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Learn the rules for renting out a room in your apartment

Renting out

Renting your chambre de bonne:

In Paris, city regulations do require that a maid’s room meet certain requirements to be rented out as a residence. For example, the room must be a minimum of 9 m2, must have hot and cold running water, and electricity.

In May of 2012, the French Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation) considered a rule voted by the owners of a Paris building that forbade any owner from separately renting out their chambre de bonne.

The owner seeking to uphold the restriction argued that the rule was valid because these rentals conflicted with the “bourgeous” (exclusively residential) status of the building. He particularly emphasized that, because the 7th floor maid’s rooms were only accessible by an exterior staircase that let out on the interior courtyard of the building, any such rental would by its nature be a nuisance to the other owners.

The court disagreed. First, the court confirmed that, as a matter of settled law, a maid’s room is not an annex of an apartment, but a separate, single lot that could be rented like any residential property as long as it met the city’s requirements for a habitable property. The court dismissed the argument that the exterior staircase was a de facto nuisance: as long as there was no particular, repeated nuisance associated with the rental (there was not in that case), the chambres de bonne could be rented by an owner who wanted to do so.

 

Selling your chambre de bonne:

The chambre de bonne is a separate lot designated in the co-ownership of the building. It is accorded it’s own proportional share of building fees, just like the apartments below it. As such, it can be sold separately from the apartment itself. Owned separately or not, the rules on renting it out remain the same: it must be a minimum 9m2, and have running hot and cold water and electricity. If not, the owner can use it as an office or extra storage. Many of them are not used at all, and a savvy owner may try to buy up the chambres de bonne from fellow building owners to combine them into a larger, habitable apartment.

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