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Paris cracks down on short-term apartment rentals

Sep 22, 2011, 5:30 a.m.
The Eiffel tower and the river Seine are seen in an aerial view in Paris July 14, 2011. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The warnings usually suffice to convince landlords to take their rentals off the market, according to the town hall. One court case in favor of the city was even confirmed in appeal.

Yet fighting the trend will be a challenge given many foreign owners rent out apartments as a full-time business.

While the French government has vowed to tackle tax shelters to slim down the public deficit, the fiscal advantages of furnished rentals remain untouched: owners can deduct from their revenue all maintenance expenses and even depreciate their property, thus avoiding taxes for several years.

"Short-term rentals are so attractive financially, fiscally and legally that if we don't act, we'll end up in a city where nobody will want to rent out apartments the usual way, and we'll only have tourists or people visiting for the week," Nicol said.

Lodgis, one of Paris' top short-term housing agencies, says the government is overlooking the benefits of a practice that suits students and professionals in town for only a few months.

Others say getting properties off the short-term rental market will make them available to full-time apartment-seekers who struggle to find affordable living space in a city where rental prices have shot up 20 percent in the past year.

"What we're defending is the possibility for small landlords to continue to use their property however they wish, and to rent it for the duration they wish," said Jean-Marc Agnes, chairman of APLM, a group of professionals operating furnished rentals. ($1 = 0.730 Euros)

(Additional reporting by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Alexandria Sage and Paul Casciato)

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