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PROPERTY

Almost half of all property rental adverts in Paris are illegal, says new study

Nearly half of all adverts for property in Paris are illegal under new rent control rules, a study by a consumer protection agency has revealed.

Almost half of all property rental adverts in Paris are illegal, says new study
House hunting in Paris can be a tough business. Photo: AFP

Paris property is famously expensive, with the high demand for housing pushing prices up even for tiny apartments in poor condition.

As anyone who has had the misfortune to be house-hunting in the city will know, finding a place to rent is hard enough, but then you have to factor in the sometimes eye-watering rent.

This was a problem that was supposed to be at last partially solved by rent control rules that were imposed in July 2019.

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These put a maximum rate on rentals and were meant to stop some of the more egregious overcharging by landlords.

The cap was imposed by the Paris mayor's office, so only applies to Paris itself – the greater Paris area and the suburbs beyond the ringroad still have no rent cap – but even within the city the rules are not being respected, according to the consumer rights group CLCV.

The group told French newspaper Le Parisien that its analysis of 1,000 representative adverts between July and November last year found that 44 percent of them were breaching the rent cap.

And the smaller the apartment space the more likely it was to be overcharging, with only 55 percent of studio adverts within legal limits, as opposed to 66 percent for two and three room apartments and 78 percent for apartments of four rooms or more.

The average overcharge for a studio apartment was a hefty €121 a month.

Going through a professional agency offers you more protection than a private rental, but still only 70 percent of agency adverts were legal, against 48 percent for private individuals.

There is a process where tenants can report landlords who are overcharging, but as of December, only 21 people had used it, either because they were unaware of the new cap or simply because they were so desperate to find somewhere to live that they were willing to overpay.

Apart from rent controls, it is illegal in France to rent out any living space that has less than nine metres square of habitable space, with a ceiling at least 2m 20cm high.

The space must also contain at least one window, an area where cooking is possible, a separate shower/bath and toilet and there must be some method of heating the property.

It must also be in a good state of repair.

Once you success in actually gaining a tenancy agreement, you have quite a few rights as a tenant – read more on your rights here.

Among those rights is the trêve hivernale – the winter period during which you cannot be evicted, even if you are in arrears with the rent.

 

 

 

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SECOND HOMES

Tax hikes of up to 60% for French second home owners

Towns and villages through France are raising property tax rates for second-home owners, with many areas voting for the maximum 60 percent increase.

Tax hikes of up to 60% for French second home owners

Even though France’s taxe d’habitation (householders’ tax) is in the process of being phased out for most French residents, second-home owners are still required to pay it.

This year more towns have voted to increase it, and others have recently gained the ability to add a surcharge for second-home owners, with French daily Le Parisien reporting that the residence tax “continues to soar.” 

Municipalities in zones tendues (areas with a housing shortage) have the ability to choose to increase taxe d’habitation by up to 60 percent for second home owners.

From 2023, several new areas – including Nantes – will join the list of zones tendues, meaning they will be able to vote to increase taxes for second-home owners.

This year, large cities such as Bordeaux, Lyon, Biarritz, Arles and Saint-Jean-de-Luz saw their city councils vote to increase the tax at the maximum 60 percent.

READ MORE: Why some French cities are increasing taxes for second-home owners

Some areas have still not chosen to apply the increase, but those looking to buy a second home in France should beware that these municipalities could vote to increase the taxe d’habitation in the future.

In 2020, cities on average voted to increase the residence tax on second homes by 248.50, in comparison to €217 in 2017. This year, that amount is expected to be even higher.

On top of the taxe d’habitation, second-home owners also have to pay the separate taxe foncière property tax, which is itself rising sharply in many areas.

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