Airbnb regulations in France : how to rent legally your property ?

6 December 2022

Let’s take a look at airbnb regulations in france iregarding the cities of Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux. Three very popular cities for seasonal rentals.

Furnished seasonal rental is a profitable activity but it must be carried out with a minimum of precaution. Indeed, the development and diversification of the platforms for putting individuals in contact with each other has led to an increase in the income possibilities of their users. The rental sector is not left out, with the growth of Airbnb, Abritel, Home to go…

Airbnb regulations in france: What is seasonal furnished rental?

Seasonal furnished rentals, i.e., short-term rentals (by the night, by the week, etc.) to temporary tenants who have no intention of taking up residence in the property, have turned the rental market upside down, especially in large cities. The prices charged are close to those of the hotel business, i.e. double or even triple the price of traditional rentals, and the owners find it very interesting. The consequence is direct, with a strong impact on the cost of housing both for renting and buying. Various city councils have decided to act accordingly, to breathe new life into rental markets that are under pressure. They have therefore put in place regulations, more or less restrictive, with the aim of putting classic rental properties back on the market. In Bordeaux, the city council estimates that this has resulted in the return of 4,000 units.


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airbnb regulation in france

Airbnb regulations in France : the city of Paris

With the arrival of the Airbnb platform, furnished tourist rentals have developed very widely in Paris. In some Parisian districts, it can represent up to 20% of the total rental supply. The city has therefore introduced regulations to combat this practice and limit its consequences. It was validated by the Court of Cassation in a February 18 ruling, in which it was deemed “justified, proportionate, transparent and accessible”.

Three situations may arise, depending on what you intend to rent

  • You wish to rent your primary residence in its entirety.
  • You wish to rent a property that is not your main residence on a short-term furnished basis.
  • You wish to rent a property that is not used as a dwelling for a short period of time.

The rental of the main residence

In the first case, the only obligation is to file a declaration of furnished tourism. Once this registration is made, you will only have to respect two conditions: pay the tourist tax and respect the limit of 120 days rented per year. If it is a sublet, the tenant will have to obtain the written agreement of the owner. If it is a social housing, the furnished tourist rental is strictly forbidden: it exposes the tenant to the termination of the lease and to financial penalties. If you intend to rent out only a part of your home, a private room is not considered a furnished tourist accommodation. You can therefore rent a room in your main residence without any time limit.

Furnished seasonal rental of a secondary residence

In the 2nd case, you will have to proceed to a change of use with compensation of the accommodation you wish to rent. This compensation system requires owners who wish to rent out a dwelling that is not their main residence to convert commercial space into housing to compensate for the square meters of living space lost. This is intended to preserve the balance between housing and economic activities. This compensation can be double or even triple, depending on the rental tension in the areas. You will then have to change the destination of the premises into hotel accommodation, before registering online and paying the tourist tax.

Renting out furnished premises that are not used for residential purposes

 Finally, in the 3rd case, a prior authorization from the city hall is required. A commission is responsible for studying the requests, which will be refused in case of risk of nuisance, in areas with strong tourist pressure, or in streets where the PLU protects the shops. A change of use of the premises must then be made, followed by registration and payment of the tourist tax.

All of these rules are intended to dissuade landlords from considering seasonal furnished rentals. To ensure that they are respected, the city provides for financial penalties, and violators of these regulations may be fined up to €50,000 in civil court in the event of failure to comply with the obligation to declare a change of use, and €80,000 in criminal court in the event of a false declaration or even a fraudulent maneuver. If the lessor does not transmit the breakdown of the number of nights, he risks a fine of up to €10,000; the same applies if he exceeds 120 days of rental.

How to rent a property in France with Airbnb ? The regulations of the city of Lyon

Like any large city, Lyon is not immune to the development of furnished tourist rentals via the Airbnb platform. Although only 0.7% of the city’s apartments are intended to be rented year-round through this means, this rate climbs to 7-8% in the most touristy areas of the city, such as Old Lyon or the Croix Rousse.

Following the example of Paris, Lyon has decided to take action to combat this trend, which increases the pressure on a very tight rental market.

The first criterion of this regulation is the annual rental period.

When the limit of 120 days of rental per year is respected, i.e. 4 months, no additional steps are required. It is only necessary to request a registration number from the town hall, and to declare the tourist tax collected. Since January 1, 2019, the city is also among the municipalities for which Airbnb systematically limits rental ads, once this duration is reached.

Beyond 120 days of rental, it will be necessary to file a request for change of use. The activity is then subject to compensation.

The second criterion then applies: the location of the rented property in the city.

Two perimeters have been defined: the hypercentre and the rest of the city. The first is made up of the following neighborhoods: Vieux-Lyon, the Presqu’île, the 9th arrondissement around the Saône River, as well as the 3rd and 6th arrondissements contained by the railroad tracks.

Depending on the area in which the apartment is located, the compensation will depend on a third criterion: the surface area of the property.

When the property is located in the hypercenter, the regulations are similar to those in place in Paris. From the first square meter, there is an obligation to compensate. This means that the owner of the apartment rented in this configuration will have to make available, in classic rental, an identical apartment in terms of surface and location (in the hypercenter and in the same district). This property must be created following a change of use: another type of premises than an already existing dwelling must be proposed for compensation. The objective is to create, by this means, new residential premises available on the Lyon rental market.

If the property is located outside of the hypercenter, the limit is 35 m². If the property is located outside the city center, the limit is 35 square meters. Below this limit, the city may grant a temporary rental authorization for a period of 9 years. There will be no compensation.

Above this limit, compensation will apply as in the hypercentre: from the first square metre, for an identical surface area and in the same district.

Any fraud, i.e. any activity that contravenes the conditions and obligations laid down by the city, will lead to a fine. The amount of the fine cannot exceed €5,000 per irregularly converted and rented premises. The rental platforms are monitored by the services of the city council and the metropolis in order to track down those who violate these rules.


French tax return for rental income in France : The regulations of the city of Bordeaux

Faced with the high concentration of seasonal furnished rentals in an already tight rental market (8,000 to 10,000 listings), the city of Bordeaux implemented in 2018 a highly restrictive regulation on this mode of rental. Since this regulation, the number of accommodations offered on platforms such as Airbnb has been reduced by half: the city hall counted 4,668 ads in December 2021.

In the event of using a property in Bordeaux for a seasonal rental activity, a distinction must be made depending on whether the property rented is the owner’s main residence or not. This difference will determine the application of the regulations.

If it is indeed a primary residence, the rental will simply be limited to 120 days per year, as in Paris or Lyon. However, two obligations must be respected:

  • Register on the Bordeaux Metropole tourist tax website.
  • Affix your registration number to all the ads posted online. This unique registration number allows us to track and identify the owners, in order to verify the respect of the maximum rental period. It will no longer be possible to rent the property on different platforms while respecting the 120 days condition on each site concerned, but by exceeding it by adding the durations.

If only a part of the accommodation is rented (a room in a guest house), the regulation of the rental time does not apply anymore: it is possible to rent all year long. However, the rules for registration remain the same.

On the other hand, if the rented accommodation is a secondary residence of its owner, the latter will have to apply for a change of use authorization with compensation. Unlike the city of Lyon, which sets up a compensation system according to the geographical location of the rented property and its surface area, in Bordeaux the compensation starts from the first square meter, regardless of the location of the property.

Bordeaux’s compensation rules are also stricter than in Lyon and Paris. In addition to the transformation of an existing building into a dwelling, which must be of equivalent quality and size to the property offered on the platforms, this compensation housing must be provided with a parking space. It cannot be a first floor. This reduces the possibilities and increases the cost for the owners.

All of these rules are intended to discourage landlords from considering seasonal furnished rentals. To ensure that these rules are respected, the city provides for financial penalties.

Violators of these regulations may be fined up to €50,000 in civil court for failure to comply with the obligation to declare a change of use, and up to €80,000 in criminal court for false declaration or fraudulent maneuvering. If the lessor does not transmit the breakdown of the number of nights, he risks a fine of up to €10,000; the same applies if he exceeds 120 days of rental.

The platforms risk fines of up to 50 000 € in these situations. If the ads they relay are not compliant due to the lack of display of the registration number of the accommodation, the fine is €12,500.