Government attempts to protect consumers often either fail or take a very long time to kick in because court hearings are required to force people to comply with the law.
More than 18 months after a new law including rent caps was voted in, many aspects of it have gone into effect and it is working rapidly.
Among other provisions, the law of 24 March 2014 Pour L’Accès au Logement et un Urbanisme Renové created a sort of court, the Commission de Conciliation des Rapports Locatifs de Paris, which is somewhat informal but can still rule and have its decisions enforced. It is now possible to get a hearing within a few months, and if the commission rules against the landlord, the rent must be lowered right away.
Of course, landlords continue to fight this procedure and claim that with such low rent they are losing money and will be forced to sell their properties. That is a completely different debate. For right now, I am just saying that the procedure works for normal residential leases, whether for furnished or unfurnished housing. (It does not apply to very short-term rentals of the Airbnb type.)
My experience is that more and more landlords are renting completely outside the law on this type of contract for people who want to settle in France. That means the proof of address that the prefecture and other organizations expect people to have are not available, creating a nightmarish situation.
The market is swift to move away from unwelcome legislation. If you plan to live in Paris or another major city in France, expect to go through several lodgings before finding the right place with the right lease.
To find out how much the rent for a particular apartment should be check this site: www.encadrementdesloyers.gouv.fr
By Jean Taquet.
Jean holds a master’s degree in commercial and civil law from the Sorbonne University. He served as a French “officier juriste” and graduated from Saint Cyr de Coëtquidan in the French Army. He has been a consultant in cross-cultural practical issues of all kinds confronting expatriate families residing in France since 1997.