Ready, Willing and Able to Find You a Rental Property…Anywhere in France!
We get requests from readers seeking short-term rental apartments in Paris on a daily basis. Once upon a time, we represented about 35 short-term luxury rental apartments that stayed booked up and made an awful lot of vacationers happy. Those ended a few years ago, even before the Covid-19 pandemic when all travel came to a halt, because of the unfavorable changes in the short-term rental laws in Paris.
The changes in the laws started with Paris as long ago as November 2009. Suddenly one day, out of the blue, one of the owners of a business specializing in long-term rentals, who wanted to promote that particular service, issued an ABP to the immediate rental world that strict short-term rental laws existed on the law books…but the agencies were ignoring them. She used the words “Paris Cracks Down on Short-Term Apartment Rentals” in the headline. The articles went to local media and the 40+ agencies in Paris including ours.
We knew nothing about the laws. No one did. The government had not issued any notices. No one was cracking down on anything. What was she talking about?
The industry went into shock and as a result, a group of agencies formed a federation (the SPLM) and immediately organized a meeting. I was there along with the other agencies, as was the woman who started it all, who was blasted by her fellow agency owners.
The laws had been on the books since 1948 and applied to cities of 200,000 or more, but each city could enforce them as they wished. At the time Bertrand Delanoë was the mayor. He was not enforcing them and business was booming. Our investment clients were thrilled with the ability to buy a property they could use for part of the year and rent the rest, generating the money to cover their expenses. Our renters were even more thrilled by having access to luxury apartments in the City of Light that they could call home for a week, rather than stay in an impersonal hotel with no kitchen or washing machine. Most of the apartments were in central Paris—Le Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Ile Saint-Louis and Ile de la Cité.
About six months later, the New York Times and other major news outlets, picked up her article, almost verbatim, and ran with it: “Paris Cracks Down on Short-Term Apartment Rentals.” That’s when all hell broke loose—because that’s when the public at large got wind of the rental laws. That’s when homeowners became aware of the strangers in their buildings and how now something could possibly be done about that.
Meanwhile, Airbnb was gaining popularity. Born in 2007, when two hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, the online platform threatened professional agencies. They got nervous that this new contender could offer the average homeowner the ability to promote his property for rent without employing a professional agency. It connected the individual to the individual, eliminating the middleman.
We were confident that we could outperform Airbnb and the individual apartment owner by offering a much better product—a luxury apartment managed by a professional entity, screening the renters to ensure that the properties would be treated with respect, as would their buildings and neighbors. While Delanoë was still in office till 2014, nothing really changed for us and business was booming.
Then, Anne Hidalgo was elected Mayor of Paris and life changed for the rental industry. She decided to make the acute housing shortage one of her primary goals to fix and further decided that the primary reason for the shortage was the growing number of short-term rental apartments in the city. I don’t know if she bothered to really understand her dilemma or not, but I know for a fact (and have written about it often) that the shortage is largely due to other factors. Still, this was an easy scapegoat for her, particularly with the growing support of the permanent residents who weren’t thrilled with all those strangers in their homes. She appointed Ian Brossat, a member of the French Communist Party (PCF), as her deputy in charge of housing, emergency accommodation, and refugee protection.
Since that time, the ability of our owners to legally rent their properties became increasingly more difficult and ultimately we ended our relationship with short-term rental bookings and management entirely. And it’s become increasingly difficult for renters to find accommodations in Paris and many of the other cities affected by the laws. So, it’s no wonder that we still get so many emails from people like you who prefer to stay in an apartment, rather than a hotel, and how frustrating it is for us to have to say, “Sorry, due to the unfavorable changes in the short-term rental laws in Paris we are no longer offering vacation rental apartments.”
If you wish to rent for one month or longer, then there are plenty of “mobility lease” apartments advertised on Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway and other platforms. This type of lease is intended for students and people who move around: professional transfer/temporary assignment/vocational training/work experience/apprenticeship/voluntary work (as part of civic service).
Technically, if you’re just visiting, you’re not entitled to this housing! So, in effect, if you wish to stay as little as three days or as much as 10 months, the only housing available to you under the current laws is the rental of someone’s primary residence, but for no more than 120 days. (Read more about it my recent “rant”)
I wish I had better news for you. I wish we were still able to offer the service and accommodate both our investment clients as well as our readers who want an authentic experience in France by staying in a real home, and not just an impersonal hotel. I wish the local authorities would understand how much harm they do in the interest of doing something good. I wish they had more intelligence to create a structure that would be win-win for all. Instead, they punish the homeowner, they punish the visitor, and they do no service to their cause as those winning out are truly the large corporations—the hotels and the “aparthotels”—and the housing shortage remains one of her biggest problems, since this idea didn’t fix things at all—in fact, many of the properties now remain empty, housing no one.
So, no need to write us about short-term rentals, we can’t do much for you, But for long-term rentals (one year or more), we’re ready, willing and able to find you a property…anywhere in France!
See our Custom Search page for more information and let us help you find the best accommodations on the market for your budget!
Special note: every one-year lease of a furnished rental comes with a 30-day cancellation…so that means a one-month rental is always legal!
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. Don’t miss my presentation, Pursuing the Dream: Living and Investing in France, September 10. Hosted by Federation of Alliances Françaises USA. See the details here.