Tax Airbnb rentals more, demand French MPs

A cross-party group of French MPs claim short-term rentals are fuelling a housing crisis in parts of France

MPs from across the spectrum are targeting the short-term rental market
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A group of MPs are pushing for regulations against short-term home rentals in France on websites such as Airbnb.

They say such tourism rentals are fuelling a housing crisis in parts of France.

Urging the government to act, the cross-party group of MPs have put forward seven proposals to crack down on the practice.

“There is an urgent need to act,” said Green MP Julien Bayou on Tuesday (May 2).

Seven measures to regulate short-term rentals

One of the group’s key aims is to “put an end to Airbnb's tax niche”, said Mr Bayou, claiming landlords who rent short-term pay less in rental tax than those who let out a property year-round.

“When you rent out your home in the normal way, you are taxed on the rent, but you are taxed much less or not at all on… short-term rentals,” said the MP.

“The same accommodation should produce the same tax, regardless of the length of time it is rented,” he added.

Rental length is another of the issues the group is seeking to tackle – currently, main residences can be let on the platform for up to 120 days in the year, but the group are calling for a limit of 90 days.

This limit should also apply to secondary houses, they say.

The group’s ire is not directed at homeowners who occasionally rent out their property when away, but on landlords who hoard property and then rent them only short-term.

“In the 3rd arrondissement [of Paris], half of the Airbnb ads are from owners who put up several units,” instead of single-homeowners, said Mr Bayou.

All seven measures - which also include limits on renting accommodation with low energy efficiency - can be found on the group’s official site here.

Read also: Cut tax perks for short-term tourism rentals, French government told

Social issues also highlighted

One of the main reasons these measures are being put forward is to tackle the alleged social damage that short-term letting causes to certain regions in France.

“The number of overnight stays [in short-term furnished accommodation in France] is in the tens of millions every year,” said Mr Bayou

Tourist cities in particular suffer from Airbnb’s dominance, where it is claimed they have replaced traditional long-term rentals and subsequently severely restrict the number of properties available to rent.

“It has become a hellish situation [in the city], no young people, no middle class can find accommodation, there are no more year-round rentals", says Biarritz mayor Maider Arosteguy.

The city passed a law limiting the number of short-term rentals available, which seems to have inspired Mr Bayou and his group.

They are also calling for local communes to have more autonomy in regulating short-term lets, to help those most affected by Airbnb’s dominance.

The overuse of short-term rentals across France “takes housing out of the market” for long-term rentals, said Mr Bayou, which he sees as scandalous when the country is facing "a housing construction problem,” and rentals are becoming continuously limited.

"We are organising the shortage [through short-term rentals],” he lamented.

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