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Reader question: Can I Airbnb my French property during the Olympics?

The Local France
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Reader question: Can I Airbnb my French property during the Olympics?
Renting out a property during the 2024 Paris Olympics could be a money-spinner - but there are things you need to know. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

The 2024 Paris Olympics have got many people wondering about whether they could earn some extra cash renting out their homes to sports-mad tourists - but it's important not to fall foul of local rules on registration and taxes.

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There’s no doubt that both big sporting events have the potential to be a holiday-let money-spinner - especially the Olympics when 10 million people are expected to come to Paris.

If you own property in France you are entitled to rent it out on a short let - whether that is arranged directly or via a rental platform such as Airbnb.

However, ahead of the Olympics, Paris authorities are seeking to toughen existing rules on short-term rentals, via a proposal to set a minimum period of one year between the time a tenant is asked to vacate an apartment and when it becomes available on online accommodation services.

The bill was set to be examined by the National Assembly during the final week of November.

There are other things you should know too - such as whether you need to register with local authorities, and pay tax on your earnings, with the capital city particularly strict on Airbnb rentals

Register your home with local authorities

Most towns and cities in France now have a registration procedure for any person who wants to rent out an entire property as furnished accommodation for tourists (as opposed to renting your spare room while you remain in the property).

Under French law, homeowners can sub-let their main residence as a short-term let for a maximum of 120 days a year and must seek permission from the local authority to do so. 

So anyone wishing to list their French property on Airbnb will likely need to first register it with the authorities and include it on your Airbnb listing before you start hosting - check with your mairie for the exact requirements in your area.

This procedure is free and only takes a few minutes to complete

NB: If you're a tenant, you will need written permission from your landlord if you plan to sublet your rented property, otherwise, you’ll get into legal bother and could face a big fine, as well as being made to hand over any earnings to your landlord.

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If you're renting your property in Paris, you can’t legally sublet at all - this doesn't mean that people don't do it, of course, but be aware that if you're renting something as a sublet you have very few rights since it's likely an unofficial sublet. 

Likewise, if you live in social housing, furnished tourist rental is strictly forbidden: as well as financial penalties, you can have your rental contract terminated. So, don't do it.

Second homes

A second home for Airbnb-registration purposes is classed a place where you live for less than four months a year. You can rent it all year long provided you’ve declared your rental activity to the city. Some cities and neighbourhoods require permission to use your secondary home as a tourist rental. You can get permission for change of use from your local city hall.

Some areas with a housing shortage have stricter local rules - for example it is illegal to offer a second home in Paris for rent on the popular site. Do so, and you risk a fine of €50,000 per room.

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Renting a room

If you intend to rent out a room in your property while you remain on site, this is not considered “furnished tourist accommodation”.

You can therefore rent a room in your main residence without any time limit. But you should still register it with local authorities.

Local regulations

In fact, it is important to be aware of local rules, which may add additional layers of bureaucracy - Paris is particularly strict (Airbnb said it automatically limits rentals on its site to 120 days in central Paris and the government has announced plans to fine the site for publishing listings not properly registered with the local authorities). 

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

The Airbnb website has a handy breakdown of the rules for numerous French towns and cities, with links to local regulations here.

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 Taxable earnings

Income from renting property on Airbnb may be declarable and taxable as micro-BIC income - which means you’ll need to properly register your Airbnb ‘business’ and get a Siret number. Handily, Airbnb offers a guide to what taxes you need to consider if renting out a property in France. It’s here (pdf).

As a general rule, income from holiday letting your property should be declared for tax, but income from occasionally renting out part of your main residence is exempt from tax and does not have to be declared as long as the amount earned is less than €760 per year.

Don’t think, however, you can get away with not declaring your income. Airbnb sends rental details directly to the taxman, which will be cross-checked against your declarations. 

If you're a second-home owner and live in another country you will likely not make the annual income tax declaration in France - however, if you start to earn money by Airbnb renting your property this means that you now have income in France, and may therefore have to begin making annual tax declarations in France.

READ ALSO Who has to fill in the annual French income tax declaration

Taxe de séjour

Income tax is not the end of it. Numerous French cities have an agreement with Airbnb to collect the tourist tax - taxe de séjour - which means that Airbnb properties in the capital are now classed under the rental category of furnished lets or meublés touristiques non-classés

That, in turn, means that Airbnb adds up to €4.40 per person per night to the cost of a stay. Taxe de séjour levels for towns and cities across France are available here, but this tax is dealt with entirely by Airbnb.

Added tax on second homes

Many areas popular with tourists are suffering from a housing shortage for locals. In a bid to combat this, a number of communes have taken advantage of a law that allows them to impose a surtaxe de la taxe d’habitation which can amount to an extra 60 percent on part of the tax.

READ ALSO Local authorities in France get power to crack down on Airbnb rentals

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