For members


So you want to Airbnb your French property during the Olympics?

The 2023 Rugby World Cup in France and 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 or local rules on registration and taxes.

So you want to Airbnb your 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)

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 during the Games.

If you own property in France – either a main home or second home – you are entitled to rent it out on a short let – whether that is arranged directly or via a rental platform such as Airbnb. But there are things you should know – such as whether you need to register with local authorities, and pay tax on your earnings.

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.

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.

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.


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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For members


How to get planning permission for your French property

If you own property in France and you want to extend it, embark on a renovation project or even - in some areas - paint the shutters a different colour, you will first need to get permission from the mairie. Here's how the French planning permission system works.

How to get planning permission for your French property

Certain types of building or DIY projects in France require planning permission, known as a Déclaration préalable. You may also need a building permit (permis de construire) depending on the type of project.

This article deals with the déclaration préalable.

Do you need planning permission?

The first step is to determine whether your project requires planning permission at all, which might be more complicated than it first appears.

As a general rule of thumb anything that changes the size of shape of the building – such as an extension – or any kind of structural change requires planning permission.

Likewise a change of use of the building (from residential to commercial, for example) requires a déclaration préalable.

If you’re doing internal renovations they probably won’t require planning permission.

But then there are a whole host of specific works like the installation of a swimming pool (if above a certain size), the installation of a skylight or roof shutter or the installation of a raised terrace that do require planning permission.

There’s also the matter of where you live – if you are in a historic area or near a historic monument you may need planning permission even for small works like changing the doors and the shutters.

Speaking of shutters, some areas – mostly historic areas – have specific rules that say what colours you can paint your shutters and other external structures.

If you live in a mountainous area you may be covered by the Loi montagne, which specifies extra safety standards for buildings (because of the risk of avalanches).

Helpful hints

Although the system is complicated, there are two ways that you can make it easier for yourself.

The first is to use the Service Public website – here – which has a simulator that allows you to click on the type of project you want to do, select whether you are in a protected area or not and then it will tell you whether you need a déclaration préalable.

The other is even easier – go and see your local mayor. The mayor (or their assistant) is usually a mine of valuable information and will be able to tell you instantly whether your project requires planning permission and whether the area is covered by any extra local regulations (historic area, mountain laws etc). 

In smaller villages the mairie might not deal with all queries, but they can tell you which local agency you should direct your déclaration to.

What next

Once you have established that you do need a déclaration préalable, the next stage is to complete the form. 

As the building owner, it is your responsibility to make sure the paperwork is completed, but if you are using a builder or other artisan they might offer to do the forms as part of the service. You can also instruct a professional to act on your behalf in this matter – some real estate agents specialising in foreign buyers or relocation agencies might offer planning permission help as part of their service (which you will pay for, of course).

If you’re doing the paperwork yourself, the next stage is to find the form.

Depending on the type of project there are different forms – the one for works being done on a private home can be downloaded here, and you can find the other options here

If you’re in a commune with more than 3,500 inhabitants, your mairie might offer an online service to submit the form. In smaller places you will usually have to submit the form by post or in person, although some mairies offer an option to email it.

The form

The form requires your personal details, plus the details of the property and exactly what works you intend to do.

If you’re a second-home owner then the address asked for with your personal details should be your full-time home (even if that is outside France), while the property address is the French address you are working on.

You will then need to tick the boxes to describe the work you are doing. It’s a good idea to add a little description of the works you intend to do, just so everyone is clear what you are doing.

Supporting information

The second section of the form is dedicated to pièces jointes – which are supporting documents to add. Exactly what you need to add depends on the nature of your project.

Decision stage

You then send the completed form to the mairie. In smaller villages there might be an arrangement where a slightly larger commune deals with planning applications. Your application won’t be rejected if you sent it to the wrong place, but it will just take longer so it’s a good idea to check with your local mayor where you should send it.

Your mairie should give you an récépissé (receipt) for your application with a registration number. If you make the application online you should get this via email.

The mairie then has one month to notify you of any problems with the application, or to request more information.

Technically, if you don’t get a response within a month then you can start work, but it’s usually a good idea to check with the mairie before you start a project if it’s complicated or expensive.

If the project is approved you can request from the mairie a certificat de non-opposition (certificate of non-opposition) which may be needed for insurance purposes or if you are taking out a loan.

The mairie can either approve your application, refuse it, authorise it with certain conditions or postpone the decision. The postponement can be made for us to two years, but only under certain circumstances – usually related to planned public works that your project could make more difficult or expensive. This postponement is known as sursis à statuer.

You have the right to appeal against a refusal, imposition of conditions or a postponement.


The final step, which is often forgotten, is that once your project is finished you must inform the mairie that the works are all done. This process – which is called a Déclaration attestant l’achèvement et la conformité des travaux (DAACT) (declaration of completion and conformity of works) is so that the mairie can check that your project is completed in accordance with local rules and the conditions of your planning permission.

You can find details of this here.

Other paperwork

As mentioned above, you may also need a building permit – permis de construire – for your works. If any part of your project involves people working close to a main road (for example painting the frontage of your house if it adjoins a road) you may also need to request a full or partial road closure, for safety reasons.

You can speak to your local mairie about arranging this.