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LIFE IN PARIS

What does scrapping rent controls in Paris mean for tenants?

The shock decision by a French court to scrap the landmark rent controls implemented in Paris back in August 2015 has left the government and Paris City Hall reeling. But what does it mean for tenants?

What does scrapping rent controls in Paris mean for tenants?
Photo: AFP
Paris City Hall immediately came out against the move, fearing the scrapping of the controls would lead to soaring rent prices. 
 
But the message from real estate experts is that people renting in Paris shouldn't panic.
 
Here's what you need to know:
 
Will rents suddenly skyrocket?
 
The short answer is no…at least not for most people. 
 
“There will be no massive increase in rents,” Philippe Buyens, manager at property search site CapiFrance told Le Parisien.
 
The president of France's national union of real estate agents, FNAIM, Jean-Marc Torrollion also advised tenants to remain calm. 
 
He said that the impact of the scrapping would depend which of the following three categories you fall in to: tenants already living in an apartment, those whose lease is about to be renewed and those looking for housing right now.
 
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Paris fears rent prices will soar after shock ruling to scrap controlsPhoto: AFP

“For the first [category], the rent is contractual. The cancellation of the controls is therefore without effect on the current contract, there is no financial consequence,” he said. 
 
“For tenants who are preparing to change their lease, their next contract will not be subject to rent control. This is the case for all leases signed since Tuesday. 
 
“But again, do not panic. According to a decree made on August 1, 2012, which is renewed each year, the amount rent payments can be increased is capped in several hundred French cities.”
 
This leaves the final group — people looking for a new apartment to rent.  
 
“In this case, the owner can, from one day to the next, decide to increase the price on his advert.”
 
What impact will the scrapping have on the real estate market?
 
According to experts, owners in Paris have already been switching to renting out their properties on a seasonal basis because it is hard for them to make money on a “classic” rental. 
 
“While the benefit of rent controls for the tenant is undeniable, it has led owners to switch to renting out properties on a seasonal basis rather than full-time,” said Buyens, the manager at CapiFrance. 
 
Paris rolls out tough new rule on Airbnb rentals
Photo: Joseph Plotz/Wikicommons
 
That means that there are more properties listed on Airbnb but less housing for professionals, with industry experts saying that for homeowners to return to the “classic” rental, it is necessary to provide them with a number of guarantees, including greater security against unpaid bills and tax incentives. 
 
They also point out that for “owners who are indebted to pay for a property, it is very expensive in Paris, so there must be a minimum profitability.”
 
The bad news for tenants is that But “prices will not go down,” Eric Allouche, director of Era Immobilier told Le Parisien.
 
“It's about supply and demand! Yes, tenants have to worry in part, in the sense that economic realities are catching up with us.” 
 
“It's an aberration, a sham, to make people believe that everyone can stay in Paris!” he added.

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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