How to find an apartment in France? Why Airbnb is so popular
Find a holiday or vacation apartment in France? Airbnb is an easy and popular answer – and it shows why. France is not in a state of war with Airbnb like Hawaii is for example. France remains a success story for the largest online hotel platform.
According to a recent news report also the French love Airbnb and French people love to travel in their own country. France is the second-largest market for the online accommodation booking platform.
Since Airbnb unveiled its French platform in 2012 it has gone from strength to strength. At the end of this summer just gone, Reuters reported the platform had been very busy, with over 8.5 million French people using Airbnb between 1 June and 31 August. So why is Airbnb such a draw for French renters and visitors to France alike?
Paris is one of the most popular destinations for Airbnb
Of the 8 million French people using Airbnb this summer–a 35% increase in summer 2018–Le Parisien reported that 5 million of those chose to stay in France, a trend supported by statistics outside those of the renting platform. It’s not just that French people traditionally support all things French, it’s because France’s geographical location allows for different climates and varying holidays, whether tourists are after picture-postcard countryside villages, national parks and mountains (think the Alps and Pyrenees), or lakes and beaches (the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts). The same is true for the rest of the world too, of course; France offers a panoply of holiday variations, which is the reason why it’s the number one visited country in the world. What’s more, the world can’t seem to get enough of Paris; it’s still the number one visited city worldwide (in 2018, Paris was the most sought after destination on the Airbnb platform). Which means for Airbnb, it’s a priority market.
It’s not difficult to see why France loves Airbnb when property owners stand to gain so much. Unlike other rental options, seasonal rentals can yield bigger returns than longer-term rents, where short-term rentals are 2.6 times more profitable than year-round renting.
As few as 12 nights of renting out one’s property can be sufficient to collect a month’s rent in Paris.
This has led to an explosion in people offering places to stay and property prices have exploded even further, as people rush to make a profit from buying second or third flats in the city to rent out. One impact has been a reduction in homes for long-term lets, which has also happened in other places such as Barcelona.
A peculiarity of French law means that landlords feel more protected through using Airbnb because French law tends to favor tenants; leases are never renewed, they simply roll-on, year on year, and it can be difficult for owners to rupture contracts unless they can make a formidable case for why they need their apartments back.
In 2018, the government was heavily lobbied by the hotel industry to bring in regulations limiting the mammoth expansion of Airbnb across France, but particularly in Paris. In response, in order to rent out an apartment you must firstly, pay taxes to the French government (which Airbnb is obliged to declare), secondly, a tourist tax is added to the stay which is paid to the city council, and thirdly, rentals cannot exceed a maximum of 120 days over a one-year period.
Despite the changes brought in, the Parisian mayor is still waging war. Quoted in The Local, Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, accused the home-sharing platform of breaking the law by allowing 1,000 properties to be listed which weren’t registered as renters at the French town hall.
Yes to the sharing economy. Yes to Parisians who rent their apartment a few days a year to have a small additional income. No to those who make money preying, destroying residential housing and risking making Paris a museum city.
Critics of Airbnb think the fabric of Parisian life and neighborhoods is being deleteriously altered, whilst for many individuals, the opportunity to supplement income is too good to resist.