French tourist towns get power to limit short-term property rentals

The Local France
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French tourist towns get power to limit short-term property rentals
Stricter controls on short-term property rentals in certain areas of France are to come into force. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)

Popular tourist destinations in France will soon be able to impose stricter controls on short-term seasonal property rentals such as Airbnbs after the government announced a series of measures to counter housing shortages.

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Though clearly intended to target the proliferation of French properties advertised on short-term property let websites, there is little in the way of meat on the measures, prompting criticism that they’re vague and too dependent on a number of factors falling into place. But, while the devil will be in as-yet undisclosed details, what has been announced will affect thousands of communes across the country.

Tax increases

The number of communes identified as “zones tendues” (areas which have a housing shortage) will triple to around 3,700.


Any commune that has this designation can - if the local authority decides to - impose extra property taxes, namely a surcharge on second homes and an 'empty homes tax'. 

READ ALSO Property tax surcharge: Where in France second-home owners are liable for extra taxes

These communes will also be able to monitor and regulate properties advertised for short-term tourist lets by imposing a registration and authorisation procedure for landlords offering short-term rentals - including people renting our their properties on a short-term basis on Airbnb.

Energy ratings

Meanwhile, furnished tourist accommodation is set to be subject to the same energy performance rules as long-term rentals, which would, in turn, lead to a ban on renting out the least energy efficient properties.

Since the start of the year, properties with an energy rating of F or G - the least energy-efficient - cannot be rented out to long-term tenants, but holiday rentals were not included in the rule.

This can change, although the application of this energy rule will remain at the discretion of the communes, which are also responsible for monitoring compliance.

READ ALSO What France's new energy audit rules mean for property owners

Tax breaks

The Housing Ministry is also studying possible tax reforms intended to make tourist rentals less attractive economically compared to long-term lets.

The Loc'Avantages scheme, which allows individuals to rent out accommodation at social rates in exchange for tax benefits, will see its rent ceilings raised on January 1st, 2024. 

READ ALSO Reader question: Who has to pay France’s ‘vacant property’ tax?

Lessors will therefore be able to rent at higher rates, “which will make the scheme more suitable and more attractive, enabling it to be massively expanded”, according to the executive. 

Several measures involve the creation of standardised digital platforms, to facilitate data collection and exploitation by local authorities.

READ ALSO So you want to Airbnb your French property during the Olympics?


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