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Paris Vacation Rentals in 2015

Old Aug 7th, 2014, 09:33 PM
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Paris Vacation Rentals in 2015

Hi folks,
I've started thinking about another trip with the family to Paris (and Burgundy) next spring/summer, and we'll want to stay in a rental apartment like we always have.

I just read a comment from Kerouac on another post strongly implying that vacation rentals in 2015 will be gone... or at the very least a be a difficult option... because Paris is finally cracking down on the legislation. I'd love to see more discussion about this issue.

Will self-catering rentals in Paris really go away? Will they just become more difficult to find, or be left to a handful of corporate rental companies (which would drive a premium on the rentals).

The agent we used last year explained to us (and this may or may not be truth) that the law applies only to unregistered rentals, and that companies that are in the commercial rental business and pay their fees legally will be able to continue renting. We shared that apartment with another couple, and payed a high premium for a luxury 3 bedroom/3 bath apartment by Invalides---so it's unlikely I'd return to that apartment next year with just us and the kids. But she said rentals like that, where the owner has applied for the permit and pays the fees, will continue renting legally.

So please tell me, is that an accurate understanding of the law? Are there rental agencies that are already positioning themselves this way? If so, I imagine this law will effectively drive up the price of vacation rentals for "legit" rentals. Or will people continue to book with VRBO and ignore the law, and run risk of their rental being unavailable when they land?

Obviously, there seems to be no noticeable decrease in available apartments when you google Paris apartments, including many of the usual suspects and well-loved Fodors favorites. But is that starting to change?

Fodors Paris pros... what do you all think? Care to wager a guess what 2015 will be like? Will they be successful stopping all self-catering apartments? Are they mostly cracking down on people using VRBO and Air BNB and less on the agencies that rent them through more formal/established commercial channels?

Thanks for sharing your ideas.
-skatterfly
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Old Aug 7th, 2014, 11:01 PM
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You should have no problem with the normal legal rental agencies like Paris Perfect. Other agencies you will need to check out to see if they comply with the law
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Old Aug 8th, 2014, 04:42 AM
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We just rented this 3 BR apartment for next year for 4 nights.

http://www.specialapartments.com/62_chapon.html
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Old Aug 8th, 2014, 07:56 AM
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Short term rentals in Paris may not be gone by 2015 but the rental environment is indeed changing. Owners have been illegally renting apartments for years and France has made little effort to enforce the statutes prohibiting the practice. The trend towards enforcement has been driven by a shortage of apartments for residence, complaints by neighbors of noisy (and illegal) renters, and by cities wanting the tax revenues that they would otherwise obtain from a commercial activity that they are not receiving from illegal rentals.

There is indeed a provision allowing a resident to rent his home for up to 4 months a year but many, if not most, of the properties found on line are not full time residences. They are full time, short term rentals offer to tourists 12 months of the year. Many of the owners never declare the revenue from these apartments nor are the apartments insured for what is effectively commercial activity.

Here is a recent article on this subject:
http://www.thelocal.fr/20140526/fren...flat-on-airbnb

The crackdown and fines affect the owners directly. The renter´s risk is that he might not have a place to stay when he arrives in Paris. The enforcement is starting with the most egregious offenders, owners who might not live in Paris and own properties, sometimes many properties, only for the purpose of renting them short term. Air BNB, VRBO, single ads in le Bon Coin, and other on line rental sources are all being targeted.

It is not a matter of whether an agency is legal or not, it all has to do with the property and whether the apartment is located in a building zoned for commercial activity (such as are Citadine properties) or if the apartment is actually inhabited by a owner restricting rentals to a maximum of 4 months per year.
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Old Aug 8th, 2014, 11:25 AM
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Interesting info... Thanks everyone.

Sarastro... Can you clarify... Are you saying if an owner primarily lives in the apartment they can legally rent it out for up to 4 months? Actually.. That sort of rings a bell from our agent. She said the couple that owned it lived there "when they were in Paris" and rented it out when not. And of course that it was registered and paying whatever fee they would be required. Ahh... To be lucky enough to have those kinds of "rich people problems" having to decide what to do with their vacant paris apartment while they are off traveling the world.

Anyway, does "commercial" in France mean that the entire building is a zoned hotel such as Citadines. Or that the business is a commercial business (I.e. paying taxes). Or that the building the apartment is in falls into some sort of commercial overlay map. So many apartment buildings in Paris have retail/commercial on the ground floor and residences above it so I doubt that the latter (having a commercial shop on the ground floor) is enough of an exclusion for this law. Otherwise there wouldn't be so much commotion. Understanding their definition of commercial would be helpful.

I guess this brings me to another question... I'm not asking for specific rental properties (there are thousands), but I'd be curious if there already is (or will emerge this year) some sort of listing of legal apartment rentals agencies? Or some sort of "Paris approved" trade seal to look for when renting.

I remember over the last couple of years, I've seen a handful or rental agencies comment publicly about this, indicating that their professional trade associations were fighting it, or at least trying to help their owners get into compliance. I vaguely recall there being some sort of registry or logo to look for when renting...

Or perhaps the point is that essentially anything other than a Citadines-type hotel is technically illegal. And I have absolutely no desire to stay in a Citadines.

I understand the merits of the law (air bnb is contributing to the lack of affordable rent here in SF) but then again, I can see it from the flat owners standpoint. If they own it and don't occupy it year round, one of the reasons they may have purchased it was to be able to rent it out when they aren't there. I'm so glad I don't have an apartment in Paris and I don't have to worry about this personnally.

Thanks all.
-skatterfly
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Old Aug 8th, 2014, 12:01 PM
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If you are renting from a homeowner who otherwise lives in the apartment, this would be a legal activity. He may rent out his primary residence for a period not to exceed 4 month per year.

There are apartments which are qualified as commercial enterprises. This usually requires approval from the homeowners association and the city. The owner pays appropriate taxes and obtains any necessary city permits. I am not involved in apartment rentals and unfortunately do not have more detailed information but it appears that there is a large number of available apartments which would not qualify as legal rentals.

Here is a better explanation of the new laws in Paris:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic....html#52883748

Here is a rather lengthy discussion on apartments in Paris:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...de_France.html
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Old Aug 8th, 2014, 08:52 PM
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Thanks, Sarastro,.. those links are exactly the kind of the information that I was looking for. It's an interesting discussion that's been going on online for a few years since this law was first passed, and watching it work through the French lawmakers... and now to see that it's getting enforced. And while I can appreciate the issue of the horrendous shortage of reasonable housing in Paris, I think it's an impossible task to completely outlaw every single short term rental. And with the loophole allowing home owners to let their properties up to 4 months, these of apartments will continue to thrive but will probably increase their rates as the cheaper (and illegal) places you can find on Air BNB will be more dubious.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 05:58 AM
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You will have no trouble dealing with companies like Paris Perfect( as mentioned above) or others who are reputable and have registered Paris apartments.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 06:56 AM
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I have decided to rent from someone like them next trip. I rented from a lovely women last trip but know they did not live in the building and it was a cash transaction. I appreciate the info.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 06:56 AM
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While I do live in Paris, I am not in the rental market and have no financial interest in short term rentals. Current events surrounding short term rentals will be interesting to watch. Enforcement of rules pertaining to these properties could fizzle out and everything could continue as is.

On the other hand, momentum is building to crack down on violators. At the present time, no one really knows what the situation will be one or two years from now but just because someone deals with a reputable company does not mean that a renter is immune from the effects of a crack down, and I have no idea what a registered apartment really is. If the city of Paris has a list of apartments approved for short term rental income, it would be interesting to look at as I have never seen nor heard of one.

Many of the apartments listed in places such as Paris Perfect are owned by people who do not use them as primary residences. They may visit their properties once or twice a year but does a few visits qualify one as a resident? Does the agency carefully restrict such rentals to a maximum of 4 months a year?

These are the types of things that are being looked at right now by a special commission from the mayor´s office. I believe that if there is a noticeable change in how short term rentals are handled, any change will not come quickly.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 02:31 PM
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You pay a big fee to be registered and the apartments are inspected and approved. Sounds like a City of Paris rip off!!
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 02:40 PM
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So hard for the renter to understand fully. We rent almost exclusively from one agency (and occasionally Paris Perfect off-season)and I asked about their compliance with the law. I was told their apartments are registered and they pay the taxes.

I hope we are not homeless in Paris in the future but have no reason to doubt what the agency is telling me.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 03:24 PM
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Personally, I am not concerned. I think if you rent from the prominent companies that you do not have to be concerned.

It is, of course hurting the good, small ones.

a bientot...

Joan
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 04:58 PM
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The shills for Paris Perfect will shill for them no matter what. Their definition of "reputable" is circular.

The point is: The law is changing. And it will continue to change. If you are thinking of renting an apartment in the future, you will need to keep abreast of the changing law and demand that your rental agency supply you with written guarantees that the apartments they are renting are legal, according to the latest law.

You cannot rely on social media to reassure you that "I am not concerned because I trust my friends whom I consider prominent" (or "who owe me so many favors I know I will always have a place to stay on my trips.") You need to follow the law and ask for written guarantees.

More than one person who has rented from Paris Perfect has ended up stuck without the Paris apartment they thought was guaranteed to them. Various reasons were given, but the bottom line is that Paris Perfect, like most all other Paris agencies, does not own the apartments it advertises and "manages" and therefore has no ultimate control over how the owners handle them when it comes to honoring short-term rental contracts.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 08:31 PM
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Shill is not a nice word to use!! I don't think anyone posting on this thread could or should be called such! Anyone posting that they enjoy renting from whatever company does so because they have enjoyed doing so, for a variety of reasons. There are many very reliable companies in Paris and many of us enjoy each of them, for our own reasons. No reason for any of us to think that the one we rent from is the best one, for everyone! No reason for anyone saying not nice things because they do not agree with our choice, either.

Fodor's does have rules for manners! Best to follow them!

a bientot,

Joan
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 04:49 AM
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sarastro had the most complete information, as things stand now. It's not what many people want to hear, but it's factual.

Think about this - if you ask someone if they are doing anything illegal, wouldn't you expect the response to be: "Yes, of course, everything is above-board, 100% honest and why would we lie to you?"

When in fact, the real answer should be: "Well, no, we're not in compliance with the law, but we don't really care. We don't know if we'll have any problems, but if we do, we'll just have to deal with that - and so will you."

The fact that enforcing this law will take ages to reach everyone who is not in compliance means nothing. The real enforcement is coming from neighbors, who have simply had enough of their homes being turned into unlicensed hotels.

Add jealousy (because your neighbor is possibly making a fortune in undeclared income), and you've got vigilantes contacting the police and the co-op board, reporting every bit of noise, damage to common areas (especially elevators), improper recycling, and the fact that they just don't want strangers coming in-and-out at all hours.

So, though the law might not officially be enforced, neighbors can - and will - make your visit a living nightmare. Many agencies will pay off the gardiennes and the nearest neighbors, asking them to look the other way - but this doesn't always work. It's not a pleasant thing to think about, but having someone frequently knocking on your door to complain about the least little thing can certainly ruin a vacation.

Finally - this is something to take very seriously - since short-term rental apartments (no matter who rents them out) are not regulated, they are not inspected for fire, safety and sanitary codes. Hotels must comply, and are inspected on a regular basis. If you choose to stay in an apartment, you should think about your safety. Though the plumbing and lighting fixtures in the apartment might be new, they are retro-fitted into the common pipes and wires of old buildings - services that often can't handle the load, and cause plumbing back-ups, power surges, outages and much worse.

As the law stands now, only an extremely small number of vacation rentals are legal. A full-time, documented resident of Paris has the right to rent up to 4 months per year, however, this falls under the rules of the co-op agreement, and is not always "encouraged". Again, the vigilantes trump the government.

An agency or corporation might say they have applied for a license to rent, but this has nothing to do with the laws regarding illegal rentals. It's a marketing tool, pure and simple. If you choose to rent an apartment - from an agency, individual or based on the recommendations from people you have never met and who might be good pals with the owners - go ahead and take the chance.

But I would suggest avoiding any possible problems, and rent a hotel room, instead. Anyone needing a kitchen can rent legally from Citadines and Adagio appart'hotels.

Some people will encounter problems and be willing to roll the dice, but others want and need a sense of security, and are not willing to find that their apartment was "yanked" at the last minute and they must end up in another they didn't choose. By the way, "plumbing problems" often translates to "Those nasty neighbors called the cops again, so we're going to cool it for awhile."

It's simply time to re-think vacations and "living like a local", at least in Paris.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 05:33 AM
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As this change takes effect it will probably keep us from visiting Paris at all. I travel with kids and having the kitchen, washing machine and separate bedrooms is essential to making our trip comfortable. I checked out the Adagio hotels and for a week we would travel next summer a 2 bedroom for the 5 of us way out in the 15th (totally not a desirable area for us) came out to $3376.00 and a Citadines was $3049.00! Our usual 2 bedroom apartment in the 4th is $1929.00. That is a huge difference in a families vacation budget.

I do feel for the people of Paris but I also feel for my pocketbook and if I want to be able to take my kids to experience all that Europe has to offer then I need to stay within a certain lodging budget and the hotel concept does not cut it.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 05:52 AM
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Everyone has to find their own comfort level with the Paris situation. I spend quite a bit of time in Paris and I asked the right questions of the right people, until I was satisfied for my personal comfort.

a bientot....

Joan
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 06:00 AM
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trvlgirlmq - People say this kind of thing all the time, but the fact is that Paris will not miss you, if you decide not to come. Threatening to take one's vacation dollars elsewhere is just useless, since there are plenty of other people willing to come and spend their vacation dollars.

Many major cities have successfully enforced similar bans,many more are beginning to do so, and none has suffered a loss in tourist revenue - New York, San Francisco, etc. The only people complaining are those who have apartments to rent, and people who can't meet their travel budget as they used to.

Though you will miss bringing your family to stay in what some consider to be the most desirable areas of town, the other arrondissements are just as interesting - and safe - and prices for Adagio and Citadines are much lower, too. Perhaps it's time to start thinking outside the box, and see what the rest of the city has to offer. After all, you would only be a short ride away via Metro or bus. It's worth considering, if you are determined to keep visiting Paris.

I would be willing to bet that most people who enjoy vacation rental apartments in Paris do not live in condos or areas where short-term rentals are allowed. Furthermore, they wouldn't stand for such activity, in or near their own property - NIMBY, and all that.

I think it's oddly insensitive to assume that it would be fine to rent an illegal apartment in someone else's place of residence, just because it meets a vacation budget. Nobody is guaranteed a vacation, especially at the expense of another person's quality of life.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 08:37 AM
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Manouche - I just gave you prices for Adagio and Citadines in outer areas and those prices are absolutely ridiculous at over $400/night. I would never pay that for a hotel here in the US and if I did I could stay in a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons.

You are right Paris won't miss me but that is not the point I am trying to make and you don't get it.
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