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How do I know if flat listing respects French rent control rules?

We look what rental controls are, how they are applied  and how to check if they are applicable to advertised properties

Paris rent control rates are set by neighbourhood Pic: EricBery / Shutterstock

Reader question: I am looking to rent an apartment in Paris and I am aware the city has introduced rent controls. But how do I know if the listings I am looking at respect these? 

Rents in Paris are regulated by calculating for each property a loyer de référence (reference rent) based on its location, the year it was built and whether it is furnished. 

Landlords are allowed to charge up to 20% more than this reference rent. 

In certain cases, they can add a further supplement if the property has particular characteristics in terms of location or comfort, such as a direct view of a famous monument or a large balcony. 

A small balcony, proximity to a metro station, or a fully-equipped kitchen, for example, would not be sufficient to meet the criteria. 

When supplements cannot be charged

There are also factors that make it impossible to charge a supplement. 

These include windows overlooked by buildings less than 10 metres away, a badly-oriented main living area, and signs of moisture on the walls. 

Similar rules also apply in the ‘Plaine commune’ and ‘Est Ensemble’ administrative zones on the outskirts of Paris, as well as Lille and Hellemmes and Lomme, Lyon and Villeurbanne, Montpellier and Bordeaux. 

Go here to estimate the reference rent. Select the city in question, then 1re mise en location

Since April 2022, estate agents are obliged to include rent control details when advertising a property: the reference rent, this reference plus 20% (known as the loyer majoré), and the supplement if it exists. 

In July, this requirement was extended to landlords who rent out their property on listings websites such as Leboncoin without going through an intermediary. 

However, a study by consumer organisation CLCV published in November found that only 39% of estate agent listings and 45% of private listings included this information. 

CLCV consulted 1,100 listings across five websites for Paris, Lyon and Lille. 

Other studies have shown that just 69% of listings in Paris respect rent control rules. 

If you have already signed a lease – at some point in the last three years – and discover that your landlord is overcharging you, you can inform the Paris mairie here

Landlord fines

At the beginning of the year, the mairie took over the responsibility for receiving complaints from the préfecture de police, allowing it to issue the landlord with a fine and put them on notice to modify the lease and refund excess rent to the tenant. 

Fines can be up to €5,000 for an individual, or €15,000 for a business or other organisation. 

You can also contact the Commission départementale de conciliation (mediator) to request that your rent be lowered. 

Your Adil departmental housing information agency should be able to help you with the process.

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