Paris Apartment Thread

Old Mar 18th, 2015, 08:23 AM
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Old Mar 20th, 2015, 02:59 AM
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It would probably be a good idea to update this particular thread since it was started in 2008 and the laws have changed in regard to renting short-term in Paris.

Virtually all short-term furnished rentals - those rented for a period of less than one year, or 9 months to a full-time student - are illegal in Paris. There are very few exceptions - there are only an estimated 600 legal apartments out of an estimated 28,000 rentals listed on the internet.

There has been much discussion, and much wishful thinking, about what makes a rental legal. The short version is that it's beyond the means or desires of almost all property owners to comply with the regulations, so the option is to rent illegally (which is a risk for both the owner and the client) or to sell the property.

The risk for the property owner is a visit from the Mayor's task force, which is conducting internet searches and making personal visits to properties. The agents are allowed to enter the rental unit without prior knowledge or approval of the property owner or the clients. The agents are allowed to investigate the property and will question the people staying there. A report is submitted to the Mayor, and the property owner is sanctioned and fined. At this point, all future rentals must be cancelled and advertising must be removed from internet websites. Anyone who is currently living in the apartment may complete their stay, and will not be evicted or otherwise inconvenienced - any action will be taken against the property owner. If an owner continues to rent after being sanctioned, the fines increase dramatically, and he risks a possible prison sentence.

In addition to the Mayor's task force, there is the growing problem of complaints from neighbors and the gardiennes who live and work in the buildings. The governing board of the building has the right to decide whether or not it will accept short-term rentals. Even if the apartment meets the criteria issued by the Mayor's office, the property owners make the final decision. Since most residents choose not to have their building turned into a hotel, most will forbid this. The board - as well as any individual tenant - has the right to lodge a complaint with the Mayor's office, and the task force will investigate.

It is legal for a property owner who lives in his apartment full-time to offer it for short-term rental, for a combined period of up to 4 months, which would be his normal accumulated holiday time. However, the governing board of the building may or may not permit this, or may place various restrictions on the owner - such as the number of consecutive days and/or the number of people permitted. Unfortunately, there is no way for a prospective client to be certain that the person listing the apartment is the legal, full-time resident.

The risk for the client renting short-term is that there is a possibility of a last-minute cancellation - this occurs when the property owner has been sanctioned by the Mayor's task force, and/or if there are sufficient complaints from neighbors. This can be a significant problem for families, since finding suitable accommodation for large groups at the last minute can be problematic and expensive. The property owner is under no obligation to re-locate the clients. No clients will be evicted from an illegal rental - all action will be taken against the property owner.

If a property is listed by an agency, this does not mean it is legal, though the company may state otherwise. The client still runs the risk of a last-minute cancellation. The advantage of renting from an agency is the possibility that the client could be re-located in another of the agency's properties. However, there is no guarantee that it would match the apartment that was originally rented. This could be a problem if you are depending on certain sleeping arrangements and would like to remain in a preferred neighborhood.

In Paris, a tenant does not have the legal right to sublet his apartment - either the entire space or a portion of it, and whether or not he lives there full-time - without prior, written consent from his landlord, the property owner. The risk for clients renting via AirBnB, Craig's List or similar sites is last-minute cancellation, when the property owner discovers the illegal sublet and threatens his lessee with eviction. Neither the property owner nor his lessee is under any obligation to re-locate the client.

There are listings that appear on the Paris Tourist Office that seem to be legitimate, legal rentals. However, this is only paid advertising, and the City does not endorse or approve these listings as legal rentals. There is no list of legal rentals in Paris, at this time, and there are currently no plans for the City to compile one.

Though it will take time for this situation to be fully regulated - if that is possible - it would be wise to pay attention to concrete news developments, which are still evolving. There is growing concern among property owners about the clause in the law ALUR which seeks to limit the amount that may be charged per square meter for all rental units - and which would also apply to investment property, making it economically unfeasible. Due to these developments, as well as the FATCA banking regulations, many fully-furnished short-term rentals are presently on the market.

It is still possible for clients to rent short-term at present, though there are definite risks involved, and it would be a good idea to have a backup plan in case your reservation is cancelled. It would probably not be advisable to rent an apartment too far in advance, however. In addition to the problems stated in the preceding paragraph, in 2014, the Mayor's task force sanctioned 40 illegal rentals. As of February 2015, there have already been 145 new sanctions.
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Old Mar 20th, 2015, 04:34 AM
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As I follow developments in Paris reference vacation rentals, the above post is an excellent synopsis of the current situation.

Airbnb has stated that they currently have 40,000 apartment listing for Paris. The city has 20 full time inspectors following up on complaints by neighbors and guardians (apartment supervisors). The inspectors are very busy but they will not be able to inspect all vacation rentals by the end of 2015. Most of those renting apartments in 2015 will probably experience few risks or difficulties but the number of available apartments is shrinking and will continue to do so.

Anyone thinking about renting an apartment in Paris should approach rentals with an abundance of caution.
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Old Mar 20th, 2015, 05:22 AM
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I inadvertently omitted this important information, which explains the reasons why the Mayor's office has decided to take action against illegal vacation rentals.

There is an extreme housing shortage in Paris which affects a large number of people. The first on the Mayor's list of concerns are those who wish to raise their families and take advantage of the city's school system, elderly people who have long since paid for their apartments and wish to remain in them until there is no alternative, and those who presently work in Paris. This represents a significant tax base that cannot be ignored.

Next are those attending school on a full-time basis, those who have secured work contracts of less than one year's duration, those who are actively seeking employment and must provide a local address to secure it, and property owners who must re-locate during renovation work.

The vacation rental industry has inflated property values in Paris - which in turn inflates rental fees - to the point where the average people mentioned above can no longer afford apartments. The average amount of rent paid for a regular apartment - meaning a non-vacation rental - of 35 m2 in Paris in 2010 was approximately 375 EU, today that figure has risen to approximately 850 EU. Vacation rentals of the same size rent for approximately 800 EU per week, in 2015.

The French government has also urged the Mayor to take action, due to the amount of fiscal fraud represented by illegal vacation rentals. When a client pays all or a portion of the rental fees in cash, or any or all the funds are deposited in a bank outside of France, it is likely that the cash is unreported, or at best under-reported to the tax authorities. The French government has recently announced many restrictions on the way banks may now handle cash transactions, such as lowering the ceiling on cash deposits and withdrawals. This will likely effect a change in the vacation rental industry.
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Old Mar 20th, 2015, 08:55 AM
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Sigh ---- I will really miss renting an apartment in Paris.

I understand the reasoning behind the movement to more closely regulate this market, and have chosen to stay in a hotel this May, rather than run the risk, however small, of getting cancelled at the last moment.

The other side of the coin that nobody has mentioned is that, when the short term private rental market is regulated into oblivion, the pressure on the finite number of hotel beds in the city will drive the prices of hotels through the roof for us tourists. I wonder how the increased tax revenue for the city will compare to the loss of tourist revenue.
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Old Mar 20th, 2015, 09:55 AM
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What about apartments rented through Tripadvisor. They show lots of listings, many of which are quite reasonable. We've used that site to get a short-term apartment in Edinburgh before without a problem.

Is there the same concern about Tripadvisor's as about Airbnb?
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Old Mar 20th, 2015, 11:03 AM
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dwd seeing a listing on tripadivsor is NOT an endorsement from tripadvisor.. read carefully.. you are missing that and figure if you see it there its "approved ".. trust me.. it means nothing.. not one thing.. and I love tripadvisor forums and hotel reviews.. but you have misunderstood what you have seen as a reliability endorsement.

tripadvisor it not an apartment rental agency.. they ADVERTIZE other apartment rental agencies.. they are a website for travel.. with all sorts of features.. forums, reviews, ads..
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Old Mar 20th, 2015, 11:10 AM
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Flipkey (Trip Advisor), Airbnb, and a long list of other companies have very little to do with the apartments they list other than collect money. Flipkey, Airbnb, VRBO, and others are not necessarily vacation apartment owners and the laws being enforced by the city of Paris are primarily targeted towards the owners of short term rental properties.

The concern is with the apartment owner, not necessarily the listing agent. However, the entity collecting payment is responsible for the tax de séjour which is only a part of the law.
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Old Mar 20th, 2015, 02:40 PM
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Thank you all for this thoughtful discussion, and especially manouche for that information. I sympathize and completely understand the problem in a tourist-magnet city. (But I don't see how a housing shortage would affect those who've lived somewhere a long time; they appear to be sitting pretty besides maybe lacking stable long-term neighbors. Is it better if wealthy foreigners buy these places as pieds-a-terre, and they sit empty most of the year? That's getting to be the situation in London for instance and NYC.)

I looked around a lot, starting five months ago, for a June vacation apartment that would meet our needs, bearing in mind the legal and ethical issues, and the huge pain-in-the-neck issues if we got cancelled at the last minute. Another concern with airbnb is the need to put down the entire fee in advance. So I really resisted airbnb, but eventually went with them and got a well-reviewed place next door to our apartment last year.

Last week I made a reservation at a hotel, paying more for free cancellation up to a few days in advance, just in case. If the airbnb apartment looks reasonably solid, I'll cancel earlier.
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Old Mar 21st, 2015, 01:39 PM
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There is no correlation between the housing market and hotel prices in Paris, or anywhere else. They are separate markets, and each will set prices according to what their specific market will bear.
Residents looking for apartments aren't the same as tourists looking for vacation rentals. Each has a different budget and divergent needs.
There is neither any reason to believe - nor any concrete proof - that the current regulations concerning short-term rentals will have any affect on hotel prices.
There is an understandable knee-jerk reaction that supposes this to be true, but there is simply no proof to support this as fact.
Just as prices for a meal in most places in Paris have reached a certain acceptable limit - 30 EU on the average - it is quite reasonable to expect the same will apply to hotel rooms. Prices do rise with inflation, but this would not be true due to factors such as the government's attempt to reclaim tax revenue - or at most, would only account for an increase of an infinitesimal percentage point.

The government has recently added a hefty tax on pieds-a-terre (owned by foreigners but which remain empty most of the time), as well as secondary residences owned by French citizens (whether or not they are inhabited on a full-time basis). As a result, many owners do not consider these to be sound financial investments, and there are an increasing number of these properties now on the market. Since short-term rentals are no longer permitted, there are few people interested in purchasing them, so the prices of these properties are falling steadily - which will have a positive effect on housing and long-term rental prices in the near future.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2015, 07:33 AM
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Thanks for the information about pieds-a-terre, manouche. Good for Paris.

I stopped donating to my heavily endowed US Midwest alma mater when I learned they had a Paris apartment for traveling bigshots. I didn't even want to know which other glamorous world capitals.
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Old Mar 8th, 2016, 08:28 AM
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I love staying in apartments in Paris. Does anyone (manouch?) know if it is legal to rent a property with commercial status?
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Old Mar 9th, 2016, 07:06 AM
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Unless you are staying in an apartment offered by the owner resident while he is away, apartments with commercial status are the only legal apartments.
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Old Mar 10th, 2016, 05:25 AM
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as usual Manouche above gives good advice...clearly most of the time apartment seekers are a different group than hotel seekers and doubt one influences the other in terms of pricing.
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