Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Very short term furnished rentals

I wrote some time ago about the crackdown by the Paris town hall against very short term furnished rentals, popular with tourists seeking an alternative to hotel accommodation, but disliked by many owners/occupiers of apartment blocks. Complaints of noise and other nuisances generated by a succession of visitors are provoked these actions, as well as overall concerns about the shortage of (affordable) accommodation in Paris for those who want to live and work there and the high number of properties that are owned as second homes.

A similar situation has been occurring in New York according to the website www.apartmenttherapy.com for all the same reasons, with the first expulsion of a tenant found to be sub-letting his apartment on a short term basis.

The situation in France is quite clear. If you own a property such as an apartment within a multi-occupancey building, such as a block of flats, you own te freehold of your apartment together with a number of shares (sometimes known as tantièmes) in proportion to the size of of your apartment. As an owner/shareholder you have a right to attend and vote at the annual general meeting of the co-owners. Decisions are taken by counting the numbeer of tantièmes rather than 'one man, one vote'.

Day to day management of the building complex may be handled voluntarily by a smaller committee of tenants or 'professionally' by a management company who charge for their services, each occupier contributing to the management and running costs of the building through an annual charge, again based on the size of your apartment. The co-owners have considerable powers, including to dismiss the professional managers and even oppose planning consents granted by the Mairie - and importantly to deal with issues such as sub-letting.

When you buy an apartment in a complex you will be given a copy of the rules before you agree to sign a pre-contract to purchase (the compromis de vente) and can learn abut the rules related to sub-letting. You also need to be aware of French law on the subject.

There are basically three types of rental - 'long term' unfurnished, for a minimum of threee years, with considrable rights of security for the tenant, including renewal of his/her tenancy; 'short term' furnished rentals for a mimum of one year, renewable by negotiation; and various short and holiday let arrangements where the building is recognised as being within a tourist/holiday area.

Each type of rental can cause conflicts between 'renters' and 'owners' such as noise, overcrowding, pets etc, and invariably under the co-ownership rules owners are deemed responsible for the behaviour of their tenants. I lived for a time in a building that was designed primarily for holiday letting, where just six apartments out of fifty were occupied all year round by their owners. During the ever shortening high season of July and August the building was almost full but eerily quiet for the remaining ten months of the year.  The residents committee and professional managers swiftly dealt with any form of nuisance, and just before I left voted powers enabling them to take legal action in the name of the residents in the event of serious issues arising.