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Flat-owner fined for high rent

Paris mairie says woman was letting out apartments to tourists as a business and not paying taxes

PARIS flat-owners who rent out appartments to tourists could face increasing restrictions after a woman was fined €35,000 for charging exhorbitant rates.

The Tribunal de Grande Instance ruled that the woman was evading tax by renting out the flats as an individual, rather than as a business.

Flat-owners and property agents may be affected by the case, which was launched by Paris mairie as it saw that it was losing money.

The city says that there are 20,000 flats being used as tourist-related businesses.

However, deputy mayor in charge of housing Jean-Yves Mano said they were "not targeting the owner who lives in the flat most of the year and lets it out for a month or during summer. We are not targeting the chambres d'hôtes, indeed, we want to encourage them.

"We are aiming at those who have built up a real business."

The flat-owner who was fined had been renting out four flats in the capital at high rents, with one 50sq.m flat near the Champ de Mars going for €1,550 a week. She has been told by the court to put the flats for rent on the year-round property market, where there is a shortage of available flats.

However, André Régis Brue, boss of property agent Paristay, told France Info that short-term rentals for tourists was "just 4% of the market. Most of them are for Erasmus students, short-time contract workers or business professionals who are there for two or three months".

Mano replied that he "did not believe that an Erasmus student could afford a flat at €700 a week."

He added that they had been keeping an eye on the situation and had noted that the vast majority of the website offering flats for short-term rent were "in English" and were clearly aimed at the tourist market.

So far the mairie has lodged 30 complaints and said that it was looking at introducing a licence system, such as that used by Spain.

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