France not banning renting to tourists

Daily Mail, 13 December 2013

Daily Mail, 13 December 2013

A number of clients have contacted us about the Daily Mail article on the 13th December 2013 titled “Thousands of Brits with holiday homes in Spain and France may be banned from renting them out to tourists”. The article suggests a new law is coming into effect in France that will ban second home owners from privately renting out their apartment to holiday makers. It goes on, “In France, a crackdown on holiday lets in the capital Paris as well as Lyon and Marseille is expected next week.”

Except such a law does not exist, nor is it being tabled. We asked our Notaire, who’s job is to keep abreast of all upcoming laws regarding property and taxation, and they have never heard of such a proposed law. As far as I can see, it was included as a “point of debate” in response to the Mayor of Paris who has been pushing for the past 2 years to have such a law. He considers it “aggravating the housing crisis in Paris” and “unfair competition for hotels”. There is a good write up here (French). Even then the Minister in charge says at the end, “touristic towns are not evisaged (under this legislation), only towns which are drastically short of primary residences”. Hence it would not affect the Cote d’Azur.

Of course such a law would be a burden to home owners, both foreign and domestic. Many of our clients advertise their property on sites such as AirBnB and HouseTrip, or contract out to a property management agency, to allow their property to pay for itself whilst it is not being used. Nice has a very strong rental demand all year around, and Cannes is a popular destination during exhibitions and festivals.

There is property rental legislation going through, however, and the first draft was passed on the 16th January. You can follow its latest state here. It includes tightening up on estate agents, who will need special civil insurance and face stricter penalties for any contraventions, and limiting rent increases on long-term lets. We are not sure Hollande can legislate new buildings into existance, and nobody is going to build whilst his punative taxes are in place for developers (construction down another 20% last year).