Good news for renters: New caps to hit Paris region

Good news for the millions of people living in greater Paris - they'll soon be allowed to contest their monthly rent costs.

Good news for renters: New caps to hit Paris region
Sunset over Val de Marne to the southeast of Paris. Photo: Gabriel de Castelaze/Flickr
Housing Minister Emmanuelle Cosse announced on Wednesday that rent regulations are to be rolled out in 412 local authorities in the Greater Paris region of Ile-de-France. 
These will affect around 8 million people, mostly in the areas just outside of central Paris in the départments of Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Yvelines, Val d'Oise, Essonne and Seine-et-Marne. 
The measures, which effectively ensure renters aren't paying too much for their apartments, have been in place in Paris since August last year. They were brought in to try to put a halt on rising rent prices that have made the city unaffordable to some of the less well off.
But one of the impacts of the caps in Paris was that prices started to rise in the area immediately outside the city known as the “Petite Couronne”. By rolling out the rules across the Ile de France region the government hopes to remedy the situation.
“It was important to start in Paris and send a signal, but now it's time to go beyond,” the minister Cosse told France Bleu radio.
“There are areas where the rent is too expensive in the greater Paris region and this measure will restore purchasing power to the households affected.”
The measures won't come into effect in the areas outside Paris until 2018.
The northern French city of Lille, however, will be rolling out its own rent caps in December this year, with Grenoble to the south expected to do the same within 18 months. 
Since August, Parisian landlords have had to play along with the rent-capping law – known as the Loi Alur (or Loi Duflot as it was originally called) – which was rolled out as a part of a sweeping housing reform by the current government.
It came as part of a bid to control rental prices in the capital, which have spiraled upwards by 42 percent over the last ten years. 
The reform meant Paris rent prices are now measured in euros per square metre and based on the building's age and location.  
Under the rules no new rental contract could charge more than 20 percent per square metre above the neighborhood’s median rent, which is assessed annually by a “local rent observatory”.
Are you paying too much to rent in France? Find out

Paris rooftops. Photo: Maree Turner/Flickr
More designated “strained” zones that have been identified across the country including cities like Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier, where renters faced the same issues as in Paris – crazily high prices and a lack of flats available.
But the decision on whether to impose the rent caps is being left to local authorities so while the Paris rent system is in the process of being controlled, thousands if not millions of renters across the country are potentially suffering from overpriced homes and apartments, because their local mayors are choosing not to implement the law.
In April, France's consumer rights organisation CLCV launched a site called “My rent is too high” (Mon loyer trop cher) where renters from all cities can check in to see if they're being ripped off. 
After entering your details – providing you live in one of the 1,151 municipalities around the 28 cities in France where the law is supposed to apply – you can learn whether you are indeed paying too much.
If so, you are encouraged to send the information along to your local mayor or MP with just one extra click. 
If you want to find out if you're paying too much, check out the Mon loyer trop cher site here

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Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

Installing a swimming pool, building a garden shed, or adding a conservatory to your French home has become more expensive in 2023.

Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

If you are planning a renovation project in 2023 you’re likely looking at rising cost for materials and labour due to inflation – but there is one other cost to consider; taxes. 

In France there is a one-off tax that has to be paid on certain building works, and the government has raised the rate for this.

The taxe d’aménagement, sometimes referred to as the garden shed tax, applies to all property development – construction, reconstruction and extension – of buildings that require planning permission or a building permit.

Garden sheds, swimming pools or extensions with a surface area of more than 5 square metres are subject to the development tax – although a 50 percent reduction is applied to the flat-rate values of certain buildings, particularly the first 100 square metres of main residences.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about installing a swimming pool at your French property

The tax is collected by local councils, who set their own percentage rates for the tax, working off the base rate set by the government.

A decree published in the Journal Officiel set the base figures for 2023 at the following rates: 

  • €1,004 per square metre in Île-de-France (up from €929 per square metre in 2022);
  • €886 per square metre outside Île-de-France (€820 per square metre in 2022).

The flat-rate values per square metre of building space, which constitute the basis for the development tax, are revised on January 1st of each year according to the latest construction cost index published by national statistics body Insee. 

Additionally, specific rates are set for:

  • €250 per square metre  for a swimming pool (up from €200 in 2022);
  • €12 per square metre of ground-fixed solar panels (up from €10 in 2022);
  • €3,000 per wind turbine more than 12 metres high;
  • €3,000 per pitch for tents, caravans and mobile leisure homes;
  • €10,000 per pitch for a holiday chalet or bungalow.

The amount of the tax is calculated according to the following formula: 

(Taxable area multiplied by the government-set base figure) multiplied by the percentage tax rate set by the local authorities. This gives the total to be paid in cents. Bills are rounded down.

So, the tax for a 30 square metre extension in an area where the combined local and departmental tax rates total 6.25 percent would be calculated like this:

30 (the size of the development) x 886 (the base tax rate outside Ile-de-France) = 26,580

6.25 (local and departmental tax) x 26,580 = 166,125 cents, more usually expressed as €1,661. 

If the total payable is less than €1,500, you will receive a bill in the six months after planning permission was granted, with details of how to pay.

Otherwise, it is paid in two instalments, 12 months and 24 months after authorisation, with a 10 percent surcharge applied in cases of late payments.

READ ALSO The hidden costs of owning property in France