Yes, this is correct, meaning anyone using Airbnb, Abritel or similar internet services for renting out furnished property to holidaymakers or other visitors should double check they are following the rules correctly as a new legal change has made it easier for council officials to check up on the situation.
It relates to a couple of dozen popular tourist communes which have made it obligatory for people using such services to obtain a registration number from the mairie.
This is notably the case in Paris, where the right to rent property to tourists is essentially limited by law to renting out your own main home, rather than a second home or other investment property (the latter requires meeting complex change of use requirements).
These schemes also exist in, for example, Bordeaux, Aix, Cannes, Lyon and Nice and are partly aimed at checking that people do not carry out more than 120 nights of rental of their home per year.
Senators have been trying to allow communes to limit this to 60 days, but MPs struck out the proposal.
Until now, the online firms did not give details of their clients or how many days’ rental they carry out to mairies.
Now they face large fines if they do not supply on request, and within a month, addresses of properties rented out, registration number if available, whether they are main or second homes, and the number of nights rented out.
Communes may make one request per year, relating to that year and the preceding one.
Those found renting second homes without permission or exceeding 120 nights could face court action and fines of up to €50,000.
In Paris cases are expected to wait for the outcome of a case in the European Court of Justice, in which an SCI property investment company fined for breaking the rules is contesting their legality under EU law.
This question was answered by Olaf Muscat Baron who is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Accountants UK, a French expert comptable and an International tax advisor.
He is the principal accountant of Fiscaly, an accountancy firm based in the Dordogne.
See www.fiscaly.fr or call 09 81 09 00 15
Email your tax questions to firstname.lastname@example.org