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HOUSING

Frenchman fined for sub-letting flat on Airbnb

Tenants in France might want to think twice before they consider using rental sites such as Airbnb to boost their income after a Parisian was recently fined €2,000 for illegally sub-letting his apartment on the website.

Frenchman fined for sub-letting flat on Airbnb
Frenchman fined for subletting apartment on Airbnb website. Screengrab: Airbnb.

A tenant in the 9th arrondissement of Paris has been charged with illegally subletting his apartment using the popular short-term room-rental website Airbnb.

Although cases of illegal subletting are nothing new in France, this is the first known case in France involving the website, which is popular among tourists in the notoriously expensive French capital.

According to Le Monde, the tenant in question profited from an average of €180 per month from occasionally subletting his apartment on the website.

Guests included two “travelling friends” who paid €300 each per month, Le Parisien reported.

Protesting the charges, the man claimed he gained “absolutely no advantage” from renting out his flat and that the guests were simply contributing towards living costs.

But in February the tenant was forced to pay €2,000 to his landlord, the SCPI, a real-estate investment trust, for failure to perform his obligations as a tenant.

By French law, landlords are forbidden from renting out their main apartments for less than a year, or nine months in the case of a student.  

In the case of seasonal rentals, the only obligation concerns secondary residences in towns with more than 200,000 inhabitants, in which case the landlord must register at the town hall, according to Le Monde.

“The problem is not so much Airbnb, or other similar sites, but rather subletting in general,” David Rodrigues a legal advisor at the CLCV housing association told the paper. “You need a written authorization from the landlord and the rent cannot be higher than the price per metre squared that you are paying.”

Founded in San Francisco in August 2008, Airbnb boasts 500,000 listings in 33,000 towns and cities in 192 countries. In April the company was valued at  $10 billion.

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PROPERTY

VIDEO: The French château that could be yours for €750k

For most of us, owning our own château in southwest France is probably in the realms of lottery-winning dreams - but someone could soon own one such historic building. 

VIDEO: The French château that could be yours for €750k

The beautiful 16th-century Chateau De Saint-Elix, half-an-hour from Toulouse’s Blagnac airport, will be sold in a 24-hour online auction, starting on Tuesday, June 21, at 1pm and running until Wednesday, June 22, at 1pm.

Built between 1540 and 1549, the Renaissance-style building is a Historic Monument and has been twice put up for sale in recent years – in 2014 and 2018 – without success.

Now owned by the French State, the 2,000 square metre building, complete with four romantic towers, a recently renovated slate roof and nearly 3 hectares of land is again back on the market. 

You can even take a virtual tour of the building, which has 25 good-sized rooms, including 14 bedrooms, spread over three levels.

The starting price for the auction is set at €750,000.

Potential vendors should also keep in mind the extra costs of buying property in France, from taxes to notaire fees. We imagine the heating bill would be quite hefty in the winter too. 

READ ALSO The ‘hidden extra costs of buying property in France

Saint-Elix has a rich past. It was notably the home of the Marquis de Montespan after his wife became mistress to Louis XIV. It was partially destroyed in the Revolution.

Photo: CESSIONS IMMOBILIÈRES DE L’ETAT

More recently, it was listed as a historic monument in 1927, but was ravaged by fire in 1945.

In the 1980s the castle underwent a vast renovation project that lasted eight years. 

The pleasure garden is listed in the pre-inventory of remarkable gardens. The park, the regular garden, orangery, enclosing walls, stables, basin and dovecote were also registered as historic monuments in 1994.

Full details of the property are available here. More detailed information, including legal requirements for the purchaser, is available as a series of pdf documents here.

Photo: CESSIONS IMMOBILIÈRES DE L’ETAT

It should be noted that any non-France resident interested in purchasing the property must supply an avis juridique – translated into French attesting to that they have the legal and financial requirements for buying and owning the property, on top of all other necessary documents.

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