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Illegal apartment update

For those of you who are renting an apartment, another warning to make sure you find a legal one. This link will take you to a French news website stating that Paris has collected half a million Euros in fines already this year. The news cast below it is interesting and informative even if you don't understand French.

https://www.lci.fr/societe/info-lci-meubles-touristiques-illegaux-de-type-airbnb-pres-de-500-000-euros-d-amendes-infligees-a-paris-depuis-janvier-un-nouveau-record-2083573.html

Posted by
123 posts

Is there a way to check to make sure the ID/number provided by a rental is valid? I see them a lot on Air BnB, but i dont have any way to check to make sure they are valid.

Thanks!

Posted by
5715 posts

Note that the only risk to the tourist is having the apartment disappear out from under them at the last minute; the fines are to landlords.

Posted by
1700 posts

Evan: not that I am aware of ; but have not heard of anyone faking a # thus far.

At least for me I would be comfortable if a number was on Airbnb that the place was registered and a legit rental.
I don't think the judicial folks that levy these heavy fines would be very kind to someone caught faking a number.

Good point Jane: for the tourist, IMO this is not a moral issue. You are not doing anything wrong that you would be in trouble for. The risk of a non-registered rental is that the landlord / person renting the unit to you gets in trouble shortly before your check in date and has to cancel your rental. Any deposits would be refunded but you would be then without a place and with very little time to find one.

Unrelated to this particular issue in Paris:
In general that is the same risk with most any property in the world on Airbnb. Reviews are typically 5 star so most places are inflated in rating compared to say Tripadvisor hotel ratings ; unless someone was truly disappointed; but the lower ranked places usually have landlord cancellations which has put the renter in a bind. Reading through the reviews and comments for these is one of the first things I look at on that site when looking at a property.
The odds the same thing happening with a hotel are much, much lower.

Posted by
1109 posts

The risk to the traveler would be having his accommodations withdrawn from the marketplace, possibly with little to no notice.

To give you an idea about how aggressive enforcement has become, the city collected 200,000€ in fines to owners for all of 2016; 1,300,000€ in 2017, and 490,000€ in only the first 3 months of 2018.

Enforcement has really accelerated and the risks are real.

I should add that there is no way, as of yet, to confirm the validity of city registration numbers. Still, missing registration numbers, in on line advertisements, are a guarantee of misrepresentation and of an owner operating illegally.

Posted by
2466 posts

You have to really look for the 13-digit registration number. It may be buried in the copy.
It cannot be faked, because the property owners' financial information is linked to this.
There is no space for any other digits.
The property owner is liable for any fine. Tourists won't be bothered.

@75020 - the link directs me to an advertising site...

Posted by
2837 posts

It cannot be faked, because the property owners' financial information is linked to this.

I've seen that statement before, but I don't really know what it means. How does that prevent someone from just making up a 13-digit number for appearance purposes?

Posted by
2466 posts

Because the property owner is responsible for accounting for his revenue sources and is tied to his financial information.

There is only space for 13 digits on the form.

Posted by
1109 posts

Because the property owner is responsible for accounting for his revenue sources

I think that we can all agree on this.

and is tied to his financial information.

Without evidence to the contrary, this is simply not true. The 13 digit registration number is not necessarily tied to any specific financial information at all.

Posted by
2837 posts

There is only space for 13 digits on the form.

But my point is, what's to stop someone from just making up a 13 digit number on the Air BnB form?

Posted by
11028 posts

It's good to see that the Paris government is cracking down on law breakers. One way to increase the odds that your accommodations are legal is to rent a professionally managed apartment. A company has too much at stake to make it worthwhile not to follow the law.

Posted by
68 posts

We booked a place from HomeAway in the fall for our visit this July, and around Christmas the owner/manager sent me a PDF with a registration number (starts with 75) from Meublés de Tourisme Paris. You think I can safely stop fretting about this one yet? The place seems awesome and was so well reviewed and is in a great location - I'm just a little paranoid with all the publicity, I guess.

Posted by
7259 posts

Robert, I agree w you. There’s nothing to stop someone from making up a # when they advertise. I asked same in a previous thread and got same answer as you just did. But I think it’s totally possible.

Posted by
2558 posts

I agree that there is nothing to prevent an unscrupulous person from making up a random number that begins with 75 and has 13 digits. Unless and until someone tells me that the listing platforms have a way to check the validity of the number and not permit it to be entered (sort of like how if you use an incorrect credit card number, your purchase will be declined), I will continue to believe it. As far as I know, those numbers are manually input into the listing description and so are subject to error or deliberate falsification.

Posted by
1109 posts

Certainly it is possible to create a registration number. It is also possible to register a pied a terre or a secondary home, essentially an apartment in which the owner is not the primary resident, a practice which is unquestionably illegal in Paris (though not necessarily in Nice). Paris now has 30 full time inspectors checking these very types of issues. With fines as high as 50,000€, dishonest owners have a lot to lose.

However, it might be even more worrisome to rent an apartment without any registration number at all, a situation with certain irregularities.

Posted by
2558 posts

"It is also possible to register a pied a terre or a secondary home, essentially an apartment in which the owner is not the primary resident, a practice which is unquestionably illegal in Paris . . ."

Yes, it most certainly is. I know someone who has registered his second home and is renting it as a vacation rental and says that he will continue until the authorities find him.

"However, it might be even more worrisome to rent an apartment without any registration number at all, a situation with certain irregularities."

It can be and to make it even more confusing, there are legal short term rentals that are not required to have a registration number such as apartments in chambre d'hotes and hotels.

Posted by
2837 posts

I know someone who has registered his second home and is renting it as a vacation rental and says that he will continue until the authorities find him.

Is that "find" or "fine?" Either way, it seems like a big risk (and from what I've heard there are plenty of people in my city taking that risk). Based on what I'm reading on this forum, it doesn't seem that if someone is caught the authorities will just say: "OK, take it off the market and don't do it again." Apparently Paris is tasking people (police?) with investigating the listing situation, something which I don't believe is being done in my city.

Posted by
2558 posts

I don't know my neighbor's risk tolerance. He owns an apartment in Paris that he lives in and a second apartment that he rents out to vacationers. He has obtained the registration number for the vacation rental and from what I can tell rents it for more than 120 days per year. Perhaps, he makes more than 50,000€ per year and so has decided that the possible fine is worth the risk though I think that he believes that he will be able to say "mea culpa" and pay a small fine, keep the proceeds that he made, and then either sell the apartment or rent it to a long-term tenant. We'll see how it turns out.

Posted by
541 posts

My last couple of trips seem to confirm that people are heeding the warning. I did my last trip to Paris and other places just in case. Seems more permanent residents where I rent but definitely quieter. It was a ‘piece of mind’ thing but reading financial papers, it sounds as though it’s going to take some time for the whole scheme to work out. Not sure what the truth is but former renters are selling out to foreign equity holders that don’t occupy the property, hurting local businesses, not sure if this applies here like it does in other places though. Might be more hotels that cater to long term big spenders. Hopefully Paris becomes affordable for the average worker or they get the option of renting out their property.

Posted by
2466 posts

With fines as large as this - there have been increased to 100,000 EU - the property owner is an idiot to fool with getting a registration number. The daily limit is 100,000 EU per day/ as long as the tourist lingers.
The police won't bother, they will just fine the property owner. The tourist won't be bothered.