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Paris ‘rent police’ crack down on illegal holiday lets in city

A dedicated unit formed to crack down on illegal seasonal rentals, including Airbnbs, in Paris has helped net the French capital €18 million in fines in four years.

Paris ‘rent police’ crack down on illegal holiday lets in city
Rooftop views in Paris. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Online platforms – including Airbnb, which was fined €8 million – paid a total of €9.4 million after hosting illegal advertisements between 2018 and 2022, while nearly 555 property owners have paid a total of €8.6 million for failing to properly declare short-term rental earnings.

The unit, of around 15 agents, was set up in 2018 to ensure that landlords and property owners are following all the rules for renting out their properties – including declaring that whether they are long or short-term rentals.

Most towns and cities in France have a registration procedure for any person who wants to rent out an entire tourist-furnished accommodation (as opposed to renting our your spare room while you remain in the property); while income from short-term rentals via portals such as Airbnb must be properly declared for tax purposes.

In Paris, the rules are more strict than most other towns and cities in France following a lengthy legal battle with Airbnb.

READ ALSO What are the rules on renting out French property on Airbnb? 

In 2023, the average fine for illegally renting out a property in Paris on a short-term holiday let basis is €25,000 per owner – penalties are levied on the property owner or the rental platform, not the visitors who book the apartments.

In one day this month, the brigade opened 36 new investigations, after checking in on more than 900 apartments in 36 buildings in the capital’s third arrondissement alone, according to Le Parisien.

Clues to possible illegal short-term rentals that prompted the new investigations included digital locks and brief interviews with neighbours, who spoke of loud parties and a rapid turnover of visitors with suitcases.

A single morning of controls on April 18th saw 915 residences in 36 buildings checked, and 36 files created for suspicion of infringements – that is to say 4 per cent of the apartments inspected.

Paris is struggling with a housing crisis that is seeing locals increasingly pushed out of the city by a rising tide of second homes and holiday rentals in central areas. A recent survey found that in the four arrondissements in the historic centre of the city, 30 percent of housing is not in full-time occupation.

Airbnb paid €148 million in tourist taxes to more than 23,000 French municipalities in 2022, an increase of 60 percent when compared to 2021, according to the platform.

The tourist tax was first introduced in 2018, and is proportional to the number of nights spent in a property and is paid by the tenants at the end of their stay. It is paid twice a year to the local council on behalf of the hosts, professionals and individuals.

The specific rate of the tax depends on the nature of accommodation, which includes its classification (star rating), as well as the rate voted on by the municipality.

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The rules for installing air conditioning in your French home

Air conditioning does not come as standard in French homes - just five percent of private dwellings have AC - so if you want it this summer, you may need to install it yourself. However, as well as being expensive, this can be a complicated process.

The rules for installing air conditioning in your French home

The first thing to look at is property ownership, and as you would expect this is a lot simpler if you own your own home, in a single building.

Single-family home owners

If you own your own house you can install air-conditioning, although depending on the works that you need to do you may need planning permission from the mairie, and if you live in a historic or protected zone you may not be able to make any alterations to the exterior of your building.

This means you will likely need to submit a ‘déclaration préalable‘ (found HERE), and you can count on processing times being at least a few weeks.

READ MORE: How to get planning permission for your French property

It’s also quite a costly undertaking.

An air conditioner itself ranges from €250 to €12,000, depending on its capabilities. You will also need to consider installation costs as well as annual maintenance fees, plus added energy expenses.

Communal buildings

If you live in an apartment or a shared building which has a syndicat (similar to a homeowner’s association in the US) you will almost certainly need to get permission from the syndic to install air-conditioning – even if you own your apartment.

If you intend to do any work that affects the exterior of the building you will likely also need planning permission. 

READ MORE: PROPERTY: What you need to know about ‘copropriété’ fees in France


If you rent your home, you will need permission from the landlord, who in turn may need permission from the building syndic if it is a shared building. The landlord is also responsible for getting the relevant planning permission.

Who bears the costs depends on the relationship you have with your landlord, if you are a great tenant and have a good relationship your landlord may agree to pay to get it installed, but this is far from being a standard feature of French homes so don’t expect the landlord to pay.

Your landlord may agree if you offer to pay the costs yourself, but they are under no obligation to do so, and it’s the landlord that is responsible for sorting out things like planning permission and (if applicable) agreement from the syndic


If you either can’t afford air-conditioning or your landlord isn’t keen on installing it (or you’re worried about the environmental impact – not only does AC guzzle energy, it also contributes to the ‘heat sink’ effect that can make cities up to 10C hotter than the surrounding area) there are some alternatives.

The alternative to a full air-conditioning system is a free-standing AC unit, which has a hose like a clothes dryer that hangs out of the window. These are less effective than full AC systems but nonetheless provide some cooling.

You won’t need planning permission as you’re not making any structural alterations, but if you live in a building with a syndic you may still need their permission to install one, depending on the rules of your building (some syndics are very strict and even forbid things like hanging clothes out to dry or storing items on your balcony).

The other alternative is an electric fan – either a desk fan or a standing fan – which don’t require any kind of installation or permission. These are on sale in almost all electrical retailers and many large supermarkets (although they often sell out in the first days of a heatwave).

READ MORE: 9 tips to keep your French home cool without air conditioning

There are also lots of ways of keeping your home cool without AC, including using shutters or curtains to block out the sun.