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Sweeping changes in property market

Estate agents and property management companies face tighter laws with new rules on rents, deposits and charges

ESTATE agents and property management companies will face tighter new laws under plans by Housing Minister Cécile Duflot to get rid of “abusive practices” in the industry.

The plans will also bring in sweeping changes with a tightening of rules on rents, charges and dealings between tenants and owners; new rules and limits on charges for property management companies, and a move to increase housing density with construction regulations simplified to allow taller buildings on the outskirts of towns and to turn offices into flats.

Her proposals will be put to the cabinet at the start of July.

Ms Duflot’s main target is abuses by estate agents and she cites a “lack of public confidence, abusive practices, opaque contracts, excessive transaction fees” as penalising households for whom it is a major expense.

She will set new rules on agency fees and limit charges for tenants. Agents will only be able to charge half of the cost of the inventory état des lieux as their fee with other charges paid by the landlord.

Ms Duflot said agencies will be forced to justify their charges and will no longer be able to link them to the rental as this bore no relation to the services offered or carried out.

Property management companies syndics will face limits on the extra charges they can impose and will no longer be able to impose increased charges after an artificially low charge in the first year of a contract. A law will set fees for certain services with all other fees contained in the annual charge.

Rental agencies face changes in the way they can list properties and will no longer be able to list those where they do not hold an exclusive mandate – the source of many problems where house-hunters find the property they want is no longer available.
Photo: N.PARNEIX -

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