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A Poll About the Port & Regulating the Rentals

Volume XX, Issue 12

View of the Old Port in Nice

THE CITY OF NICE WANTS TO KNOW YOUR OPINION!

Since 2008, many projects have been undertaken to enhance the city, to make it more beautiful, more attractive and more pleasant to live in. Neighborhood after neighborhood, the city has engaged in a real urban reconquest, through the beautification of the squares and facades and the revitalization of the streets…thanks in particular to the greening and pedestrianization for the benefit of commercial activity and the tranquility of the environment.

With the installation of two new tramway lines, Nice now benefits from an ecological and economical transportation plan for residents and visitors. Mayor Christian Estrosi wanted the Port of Nice to be the main beneficiary thanks to Line 2 of the Tramway, which serves the Lympia Basin directly, and links the east with the west of the city. Now, he would like to engage with the residents of Nice in a global reflection on the future of the port district and its basin.

Artist rendering of the possible future look of the Old Port in Nice

This major study will allow the city administrators to evaluate and plan its economic role with regard to the new stakes involved in the maritime industry and the commercial dynamism of the area, but also to respond to the expectations of the inhabitants in terms of environmental quality. The port is the beating heart of all Mediterranean cities, and in Nice, it is a jewel that must be preserved and enhanced…with open arms to the city and the sea, by being both attractive and dynamic.

The mayor will not reinvent it without the contribution of its inhabitants. He has proposed a questionnaire to collect our feelings, our opinions and our proposals on the basis of the first reflections carried out by the City of Nice. Our answers will be collected by the City of Nice’s Port Mission, especially created to organize the different phases, and will be used to draw up the grand plan that will be proposed to us in the near future.

Participate in the questionnaire if you would like your voice to be heard!

Questionnaire: The future of the Port of Nice

If you prefer to print and complete a paper version, download the PDF

You can then drop it off or send it by post to:
Mission Port – Ville de Nice,
22 quai Lunel
06364 NICE Cedex 4

Or send it by email

CRACKING DOWN ON SHORT-TERM RENTALS

Cracking down on holiday rentals seems to be a trend globally that is (in my opinion) trying to force a round peg into a square hole. Of course, their goal is to improve the acute housing shortage in France by limiting short-term rental properties, but (again, in my opinion), they are going about it all wrong.

Here’s what’s happening according to a report in The Local on Tuesday…

A new rule will come into effect in June that will force landlords in certain holiday destinations to match their short-term rental by offering another, but long-term rental property—meaning one landlord must own two properties. Biarritz, Bayonne and Saint-Jean-de-Luz are among them. The area has had a growth of short-term rentals from 2016 to 2020 of 130 percent with more than 16,000 properties for tourist rental. (See the official regulations in PDF)

As of June 1st, here’s how it’s going to work:

• Landlords who want to use their property for short-term holiday lettings will need to offer a second property, similar in size and in the same town, with a conventional rental contract;

• Landlords cannot simply build another property to rent out alongside their Airbnb one—they must renovate a building that already exists and is being used for non-housing purposes (i.e. a garage).

The authorities believe that landlords will struggle to meet these requirements and may be forced to offer their properties onto the traditional rental market instead, thereby adding to the housing supply. As it already stands, landlords need to apply for a license to rent short-term, renewable every three years. These are “grandfathered in,” but once their three years is up, they must comply with the new regulations.

Primary residents can still rent their primary residence short-term for up to 120 days a year, except to students for nine months a year, without complying to the new rules. If you have a health issue that leaves your property vacant more than four months, you can rent it for longer.

Cities with a population of more than 200,000 require authorization from the local city hall to offer up a short-term rental. Some cities with less population, but with a housing shortage may also be subject to the rules. And if you get caught by the authorities, stiff fines may be imposed.

Why do I think they are trying to force a square peg into a round hole? Because we are living in a global society that has become more and more transient every day. Our needs are very different than they were a decade ago, and now even more so since the pandemic and the fast pace at which we discovered how to work remotely. People now live in many different places over the course of the year and want the freedom to come and go as they please. Anyone who can afford to leave their property empty simply will. But, by renting their property when not in use, they are not taking housing away, but providing it!

A building with a peaked roof built under a rounded arch: square peg, round hole

The authorities are considering this from the wrong point of view. They are punishing land owners when they should be encouraging ownership. If landlords don’t have the revenue to improve their properties, they just won’t maintain or enhance them—meaning the properties will degenerate, sometimes even to slum level. For their long-term tenants, imagine what that might mean?

If they really want to fill vacant housing to the brim, then this is counter-productive. In addition, it’s certainly contrary to encouraging tourism on which many cities thrive.

I’ve watched how Parisians have dealt with the problem over the last 10 years. Owners who once thrived in their pied-à-terre for part of the year while renting it the rest of the year, have either left them vacant, or rented “au noir” (under the table, without paying tax on the profits), or rented on a mobility lease or sold and rarely return to the city. Travelers who wish to come for less than one month are relinquished to hotel stays without the amenities of a kitchen or laundry facility. (How do families manage this?) Travelers wishing to stay one month or more, if not traveling on business or education (requirement of the Mobility Lease), under these regulations are not even entitled to housing, much less can they find it!

Search results for a rental in Paris

Meanwhile, no one can tell you who you can let stay in your own property! Remember this! I dare them to argue it! And why should any city have the right to regulate what I do with my own property? To me, this is ludicrous.

I contend and always have, that if left to the co-owners of the buildings instead, they would use their own voice to determine if they want transiency in their buildings or not. But, take me for instance: I live in two cities. I travel sometimes as often as weekly with my suitcases in and out of the building. How does that differ from having renters? Yet, no one can stop me. And meanwhile, I cannot rent either home while it remains vacant, gathering dust. What a waste!

A better solution would be to limit the number of short-term secondary properties an owner can offer on the market. So, the landlord has one he uses from time to time and rents it when vacant, but only one, not 10. This way the landlord is actually creating the housing, while allowing the owner to enjoy their property plus generate a revenue, but limiting the proliferation of the industry and therefore the number of short-term properties on the market. This other concept—to force a landlord to own two properties instead of one—one for short-term and the other for long-term, is in effect a similar result, but unrealistic to actually accomplish. Most property owners cannot afford to invest that much, especially if all they want to do is cover their carrying costs of a property they own and don’t use all year long.

Ad for a short-term rental in France

In Nice, the rules up to now have allowed for short-term rentals up to six years. Many of our buyers took advantage of that rule, but then the city imposed a new rule requiring the registration of the property and approval by both the building and the city. It’s getting harder to get the city’s approval because the buildings are voting against the short-term rentals, proving my original theory that if left to the owners, they would regulate themselves better than the city could!

This is my bottom line: the people should be able to decide for themselves what works for them by virtue of voting as co-owners. And the cities need to find more realistic and reasonable ways of finding housing without punishing the people (landlords) who actually provide it by investing in property!

It simply makes no sense to “bite the hand that feeds you.” And that’s exactly what they are doing. Not only are the property owners suffering, but so are the tenants. On top of that, the real estate industry as a whole has seen a huge loss.

One solution is Fractional Ownership, which is one reason it’s become so successful—a group of owners share in one property. Usage is 100 percent and no one can tell an owner they can’t use their own property!!

We have one property almost sold out and two more in progress…so if you want to be an owner without the hassle of being a landlord, visit our website. And stay tuned for more on the horizon!

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds at the Old Port in Nice wearing a red jacketAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group

P.S. If you wish to be informed personally when our shares of next Fractional Ownership properties go up for sale, email us today.

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2 Comments

  1. KAREN GEE on March 24, 2022 at 11:05 am

    Well said, Adrian! The last couple of Airbnbs I’ve rented in Paris, the owners have cited the 120-day limit they can rent out their property through Airbnb. One owner had me book just one night through Airbnb, then offered me a significant discount to book the other nights under the table. I paid cash when I arrived – a risk for both parties. The other owner also offered a big discount, giving me a coded email address in the Airbnb messaging system, which hides email addresses and phone numbers to discourage private communication.

    So sad that property owners have to resort to such actions when, as you said, it’s their property!

    • Adrian Leeds Group on March 29, 2022 at 3:09 am

      Thank you for sharing your comments.Be careful going outside of the Airbnb system as you lose any protections they offer when you do this.

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