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Using Airbnb if you’re a French property owner

PUBLISHED: 15:03 06 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:03 06 January 2017

Ile de la Cite Paris © Paris Tourist Office / Daniel THIERRY

Ile de la Cite Paris © Paris Tourist Office / Daniel THIERRY

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Understand the home-sharing website Airbnb and follow our top tips for using it to rent out your property in France

What is Airbnb?

Online home rental company Airbnb began in 2008 when co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia launched a website to rent out two airbeds in their San Francisco apartment (hence the name, which stood for ‘airbed and breakfast’), in order to earn some extra money.

Eight years on, and more than 50 million people have rented accommodation through the site, which now boasts well over 1.5 million listings. It’s an online commmunity marketplace that connects people who want to rent their homes with people who are seeking accommodation. The site makes it possible for tourists to find cheap accommodation in desirable locations, offering both a budget-friendly solution for those travelling on a shoestring and an authentic experience of life in a particular area.

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How does Airbnb work?

Hosts list their space, which could be anything from a single room to a whole apartment or house, a yacht or even a château, for free on the website – and decide how much they want to charge. Guests can search the site’s entire database of properties by entering details about when and where they’d like to travel, and can further refine their search by property type, price, amenities and even host language. To book accommodation, users need to create an Airbnb profile and can contact the host using an online form that appears with each listing.

A 6-12% service fee is added to the accommodation cost, and Airbnb holds a guest’s payment for 24 hours after check-in before releasing the money to the host, in order to provide peace of mind and avoid problems with fake listings.

How does Airbnb work in France?

France has become Airbnb’s biggest market with more than 50,000 apartments on offer, and Paris is the most popular city, but it has met with considerable recent opposition from the hotel industry who feel this is unfair competition as Airbnb hosts are subject to the taxes and regulations traditional hotels are. This has been combatted by the French government with the introduction of a new tax law: those who use the site to earn rental income must be treated as ‘professionals’ and therefore pay taxes to the French government, but with a cap in place of €23,000 per year. Therefore, those who rent out their apartments while on holiday or when they go away for a weekend should not be affected, only those who use Airbnb to rent out their property for most of the year.

Beware tighter regulations in the future...

Airbnb is facing a new challenge in France after legislation tightening tax laws on rental income was passed. The new law makes it harder for its users to avoid tax on rental income as it requires the house-sharing start-up to send tax data to the French authorities directly, rather than leaving it up to the individuals who are using the site to declare it. The tighter controls were introduced after a hotel lobbying group convinced the country’s parliament to pass the law in an effort to curb Airbnb’s growth in France. the company is likely to face further challenges in France as the hotel lobbying group is seeking to impose further restrictions on Airbnb rentals including an increase in social security tax, VAT sales tax and a nightly tourist tax.

4 top tips for renting your French property on Airbnb...

1. Be honest – provide a truthful description of the space you have to rent and include details of the facilities your guest will have access to

2. Take good photos – show off the space you want to rent and make the most of what’s unique about it

3. Be helpful – provide maps and information on nearby attractions, and offer essentials such as tea, coffee and a bottle of water

4. Be assured by Airbnb’s Host Guarantee – this provides protection for up to £600,000 of damage to an eligible property, but does not cover cash, pets, personal liability or shared/communal areas.

Like this? Read our other articles on:

Making your French rental a success

Understanding the French micro-entreprise regime

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