Due to Covid’s less Airbnb residence in Strasbourg, there are no rules

On November 19, 2021, the Strasbourg Avrometropolis voted to tighten the Airbnb rules regarding furniture rentals. This continues efforts in 2016 in Strasbourg, accompanied by a sharp decline in the rental housing stock through this platform. However, this is largely due to the results of Covid-19, as society struggles to impose sanctions on fraudsters.

Available on several platforms, Airbnb is the most popular, but also Booking.com, HomeAway or even Vrbo, tourist accommodations designed for short stays are especially in demand in a tourist city like Strasbourg. Eurometropolis discussed on November 19, 2021, a tougher regulation of tourist rents, accusing the sector of stealing “200-300 apartments a year in Strasbourg” from a traditional rental fund.

In 2016, the inter-municipal association had already laid the groundwork for these restrictions and had already estimated that these rents caused 300-400 house losses per year. This discussion has been added to three national texts, the Alur Act, the Ad Law, and the Law for the Digital Republic … These laws, for example, limit the number of overnight stays for major residences to 120 days a year and force the owner. tourist accommodation to register in their municipality.

Local regulations also limit the number of apartments per owner and force Airbnb and other services to levy a tourist tax. From 2019, accommodation providers must compensate for the creation of tourist housing by creating similar accommodation in the area.

“Prefer to stay”

New Eurometropolis rules applied from 1is January 2022, limits permits for change of use to 6 years compared to the previous 9 years. After this period, the owners must return their apartments to the classic rental fund. They can have only one for each person (as opposed to the previous two). Finally, the percentage of surface area that can be invested in the same building or on the same plot of land to accommodate furnished tourists has been reduced from 50% to 40%.

For Vice President Suzanne Brolly, who is in charge of the apartment, this new text should make it possible to “prefer life”:

“We see companies in the city center dividing their buildings into tourist areas,” he said. When we see such a mass sale, we are powerless. The idea is to use all available levers to combat real estate inflation. “

“I started alone 20 years ago and then I started a management company with my family. Technically, I am a regulator of my place of residence. After the discussion, a friend called me with a bit of panic, but this does not apply to the existing residence.

Suzanne Brolly confirms:

“The new rules apply to registration in tourist accommodation after December 31, 2021. This will allow us to regulate and clean up the market, but let’s not change the situation with the work done in the past. “

Doubling changes in usage when rules are announced

For these usage changes, the municipality hopes to halve the number of residential buildings converted into tourist attractions. It counts 245 files submitted on December 23, 2021, compared to 493 in 2019. The peak associated with the announcement of the new regulation by the municipality was observed in December: during the month, 2.5 times more appeals were registered than in the previous 11 years. .

The municipal building estimates the number of equipped tourist destinations in Strasbourg on December 23, 2021, combining all platforms, to 2,348. This figure should be taken “with a grain of salt” Suzanne Brolly, because it is a very volatile market. It is obtained by going through the housing tax collection register and the AirDNA file, a service that provides international information on short-term rents.

1785 ads for all homes on Airbnb and Vrbo sites …

According to the latter, who provided some of this information to Rue89 Strasbourg, in November 2021, only Airbnb or Vrbo platforms published 1,785 advertisements for all homes in the city center, mainly for Strasbourg.

Map of ads for all furnished tourist accommodations published on AirDNA. (Screenshot)

As Rue89 Strasbourg wrote its first year of regulation, the equipped rental site Airbnb experienced an exponential increase in offer in 2016, with more than 3,000 ads published compared to 1,000 two years ago. According to the AirDNA manager, based on advertisements published at least once a month, this figure has dropped significantly.

… significantly lower figure

From January 2019 to November 2021, 1,470 fewer ads were listed on AirDNA for the city of Strasbourg. This date includes the rental of all homes, private rooms and living space. In December 2019, the Christmas market period can be observed with a peak of 3,504 announcements against 2,742 compared to the previous month.

All accommodation for tourism has developed very similar to the set of advertisements. These decreased by about 42% in Strasbourg between 2019 and 2021. The other two types of accommodation on the list, ie private rooms and common rooms, also decreased by 51.5% and 47.83%, respectively..

… is primarily associated with Covid-19

Although the number of announcements was relatively stable between January and November 2019, falling from 3,192 to 2,742, the decline has actually been observed since the beginning of 2020, with the arrival of the first arrests and then the first restrictive measures. Covid19.

Dominic Debuire, president of the National Holiday Rental Promotion Association (UNPLV), explains that during this period, some lodges, mainly for tourism, were returned to the classic park:

“The occupancy rate for bed and breakfast and furnished rents was significantly lower than the previous year. A small landlord with two or three residences realized that he earned significantly less since he closed 3-4 weeks a month. return to reserve.

Simon Ehrenreich observes this at the Cotoon agency in Colmar, which specializes in tourist furniture rentals, which in 2020 lost “4 to 5 pieces of furniture” from 31 settlements in Strasbourg. In addition to the number of houses, the manager also observed a decrease in occupancy rates (ie, the average number of days the house was rented per month, Editor’s note) after health restrictions. :

“The occupancy rate was around 80%. But with the closure of borders and the overall decline in tourism, it has dropped to 65%.”

Accommodation for tourists is less, but more expensive

According to AirDNA, the prices of furnished housing in Strasbourg have risen. In November 2019, before the pandemic, an entire house on Airbnb and Vrbo platforms was rented for an average of 96.55 euros. In November 2021, this figure rose to 107.9 euros.

Prices according to hotel prices

According to INSEE, the daily price of accommodation on Airbnb, which has been steadily increasing since March 2020, thus joins the price of hotel nights in November 2021, which is 83.7 euros per night in a two-star hotel.

For Pierre Siegel, president of the Union des métiers et des Industries de l’hôtellerie (Umih) in Strasbourg, these elements do not change anything, and he still sees these platforms as “unfair competition”:

“This is not a problem at all for those who rent a room in their apartment. By offering cheaper accommodation for families, they respond to a student that hotels cannot meet. However, there are also Airbnb professionals. all the buildings that make up the competition.

“We understand the problem, but the solutions are not appropriate”

For Dominique Debuire of the Union of Tourist Accommodation, equipped with UNPLV, these rules, by contrast, are not justified:

“More and more cities are imposing restrictions, compensations or quotas that go far beyond the rules set by the legislature … All these measures must be implemented in proportion and equally with other types of living. Tensions like Strasbourg. We do not deny the problem, but solutions are appropriate. not “

So is Fiona, the owner who started renting a tourist after learning the history. He claims to have justified himself. His observation is different for the owners of the area:

“When everyone started entering this nest, many did it without doing what was necessary, without paying taxes … The problem is people who evade discipline. In 2016, when Eurometropolis applied the first regulation, they called me directly because I was registered. people I knew did not have to go through any control … ”

Ineffective controls and sanctions

The two unions, UNPLV and UMIH, jointly endorse this oversight issue. The main resources used by Eurometropolis to detect fraud are already existing databases and denunciations by the neighborhood. The head of the building’s police department, Kathy Müller, who is in charge of these regulatory controls, admits the lack of resources allocated to combat fraud:

“We already have two supervisors who created jobs during the first regulation. If we compare ourselves to metropolitan areas under real estate pressure, such as Lyon or Nice, we are less provided with registration numbers than Strasbourg.”

He cites the example of the city of Lyon, which in June was convicted of violating the rules of the rental company Airbnb. This was the first such conviction in France. For Strasbourg, Cathy Muller reports on a November report on an owner who exceeded the number of usage changes and did not meet the accommodation limit in the same building.

The contacting platform Airbnb states in writing that a number of commitments have been made to curb fraud, such as the mandatory integration of municipal registration numbers from September 2021 and the automatic blocking of 120-year overnight stays for key residences. as the creation of a city portal, it is intended to “facilitate the control mission and comply with local regulations.”

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