Paris increasing crackdowns on Airbnb rentals

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Paris increasing crackdowns on Airbnb rentals
The logo of the US online booking homes application Airbnb (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)

The city of Paris has seen an increase in fines applied to those who fail to respect rules on short-term rentals such as Airbnb, as the city seeks to keep housing accessible to locals.


France's capital, which welcomes millions of visitors per year, has been cracking down on landlords that break short-term rental rules.

People who rent out their homes on Airbnb can face hefty fines for breaking local authority rules - including not registering the property with the mairie, renting for more than the maximum permitted number of days per year or renting out a second home.

Ian Brossat, the deputy mayor of Paris in charge of housing, told Franceinfo that 10 years ago, judges typically handed out fines of around €500 to property owners who broke these rules - these days the average fine is €31,000.

He said that the increase in fines has "had a discouraging effect on property owners" from breaking the rules, and that regulations on short-term rentals and Airbnb have begun to bear fruit in the country's capital. 

Fines are applied to the property owner. 

Brossat explained that these penalties will continue to be in place during the Olympic Games. 

"The city's goal is to say 'yes' to occasional rentals, so that property owners can earn some extra money during events like the Olympic Games, but we do not want to encourage professional rentals and the predatory economy that comes with them, which turns housing into year-round tourist rentals", explained Brossat to Franceinfo.

Reader question: Can I Airbnb my apartment during the Olympics


Local authorities have noted the number of offences appears to be decreasing in Paris, with about 65 recorded during the first half of 2023 (from January to July). In comparison, there were 370 during 2022, though that value does take into consideration a back-up of cases that had been left pending between 2018 and 2021, representatives from Paris town hall told Franceinfo.

The city collected over €500,000 in fines during the first half of 2023, in comparison to €2.5 million in 2022 and €3.5 million in 2021. These values only consider the penalties that have been applied to property owners themselves, rather than rental platforms like Airbnb.

Paris has also collected over €10 million in fines from rental platforms that have failed to comply with the law.


What are the rules?

The regulation surrounding short-term rentals in France are strict - if a home is classified as one's primary residence, then it can only be rented out for a maximum of 120 days per year. Those looking to rent, even on a website like Airbnb, may need to seek permission from local authorities before proceeding, or simply register with local authorities as a holiday rental.

In cities with more than 200,000 people, or "zones tendues" (urban areas of more than 50,000 inhabitants with a housing shortage), there are additional regulations.

READ MORE: What are the rules on renting out French property on Airbnb?

Local authorities can also impose their own rules - in Paris it is forbidden to rent out a second home. The only time this is allowed is when property owners obtain a "Change of Use' authorisation (found here).

Failure to comply with the law can lead to fines of up to €50,000 per premises.

Why do these restrictions exist in the first place?

The regulations are in place in order to keep housing available for local people.

"The aim is to protect housing and prevent it from being transformed into illegal hotels and cash machines, making it so there are no longer any permanent inhabitants", Brossat told Franceinfo.

Areas of concern include parts of central Paris (in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements), as well as the Canal Saint Martin in the 10th and 11th arrondissements, the Grands Boulevards area in the 9th arrondissement, Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement and the Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement.

Will the rules become more strict in the future?

Recently two French MPs - Stéphane Mazars from Macron's centrist Renaissance party and Stéphane Peu from the Communist Party - said they hope to put forward a proposal to decrease the maximum number of rental days for primary residences down from 120 to 60. 

Meanwhile in Paris, Brossat added that hoped the government would look into the tax regime for short-term occasional rentals, stating that it is "absurd that Airbnb rentals benefit from lower rates than professional rental accommodation". 

People renting our their property on Airbnb must declare to the taxman rental income above €760 per year, and many French cities, including Paris, also collect a tourist tax, or taxe de séjour - which means means that Airbnb adds up to €4.40 per person per night to the cost of a stay. 


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