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Tourist rental properties face new rules

Private house rentals – called peer-to-peer property rental – jumped 30% in France in 2016 to 25.5million nights according to figures from statistics agency Insee and that rise, which was continuing a trend over a few years, has prompted the government to act to impose rules... and extra charges.

Many of the changes are directed at those renting out property year-round on sites such as Airbnb, Home­Away, Abritel or Booking.com but owners who rent out their main home for short periods – as long as it is for no longer than four months of the year – are largely left alone.

Airbnb knows short-term rentals can be lucrative as in 2015 it paid €3billion in rent to hosts in Europe and last year paid €7.3million in taxe de séjour alone from guests paying 83 centimes a night for stays in Paris and other towns.

To show what is available, last month Airbnb had 300,000 properties for rent in France, 70,000 in Paris and Ile-de-France, with 230 in Lorient, Mor­bihan; 300 in Sarlat, Dordogne; 1,500 in Cham­onix, Haute-Savoie, and 6,400 in Nice, Riviera. Prices varied, but properties in Lorient, for example, earned an average of €48 per room/night in the middle of last August, while hosts in Sarlat earned more, at €86.

Whether it was to help make ends meet at the end of the month or for a specific project such as a holiday or a new car, hosts were able to tap into Airbnb’s ready-made worldwide network and profit from it.
Offering your home for rent does not mean locking away all your possessions as photos etc can make guests aware they are sharing someone’s home, but you should find secure storage for valuables and clothing.
Simplicity is what makes Airbnb work for both guest and host but that is changing for hosts with new laws that have seen the firm collecting the taxe de séjour from guests’ rent and paying it to the council.
While the company warns people aiming to become ‘hosts’ that they should “review your local and national laws before listing on Airbnb” it also gives information on formalities such as tax, laws and insurance cover. Its page on ‘responsible hosting’ Hébergement responsable extends to 4,000 words.

If you are aiming to rent out your main home while you are away, the rules are very much simpler as in most areas you do not require any special authorisation and any earnings are declared and taxed in the same way as your annual income tax.

Some owners may face having to register with the Régime Social des Indépendants to pay social charges, but this is for people earning more than €23,000 a year – with a four-month limit on rentals that would mean your property earning €191 a night for each of those 120 nights.

Owners who earn less than €760 a year from their rental do not have to pay any tax on their earnings.

However, owners earning more than €23,000 may be seen as professional landlords and should set up under the micro-BIC regime or the régime réel, depending on their circumstances, earnings and outgoings.
Communes of more than 200,000 residents can make it obligatory to declare holiday rentals to the mairie if they are put up for rent on a website.

So far, however, only Paris has done this as it has a vast housing problem with thousands who cannot get a roof over their heads in a city with flats largely empty.
The reason is simple: a survey by MeilleursAgents.com found a short-term tourist rental would earn 2.6times the money of one rented all-year.

The aim of the new decree brought in at the end of April is to ensure that people renting their main home are registered and to find those renting more than the legal 120 days to make sure they do not avoid the taxes and charges hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation businesses have to pay.

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