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REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE

The legislation is huge, as are the potential consequences of any property investment in Nice. Generally we welcome the changes (minus all the form filling), as there are going to be big opportunities for Pebbles owners in the short and long term rental market.

In this 6 part blog we’ll explain all you need to know about the Loi Alur and how it will affect us.

Part 1: The history of the law

The Loi Duflot II, Loi ALUR (Accès au logement et urbanisme rénové) or Loi n° 2014-366 du 24 mars 2014 pour l’accès au logement et un urbanisme rénové, to give it its full name, was debated on the 24th March 2014 and adopted three days later on March 27th.

The law enforces new regulation on access to accommodation and town planning. It was first proposed by incumbent Cécile Duflot, later revised by Sylvia Pinel (Minister of Territorial Equality and Housing).

The law regulates the level of available properties in urban areas in France, especially larger cities. The goal is to ensure French residents have access to affordable housing, and are not priced out of the market. Most investors buy to rent seasonally, not long term, due to the more attractive ROI.

Second homes or holiday homes, often left empty, contribute to the shortage of available accommodation for residents. Astronomically inflated property prices in London and New York make it understandable that the French government is looking to take hold of the market before it spirals out of control.

The Loi ALUR has been heavily criticised for trying to fix something that wasn’t broken. Columnist Mathieu Laine (Sciences Po Paris) condemned the law back in August 2014 when writing for the renowned French newspaper Le Monde. He classed it among the ‘most serious errors in judgement’ made in François Hollande’s first term, saying that he had ‘literally killed’ any desire of buying to rent.[¹] The Parti Socialiste government has been repeatedly criticised on economic policy, most notably the implementation (and speedy removal) of the 75% Super Tax.[¹’⁵]

Hollande’s socialist policies have seen an increase in popularity for the right wing UMP and Nationalist party. With staunch attitudes against the free market, it’s almost a given that a right wing government will take over in 2017 and remove, or at least dilute the law as it has the potential to stifle growth and the property market.

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, leans very much to the right.[²] The Loi ALUR sees each Mayor in charge of how they see fit to implement the law, so we weren’t surprised when at first he seemed to be openly against it, refusing to implement it in Nice. He knows the city relies on tourists, and many tourists want to stay in apartment rentals.

Nice now seems to have accepted, and put in place a process to regulate seasonal rentals. By regulating, Nice ensures that every property rented seasonally pays its fair share of tax, both the taxe de séjour (stay tax), payable by tourists, and tax on income received. Since 2006, we‘ve collected approximately 200,000 euros of stay tax from Pebbles guests and handed it to the Ville de Nice. In Part 3 we’ll discuss what revenue this extra tax collection will bring to Nice.

As far as Pebbles is concerned, we broadly welcome the changes to the law. We have always collected stay tax, our Owners pay income tax, and we pay our required TVA on commissions. So for us it’s business as usual, with a lot more form filling.

Pebbles has all the information you need and we will support you in protecting your investment from day one. Buying to rent remains a viable means of achieving a substantial ROI. We’d argue that as Nice clamps down on those not paying their tax, there’s big opportunities for Pebbles owners who are doing things properly.

In Part 2 we’ll guide you through how the law affects seasonal lets in Nice. We’ll give details of the process including the current form every owner must complete. We continue to build a portfolio of successful holiday rental apartments with clients from all four corners of the globe. As a member of the FNAIM, who send out regular updates on the law and new legal requirements, we always stay on top of owners’ obligations.

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