invade their buildings. You are absolutely right, many of these illegal landlords have faced enforcement from the mayor´s office. But many, if not most, of the complaints the mayor´s office receives about illegal rental activity are from angry citizens, you know those people who actually live, work, pay taxes and vote, who don´t want their homes, their buildings and their neighborhoods turned into come-and-go housing for wealthy foreigners.

The problem is so acute that is the French government that tightened laws against short term apartment rentals, not the city of Paris. Imagine legislation in the US, sponsored by wealthy foreigners, which attempts to promote foreign interests over that of the citizenry.

I maintain a house in the US in a city that absolutely forbids any and all short term rental activity. It is even illegal to rent to a student who attends the university only three blocks away. The French should stop pandering to special foreign interests and tighten ALUR, the law against vacation apartments, to include penalties for agencies who knowingly rent illegal apartments.
Sarastro is offline  
Dec 6th, 2015, 11:53 PM
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Is it any wonder Adrian Leeds espouses the view expressed in Parler Paris? If anyone ever benefited hugely from illegal rentals, it was she. It's all well and good that short-term rentals have a dream of "living like a local," but it has been and remains to be at the expense of Parisians themselves.

Get yourself a completely legal apart-hotel and let Adrian Leeds sort out her own mess.
StCirq is online now  
Dec 7th, 2015, 02:02 AM
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I too use Vacation In Paris . It is located in the US and you pay in advance in dollars, get the keys before you leave.and have the number of a local agent who is always available to help
Avalon2 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2015, 04:32 AM
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Isn't Paris Perfect also legit? I haven't rented from them myself, but they're very open about what they do and they seem to be above board. OTOH, they say nothing about these specific regs in the FAQ and they do have a page on their website reaching out to owners who'd like to join the PP "family."

No ax to grind, just curious, as they do have some fans here on Fodors (or did, anyway).
WeisserTee is offline  
Dec 7th, 2015, 04:45 AM
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Vacationinparis has some great deals right now. It was easy because they are in NJ. We did a last minute trip in Oct and called them and they found us a place to stay. We loved it even though it was the 14th. I would stay there again. Just don't answer your door. I read that is what airbnb were telling their clients.
flpab is offline  
Dec 7th, 2015, 05:17 AM
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That doesn't sound too relaxing, though, does it? "Just don't answer your door." It would make me edgy the whole time I was indoors, I think.

Does all of this boil down to tourists never being able to rent a real Paris apartment again? It's Citadines or a hotel? (I am by no means a "wealthy" tourist; the types of places I have stayed in were simple and budget-y, and I have to scrimp to afford to go at all.)

I would miss having the freedom of a flat; it might make me choose other destinations.

Of course, I see that it is better for the people who actually live there, and no, I don't expect them to sacrifice a decent place to live so tourists like me can pretend for a while....
pavot is offline  
Dec 7th, 2015, 07:38 AM
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It appears I may have missed the point here. It's become very confusing the more I search on it. I have an apartment rented for next October for 9 days and on deposit through VRBO. The apartment owner is in the US and has owned the apartment for about 10 years. His intention is for rental purposes and not truly his residence (except on occasion when he visits Paris himself) I rented this apartment in early 2014 without any problems. Everything is being done through the VRBO website including payment. Is this type of situation what is "illegal" now? Should I be concerned?
hpeabody is offline  
Dec 7th, 2015, 08:13 AM
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As noted, VRBO is just a referral service, not the owners of apartments. If you are concerned about the legality of your rental, and you should be, you should contact the owner and get his/her assurance that he/she is in compliance with ALUR.
StCirq is online now  
Dec 7th, 2015, 08:45 AM
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Does it feel good to be on the side of the righteous now, St. Cirq, after renting in Paris all those years??
Happygoin is offline  
Dec 7th, 2015, 08:53 AM
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'we received an unofficial notice '


I'd rather believe some French sites than one from a US lady living from rentals that she herself says are illegal. I seem to recall that she made sign contract for one year then would tear them up after one month, I may not be remembering correctly - somebody has a better memory than me ?

'Parler Paris' - is it supposed to sound french ?
I went onto this site - there is not even a french translation or is there ?

Ah : now I get it : it is not for me :

'Adrian Leeds Group® provides comprehensive property services for Anglophones who desire to live, work or invest in France.'

I'm Francophone...
pariswat is offline  
Dec 7th, 2015, 10:17 AM
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Parler Paris is supposed to sound French but it is a very odd phrase. I guess we are supposed to cry tears over this person who lost their cushy illegal rental business, and has just been living in "hell", investing and buying up properties in Paris to rent out to tourists. Makes as much sense to feel sorry for any criminal who lost some lucrative business.

If you are concerned, you need to ask the owner, obviously, that property described from VRBO does sound illegal if it is mainly used for vacation rentals. Doing something through VRBO or not is irrelevant in terms of its legality, nor that there were no problems 5 years ago. IN fact, most illegal rentals won't have problems, they can't crack down or know about them everywhere that easily.

The idea that one cannot vacation or visit cities and enjoy them unless one rents an apt. is ridiculous.
Christina is offline  
Dec 7th, 2015, 12:21 PM
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While I love Paris, and we regularly return, I wouldn't hesitate to simply transfer my vacations to other French towns and cities under 200,000. I certainly won't stay at any hotels in Paris, given the price point and amenities available. I also don't believe Paris officials concern themselves with tourists from an apartment rental standpoint.

We'll have to see if it has the impact to total tourism numbers for Paris if it continues. The Mairie could eliminate the concern and confusion by publishing a list of approved apartments, or give license numbers and the ability to cross check an apartment with its' license number that is advertised on the web. The tourist information center gives all kinds of helpful advice for tourists, I can see that office being specifically helpful in calming fears of renters seeking a short term, legal rental.
apersuader65 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2015, 12:23 PM
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If that "ridiculous" was aimed at my comment, Christina, I sure didn't mean to imply that no one could/would/should visit Paris just because he'd have to stay in hotels.

I was only speaking for myself. And I did only say it "might" make me choose other destinations. I've been there a bunch of times already.

Apologies in advance if your criticism was aimed elsewhere.
pavot is offline  
Dec 7th, 2015, 12:41 PM
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This has been repeated ad infinitum on Fodor's, TripAdvisor, Rick Steves and all other travel forums - but here it is again:

Any agency that lists property for short term rental and manages the property from another country or wherever the property is actually located, is legal - as long as the agency has formed a corporation and pays appropriate taxes in the country where it accept payment. Listing property for rent on the internet or by any other means for any period of time is not illegal.

What is illegal in Paris (and many more cities), is this:

If the property owner lives full-time in his Paris apartment, he may not rent more than 4 months per year,which is equivalent to his vacation time. The owner is expected to declare and pay taxes on all revenue collected from rentals.

If no resident lives in the property full-time, if the property is only managed by an agency which only rents to tourists who do not live on the premises for at least one year, if the regulations of the building's co-propriete prohibit sub-leases, if a full-time rental tenant subleases without permission from his landlord - this is illegal in Paris.

There are only approximately 600 legal short-term rentals available in Paris. Most of these are in neighborhoods which would not be attractive to the average tourists, or are modern mixed-income housing, converted doctor's offices or other businesses, sometimes located on the ground floor. Many do not contain the "usual tourist necessities or conveniences", and many are not near the usual attractions visitors come to see.

A lot of people recommend places or agencies they have used before in Paris. It should be apparent to most of you reading this that this does not mean they are legal, but are just thinly-disguised attempts at advertising.

At this point, the only legal rentals in Paris - besides the 600 I mentioned earlier - are those rented by bona fide permanent residents (who can prove they have a deed to the property and live there full time), and bona fide "apart'hotels" such as Citadines and Adagio. You should avoid a listing which does not feature a 24/7 front desk service, which looks as if nobody lives there, and whose owner accepts all or part of the rental fees in cash.
fuzzbucket is offline  
Dec 7th, 2015, 01:03 PM
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So why doesn't the city of Paris maintain a listing so potential renters would know if an apartment is legal or not? How is the average person supposed to ferret this out? IVe been in Paris these last weeks and the absence of tourists due to the recent attacks is noticeable. Business must be down everywhere I would guess. I wonder if they really enforce this law whether in the long term tourism would be negatively impacted? So many people now stay longer term and that is not feasible in a hotel room. I hope the city can figure this out.
yestravel is offline  

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