Real estate in France: reforms taking place this summer
A number of changes are taking place on the real estate front in France, including rent caps being stretched to other cities and new mandatory diagnostic tests for property rentals.
France’s new Housing Minister Emmanuelle Cosse recently took over from Sylvia Pinel, with just 14 months ahead of her to complete implementation of the ALUR law — France’s controversial law on “access to housing and renovated urbanism.” Twenty decrees are reportedly in the pipes, with the new Housing Minister specifying that “90% of the ALUR law will have been put in place before the end of the summer.”
New diagnostic tests required of landlords
One of the new decrees concerns owners who rent out their properties. Landlords will now have to provide the written results of diagnostic tests regarding the presence of asbestos, and the state of the electricity and gas installation in the property.
Penalties for realtors found bending the rules
A recent survey by the UFC-Que Choisir consumer organization revealed widespread violations by real estate agents, on everything from requiring their clients to provide documents they are not entitled to, not displaying rental prices properly on public listings, or failing to cause owners to perform required energy performance diagnostics.
Going forward, the country’s 150,000 real estate professionals will be required to undergo mandatory, ongoing training. The training will take place during 42 hours over the course of three years of continuous work, averaging 14 hours per year.
The ALUR law further provides for the establishment by decree of a Control Board for Trading Operations and Real Estate Management. The board can penalize realtors who commit violations and may be set up “by the end of 2016,” Cosse hopes.
Rent caps extended to Lille, Grenoble and Alençon?
While rent caps were originally planned for 28 cities, the strong opposition to the measure caused Prime Minister Manuel Valls to first limit its application to central Paris, in order to “experiment” there first before imposing it on other markets. The new Housing Minister, a self-proclaimed “keen supporter of rent control,” has requested that the regulation be applied to all communities in the capital’s inner suburbs as well.
Rent caps are due to be extended to Lille by the end of 2016, and Grenoble in the 2 years to follow. In Alençon, a commune in Normandy, a public observatory has been established to determine the correct rental values throughout the city. Other cities are expected to follow suit with similar announcements in the coming year.
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