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LIFE IN PARIS

Paris fears rent prices will soar after shock ruling to scrap controls

The French government and the mayor of Paris were left stunned this week after a court ruled that the landmark rent controls implemented in the French capital back in August 2015 should be scrapped. Paris City Hall fears rent prices, already high, could soar as a result.

Paris fears rent prices will soar after shock ruling to scrap controls
AFP
The Paris administrative court scrapped the rent controls just weeks after a similar decision was taken in the northern city of Lille, where caps had also been introduced.
 
Essentially the judge scrapped the regulation that banned landlords from setting rent prices more than 20 percent higher than the designated reference price for the neighbourhood when renting a flat for the first time or renewing a lease.
 
The court's ruling was not because it disagreed with the initiative in general but the geographical area to which it was applied. Judges believed it should be applied to the whole of the Paris region, in other words the 412 towns and suburbs on the other side of the périphérique ring road – and not just the capital itself.
 
One of the impacts of the rent controls in Paris was that prices started to rise in the in the area immediately outside the city known as the “Petite Couronne”. The rent controls were due to be rolled out to the greater Paris region in 2018 in a bid to remedy the soaring prices. In the meantime officials were gathering data to help them calculate the reference rent prices in these towns.
 
Paris City Hall denounced the “very bad news that risks push rent prices up” and called on the government to act. The government has announced it will appeal the decision.
 
Paris's housing chief Ian Brossat said: “We hope that the government, by a suspensive appeal, will continue to allow us to apply this device that has stabilized rent prices after a surge in the last ten years” . 
 
Julien Bayou head of the housing association Bail a Part said: “On the grounds that the rents have not been controlled throughout the Paris agglomeration they have decided to get rid of what was working well in Paris.”
 
Bayou said the court's decision was “a disaster that is down to the remorselessness of estate agents and large real estate owners who wanted to kill a measure that works well and protects tenants from the most abusive rents”.
 
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
 
However the UNPI, the federation of real estate owners hailed the decision “which rightly cancels an incomprehensible and inefficient regulation”.
 
Since August 2015, 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 former 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 were 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”.
 
They were due to be rolled out to other neighbourhoods around the capital in 2018, but the decision on whether to implement the caps was left to each local authority.
 
 
The figures courtesy of the CLCV housing association, which looked at 800 online apartment ads, have revealed that many landlords and even agencies are still advertising their properties at illegally high rent prices.
 
 
 
Are you paying too much to rent in France? Find outParis rooftops. Photo: Maree Turner/Flickr

STRIKES

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed

Striking airport workers have blocked part Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, with some flights already delayed by at least one hour.

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed
Striking airport workers outside Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt | AFP

Last month, trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (ADP) – the city’s Charles-de-Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports – called for a strike between July 1st and July 5th in an ongoing dispute between French airport workers and bosses over contract renegotiations.

A second wave of protests are expected next week, after a strike notice was filed for July 9th.

Tensions mounted on Friday morning as some 400 protesters staged a raucous demonstration at CDG’s terminal 2E, which mostly deals with flights outside the Schengen zone, as police officers looked on.

At Orly airport, meanwhile, some 250 people demonstrated “outside”, while a small group was inside.

The dispute is over a long-term plan by ADP to bring in new work contracts for employees at the airports, which unions say will lower pay, job losses and a reduction in rights and bonuses for employees.

The strike is being jointly called by the CGT, CFE-CGE, Unsa, CFDT and FO unions, who said in a joint press release that the proposals will “definitively remove more than a month’s salary from all employees and force them to accept geographical mobility that will generate additional commuting time”.

Unions say that staff face dismissal if they do not sign the new contracts.

ADP said on Wednesday that it expected ‘slight delays for some flights but no cancellations’ to services – but it urged travellers to follow its social media operations for real-time updates.

On Thursday, the first day of action, 30 percent of flights were delayed between 15 minutes and half-an-hour.

ADP’s CEO Augustin de Romanet had said on Tuesday that ‘everything would be done to ensure no flight is cancelled’. 

ADP reported a loss of €1.17 billion in 2020. 

Stressing that discussions are continuing over the proposed new contracts, the CEO called for “an effort of solidarity, with a red line: no forced layoffs.”

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