In pajamas and with a sleepy look, the young Englishwoman who opened the door recognizes it straight away: yes, she rented this tourist accommodation in the 11th arrondissement of Paris on the AirBnb website. The city controllers suspected it, the owner is in violation.
"A concern?" Worries the young woman, surprised by this morning visit of the office for the protection of residential premises in the city of Paris, on the 6th floor of this building on avenue Parmentier. Not for her, but the owner who declared the apartment as a second home did not have the right to list it on short-term rental platforms and risks a heavy fine.
Very profitable for owners, rental offers for tourist accommodation on sites like Airbnb or Booking have multiplied in recent years in Paris, the scale of the phenomenon becoming an issue for the next municipal elections.
Faced with the lack of housing in the capital, all the candidates point to these platforms, accused of diverting housing from the conventional rental market, to the detriment of Parisians.
Paris has 65,000 tourist accommodation advertisements on Airbnb, and this number is estimated to be around 80,000 on all platforms, explains François Plottin, head of the 30 municipal officers responsible for control.
To be legal, the owner should have made a "change of use" of his apartment: very restrictive in Paris, this procedure requires a "compensation", that is to say the transformation of a commercial premises into housing of equivalent area.
If the accommodation had been his main residence, the owner could, according to the regulations, rent his apartment up to 120 days per year.
- "Outlaw" -
The city estimates that "between 25,000 and 30,000" apartments are rented annually through Airbnb. The platform responds that only some 4,100 entire dwellings were rented for more than 120 days in 2019, and only 1,040 all year round.
The law also obliges the owners to register with the city, but according to the latest data communicated by Airbnb to the town hall, only 45% of tourist rentals have a registration number.
"These approvals are complicated to obtain, everything is done so that it is not possible", regrets Nicolas Tsaros, owner of five apartments in the 15th, near the Eiffel Tower, rented on Airbnb without authorization.
"I am outlawed", recognizes the author of "Chronicles of an Airbnb rental company in Paris". Assigned in court - for his accommodation bought via loans that he always reimburses -, this CDI employee explains that he is not "an Airbnb professional", but wanted to "diversify", "encouraged" by the banks.
He denounces a will of the town hall to "push us out of the tourism market", "when there is an extremely strong demand".
Its apartments are "full year round", at a rate of 130 euros per night. After repayment of loans, charges, works and taxes, Mr. Tsaros said he earned "around 500 euros net per month and per apartment".
He now incurs a fine of up to 50,000 euros per apartment. In Paris, 400 cases a year obtain a conviction.
The heart of Paris or the Montmartre hill are particularly affected and register a large number of complaints from co-owners or residents: incessant back and forth, degraded common areas, transmission of untimely entry codes and noise pollution.
- "Firecrackers and Bengal lights" -
In the Montorgueil-Saint-Denis district (IIe), "there are two alternatives: do we fight or do we leave?" Admits Franck Briand, member of the collective "Parisvsbnb" ( Paris versus Airbnb) and resident of a small joint ownership, which became "unlivable" when an owner transformed an old garage into tourist accommodation that can accommodate up to 15 people, part of which is in the cellar.
The owner, who manages more than 37 furnished apartments in the neighborhood, has made a + change of destination + dossier to transform commercial premises into housing. A legal practice, but "not sufficiently supervised", regrets Mr. Briand.
"We had groups come to party with firecrackers, Bengal lights and howls all night," he recalls. The co-ownership finally obtained in court that the cellar be closed, reducing the number of possible guests to six.
In the district, explains Mr. Briand, the managers of furnished tourism encourage the owners to modify their leases to make Airbnb, when it is not the residents themselves who leave because of nuisances. As a result, fewer families, closed classes, fewer traditional businesses: this had "a destructive effect on the neighborhood".
Caz / jk
© 2020 AFP