To keep its inhabitants and its businesses, the city of Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine) is trying, like many other cities in France, to contain the proliferation of short-term tourist rentals. Especially in its center, behind the ramparts. For this, it has established one of the most restrictive regulations in France, in force since 1er July.
“Saint-Malo has, in fact, become in spite of itself, in 2019, the French champion of short-term rental with, according to the surveys carried out on the three main platforms – Airbnb, Expedia and Booking -, 639 nights reserved for 100 inhabitants, far ahead of Bordeaux (239) or Aix-en-Provence (199) ”, explains Jean-Virgile Crance, first deputy mayor.
The number of ads on the Airbnb site alone had thus doubled between April 2016 and the end of 2018, “With super-hosts who account for two thirds of the nights booked”, notes Mr. Crance. Almost a third of intramural dwellings (27%) were the subject of such an announcement. “At this level, the balance is upset between inhabitants and tourists, because there is nothing left to buy or rent, except at prices beyond the reach of Saint-Malo residents., continues Mr. Crance. However, we do not want to become the Breton Venice, deserted by those who bring it to life. “
Rising real estate prices
The notaries attest, for their part, that the intense tourist rental activity is, here as elsewhere, raising property prices: according to their statistics, the price per square meter in the town of Saint-Malo has increased by 14 , 5% in 2020 alone – and 39% for five years -, partly on the promise of doubled profitability when renting for short periods.
The previous municipality had already, in 2019, required rental companies to register and obtain a number to verify that those who offer their main residence do not exceed 120 days of rental per year and that the owners of second homes and investors have obtained the change of use to “commercial activity”.
This obligation to change use is, in principle, reserved for towns with more than 200,000 inhabitants. But Saint-Malo, which has 46,000, has, in view of the tension in its real estate market, obtained a dispensation from the prefect. However, all the owners did not follow suit: only 2,000 homes were registered, far from the 3,000 advertisements listed on the platforms.
The new municipality has therefore tightened this system by limiting the authorization of change of use to one housing per natural person, excluding any ownership through a company, including a real estate company, and for only three years ( against, for example, five dwellings and six years, in Marseille; two dwellings and nine years, in Strasbourg; two dwellings for two years, in Toulouse; one accommodation for six years, in Nice; Bordeaux and Paris having chosen to subject the change of use to compensation in square meters of housing).
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Saint-Malo, “French champion of short-term rental”, counterattack