The Commune de GRIMAUD is a tourist town and commune (municipality). It was first classed as a ‘ »Station de Tourisme » (tourist resort) in the 30s, and this classification was renewed in 2011 according to the provisions in force since the NOTRe law was proclaimed. Grimaud alone holds a third of the tourist accommodation in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez (ranked 4th among the Var communes in terms of tourist accommodation capacity).
Over the last few years, Grimaud has encountered certain difficulties in managing its tourism industry: specifically, the hospitality sector.
These problems stem from the development of a whole new accommodation market, emerging through online platforms, for seasonal rental of tourist accommodation.
To date, and on the AIRBNB platform alone, there are up to 1,037 rental accommodation listings in GRIMAUD, all aimed at the tourist market. 94% of these are houses or apartments rented out in their entirety during high season (source: www.airdna.co, AirBnB’s economic observation platform).
This new sector is growing at such a tremendous rate that, over the short-term, it is likely to threaten the availability of permanent housing for the town’s inhabitants or for new arrivals, even though the commune’s PLU (local urban development plan) contains objectives to create housing for families (sentence to be adapted to the commune’s PLU or to cut out if such objectives do not appear in the PLU).
This threat is made all the greater by the fact that the commune does not have sufficient information to be able to monitor the stock of existing rental accommodation, since the online platforms have not been transmitting this information.
The GRIMAUD commune has therefore set up a procedure for the management of rental accommodation aimed at the tourist clientele, with the following objectives:
– To facilitate the monitoring of holiday rentals (tourist accommodation)
– Counter the shortage of housing for locals
– Take stock of the accommodation currently on offer
– Apply a fair tax to holiday rentals
– Ensure that landlords fulfil their obligations
– Guarantee decent and legally-declared accommodation for tourists
A 13-digit registration number, mandatory
As of March 1st, 2019, a registration number is mandatory for all seasonal rentals in view of their commercial purpose, regardless of the channel used by the host (direct, via an intermediary).
This 13-digit number is issued exclusively by the Town Hall of Grimaud, via an online platform that is already operational, on which hosts must declare themselves or re-declare themselves if they are already registered on City Council’s lists. This new approach takes the place of the previous declaration system (CERFA).
Once obtained, it is compulsory for this number to appear on all of the host’s communication documents, and to be provided to all intermediaries used by the host, particularly to the digital operators (online platforms) when a listing is published online.
The declaration made in order to obtain this number must be accompanied by a request for change of use for the accommodation in question, via the same online platform.
Authorization for change of use
You can now make your change of use request online, on the digital platform provided, after declaring your accommodation.
What is this all about?
The « use » of buildings refers to a factual element pertaining to what a building (apartment, house, office premises, etc.) is used for.
The term corresponds to a provision of the French Construction and Housing Code intended to prevent the gradual disappearance of residential housing, in some communes, in favour of other uses.
In French legislation, there are only two categories of use: one, residential housing, and two, all other non-residential premises.
Article L.631-7 of the French Construction and Housing Code states that the principle of change of use is personal in character; that is to say, it is temporary and non-transferable.
Thus, change of use is generally granted on a personal and therefore provisional basis, for the period during which premises are occupied by the recipient of the authorization. The premises must then once again be used for residential housing.
In addition to this, law n ° 2008-776 of August 4, 2008 for modernization of the economy, imposed a special regime for mixed-use premises – those that constitute both the applicant’s main residence and their workplace.
Conditions for issuing authorizations:
– A change of use authorization is required in the following cases:
– For premises that do not constitute the landlord’s main residence and that are rented to passing customers who do not take up residence there;
– For residential premises that constitute the landlord’s main residence and are rented to passing customers, who do not take up residence there, more than 120 days per year ;
– Whether a change of use authorization is granted or not depends on a range of factors, such as objectives for social diversity, the balance between housing and employment in different neighbourhoods and the need not to aggravate housing shortages;
– For an authorization to be granted, change of use must not be prohibited by joint ownership situations in which the accommodation may be found;
– The accommodation must be decent and meet the requirements of article R.111-2 of the CCH (French Construction and Housing Code);
– Change of use authorization will not be granted for lodgings that are subject to an agreement under the article L.351-2 and R.321-23 of the CCH.
– Authorization can only be granted once a form available from the commune administration has been filled out and filed by the interested party. This form must be accompanied by the supporting documents requested. o If premises are under joint ownership, proof of agreement from the group of owners must be provided;
– Under article L.631-8 of the CCH, when the change of use involves construction works that require application for a building permit, this building permit application or its prior declaration is considered equivalent to a request for change of use. But if the directive is carried out by a different department, the interested party must still file a change of use application form. The works may not be carried out before obtaining the authorization of article L.631-7 of the CCH.
– If no reply is issued by the commune administration within a two-month period after the application has been filed, the application is automatically deemed accepted, in accordance with the provisions of Article L.231-1 of the Code of Relations between the Public and the Administration.
Authorization is granted for a 3-year period that may be renewed following the procedure described above.
It is valid throughout the entire commune.
Those exempted from requiring change of use authorizations:
– Residential premises constituting the landlord’s main residence, rented for short periods to customers who do not take up residence there (article L.631-7-1-IA of the CCH);
– Those carrying out a professional activity, including a commercial one, in a part of a living space (as long as there is no contractual stipulation provided for in the lease or the co-ownership by-law precluding this), if the activity considered is carried out solely by the occupant(s) whose main residence is in the said premises, and does not lead to receiving any customers or goods there (Article L.631-7-3 of the CCH);;
– Those carrying out a professional activity, including a commercial one, in a part of a living space on the ground floor (as long as there is no contractual stipulation provided for in the lease or the co-ownership by-law precluding this), if the activity considered is carried out solely only by the occupant(s) whose main residence is in the said premises, and does not cause any nuisance or danger to neighbours or lead to any disorder in the building (Article L.631-7-4 of the CCH).
When you apply for authorization, your file will be examined to determine whether you are eligible for such an exemption or not.
What risks do I run if I fail to respect the law?
Take note: from the 1st March 2019, online platforms will reject any accommodation listing that does not come with a registration number.
Risks involved for hosts:
– Failure to apply for a change of use: Civil fines of up to €50,000 per premise concerned (fine of up to €80,000 for a false declaration)
– Advertising accommodation without a registration number or with a wrong number: civil fines of up to €5,000 per premise concerned
– Failure to communicate the number of rental days registered to the commune: fines of up to €10,000 per rental accommodation
– For a host renting out his/her main residence for more than the maximum 120 days permitted per year: up to €10,000
Risks involved for intermediaries:
– Listing holiday rentals without registration numbers: fines of up to €12,500 per rental accommodation
– Failure to communicate the number of rental days registered to the commune: fines of up to €50,000 per rental accommodation
– Failure to withdraw a listing that is a main residence and has been rented for more than 120 days: up to €50,000 per rental
This tool allows those who own accommodation in the commune to:
– Declare their accommodation and obtain their 13-digit registration number. This procedure takes the place of the CERFA declaration system used until now
– Apply for a change of use
Since the Déclaloc tool is linked to the tourist tax reporting platform, the information provided by hosts will automatically:
– Modify existing information for previously registered accommodation
– Create accommodation files for new hosts
New hosts will receive their login details in order to complete the tourist tax procedure on the relevant online platform.