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New bin law, keyboxes, vacant homes: French property updates

Our pick of property stories about France that you may have missed

We also look at a potential restriction on ‘key boxes’ in Paris, affecting short-term let owners Pic: John Ruberry / REDPIXEL.PL / ArieStudio / salarko / Shutterstock

‘Brutal’ drop in property sales 

The number of properties sold in 2023 saw its biggest annual drop in 50 years, states a report from France’s leading estate agent union. 

A combination of inflation, reduced purchasing power, difficulty accessing mortgages, and a reluctance of owners selling at lower prices combined, with less than 900,000 homes being sold. 

Experts believe the trend will continue throughout 2024, but by 2025 hope the figure will begin to turn around.

Read more: France’s property market sees greatest fall in sales for 50 years

Number of vacant homes on rise 

Moving in the opposite direction, the number of homes classed as ‘vacant’ in France has now reached over 3 million, around 8% of the total housing stock. This is a 60% increase to figures from 1990.

These vacant properties can be found both in larger cities and in rural areas, and in some departments more than 15% of properties are vacant. 

Various solutions are being proposed, including greater powers for local communes to requisition vacant properties, and tax exemptions for those who rent homes instead of keeping them empty.

Read more: Where are France's 3 million empty homes and why so many?

Paris latest city to crack down on Airbnb keyboxes 

France’s capital is likely to join a growing list of cities that ban the use of ‘key boxes’ for short-term rentals. 

These are often installed in public spaces, allowing people renting Airbnb and other short-term lets to collect and deposit keys for properties directly, without having to interact with the owner. 

Many claim the installations damage public property, and allow letters of holiday homes to remain absent, without physically handing over keys. 

A vote will take place over the banning of the keys in Paris next month. 

Read more: Paris joins Nice, Lille and other cities crackdown on ‘key boxes’

Are fines being handed out over new bin laws?

New anti-waste laws that came into force on January 1 have caused much confusion, particularly for those who wish to avoid falling foul of the law. 

Whilst a fine is theoretically possible, the logistical effort to scrutinise the use of everyone’s bin is highly impractical and illogical, and the changes are aimed more at municipalities introducing new measures than penalising households for mismanagement. 

Read more: Are people being fined over France’s new obligatory food waste rules?

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