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Paris City Hall adopts controversial position on apartment rentals


Paris, France (November 18th, 2011) - The subject of temporary furnished housing in Paris has generated a great deal of debate. For the City Hall, furnished homes represent a change in the official use of the properties. This is an extremely restrictive interpretation that seriously complicates matters for landlords and may lead to problems for people working away from home.

“It is clear that the City Hall is using this specific interpretation to preserve a supply of rental housing that it considers to be too touristy and that competes with hotels,” explains Fabrice Petit, founder of “And yet, contrary to popular belief, furnished apartments are usually rented out by the month to people coming to study or work in Paris.“

Legal uncertainty

Today the City Hall believes that furnished Paris apartment rentals – except those used as primary residences – represent a change in use* of the properties. In this case, a permit is required.

Under this interpretation, a furnished rental could only be considered to be intended for residential use if it serves as the renter’s primary residence. However, a furnished rental should always be “intended for residential use.” , even if it is not being rented as a primary residence.

“Compensatory” housing

Another concern: the City Hall’s decision has other, more troubling implications. To obtain a change-of-use permit for an apartment, the renter must provide “compensatory” housing: one or more properties that will be converted for residential use.

These compensatory residences must be located in the same “arrondissement”  and must be converted to housing at the same time.

Temporary furnished rentals: a false threat to housing in Paris

There are about 20,000 homes in Paris intended for use as temporary furnished rentals, which represent only 1.5% of Parisian homes. This figure should be compared to the number of vacant apartments and unused office spaces.

In addition, furnished apartments are often used as pied-ŕ-terre by their owners, who will stop renting them if the demand for furnished rentals dries up.

The City Hall’s position poses a real threat to the economy of the Greater Paris region (whose goal is to become the economic capital of Europe!) because it would simply eliminate temporary furnished rentals without any alternative for people moving to the area from other regions or from abroad.  

Additional information

* The law distinguishes between two types of accommodations: those used as housing and those used for other purposes. In cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants and in the Ile-de-France region, a permit is required to convert housing into properties intended for other purposes (such as offices, stores or warehouses). This is required by Article L 631-7 of the French building and housing code.

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