Fewer Airbnb accommodations in Strasbourg because of the Covid, no regulations

The Strasbourg Eurometropolis voted on November 19, 2021, to tighten up the “Airbnb regulations” on furnished tourist rentals. This is continuing the efforts started in 2016 which have accompanied a drastic drop in the housing stock rented via this platform in Strasbourg. But it is rather due to the consequences of Covid-19, since the community is struggling to sanction fraudsters.

Present on several platforms, Airbnb for the most famous, but also Booking.com, HomeAway, or even Vrbo, tourist accommodation dedicated to short stays are particularly in demand in a tourist city like Strasbourg. The Eurometropolis deliberated on November 19, 2021 to more strongly regulate tourist rentals, accusing this sector of stealing “200 to 300 housing units in Strasbourg each year” from the traditional rental stock.

In 2016, the intermunicipal association had already laid the foundations for these restrictions, already estimating that these rentals produced a loss of 300 to 400 homes per year. This deliberation was in addition to three national texts, the Alur law, the Elan law and the law for a digital Republic … These laws, for example, limit the number of overnight stays to 120 days per year for main residences and oblige the owner of a tourist accommodation to register with their municipality.

Local regulations also limit the number of apartments per owner and force Airbnb and other services to collect tourist tax. Since 2019, accommodation providers must compensate for the creation of a tourist apartment by the creation of similar accommodation in the district.

“Favor accommodation”

The new Eurometropolis regulations, applicable since 1er January 2022, limits authorizations for change of use to 6 years, compared to 9 years previously. After this period, owners must return their apartments to the classic rental stock. They can only own one per individual (against two before). Finally, the percentage of surface area that can be invested in the same building or the same land unit for furnished tourist accommodation has been reduced from 50 to 40%.

For Suzanne Brolly, vice-president in charge of housing, this new text should make it possible to “favor housing”:

“We are seeing companies in downtown housing segmenting buildings into tourist accommodation. When we see this kind of bulk selling, we are powerless. The idea is to use all available levers to fight real estate inflation. “

In Strasbourg, the most expensive accommodation on Airbnb is on Place Kléber (Photo Macchi / Visualhunt / cc)

A non-retroactive measure

For the owners surveyed, this regulation does not change much. Dominique Klein, a retiree who rents eight apartments in the same building of 26 lots in Strasbourg city center, is still subject to the old regulations:

“I started alone 20 years ago and then I set up a company with my family for the management. Technically with my accommodation, I am regulatory. A friend called me a little panicked after the deliberation had passed, but it does not apply to the accommodation already in place ”.

Suzanne Brolly confirms:

“The new regulations apply for registrations in furnished tourist accommodation made after December 31, 2021. This will allow us to regulate and clean up the market but not to change the situation on what has been done in the past. “

A doubling of changes in use when the regulations are announced

For these changes of use, the town hall hopes to reduce by half the number of accommodation transformed into furnished tourist accommodation. It counts 245 files filed on December 23, 2021, against 493 in 2019. A peak was observed in December, attributed by the town hall to the announcement of this new regulation: 2.5 times more requests were recorded during the month compared to the previous 11.

The town hall estimates at 2,348 the number of furnished tourist accommodation in Strasbourg on December 23, 2021, all platforms combined. This figure should be taken “with a grain of salt” specifies Suzanne Brolly, because of a very fluctuating market. It is obtained by crossing the housing tax collection register and the file AirDNA, a service providing international data on short-term rentals.

On Airbnb and Vrbo sites, 1,785 advertisements for entire homes…

According to the latter, who communicated part of this data to Rue89 Strasbourg, 1,785 advertisements for entire homes were published for Strasbourg on the Airbnb or Vrbo platforms alone during the month of November 2021, mainly located in the city center. city.

1641359520 906 Fewer Airbnb accommodations in Strasbourg because of the Covid no
Map of advertisements for entire furnished tourist accommodation published on the AirDNA site. (Screenshot)

As Rue89 Strasbourg wrote the year of the first regulation, the furnished rental site Airbnb had experienced exponential growth in its offer in 2016, with more than 3,000 advertisements published compared to 1,000 two years earlier. This figure has fallen significantly, according to data from manager AirDNA, which is based on the ads posted at least once a month.

… a significantly lower figure

Between January 2019 and November 2021, 1,470 fewer advertisements were listed on AirDNA for the city of Strasbourg. This data includes rentals of entire homes, private rooms and those shared within a residence. A peak can be observed in December 2019, the Christmas market period, with 3,504 announcements, against 2,742 the previous month.

The entire accommodation for tourism has experienced a development very similar to the set of advertisements. These fell by nearly 42% in Strasbourg between 2019 and 2021. The other two types of accommodation listed, ie private rooms and shared rooms, also fell by 51.5% and 47.83% respectively..

… above all linked to Covid-19

While the number of announcements was relatively stable from January to November 2019, dropping from 3,192 to 2,742, the drop is really observable from the start of 2020, a period corresponding to the first confinement and then to the arrival of the first restrictive measures against the Covid-19.

Dominique Debuire, president of the National Union for the Promotion of Vacation Rental (UNPLV), explains that some lodges primarily intended for tourism were returned to the classic park during this period:

“Bed and breakfasts and furnished rentals had significantly lower occupancy rates than the previous year. The small host who had two or three dwellings realized that he was earning significantly less since it was closed 3-4 weeks in the month. The reflex was therefore to put the rental accommodation back in the classic stock. “

Simon Ehrenreich observes it in his Cotoon agency, located in Colmar and specializing in tourist furnished rentals, which lost “4 to 5 furnished” in 2020 out of its 31 accommodation in Strasbourg. In addition to the number of homes, the manager also observed a drop in occupancy rates (i.e. the number of days a home is rented on average over the month, Editor’s note), following health restrictions :

“Occupancy rates were around 80%. But with the border closures and the general decline in tourism, that rate has dropped to 65%.”

Less tourist accommodation, but more expensive

According to AirDNA data, the prices of furnished accommodation have increased in Strasbourg. In November 2019, before the pandemic, an entire home was rented for 96.55 euros on average on the Airbnb and Vrbo platforms. This figure rose to 107.9 euros in November 2021.

Prices that match hotel rates

Steadily increasing since March 2020, the daily price of Airbnb accommodation thus joins the prices of hotel nights, which were 83.7 euros per night in November 2021 in a two-star hotel, according to INSEE.

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

“Individuals who rent a room in their apartment, this is absolutely not a problem. By offering less expensive accommodation for families, they are responding to a demand that hoteliers are not able to meet. But besides that. , there are Airbnb professionals, with entire buildings which are in fact hotels in disguise and form absolutely unfair competition, with much less restrictive charges and security rules. “

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

For Dominique Debuire of the Union of furnished tourist accommodation UNPLV, these regulations are on the contrary not justified:

“More and more, cities are putting in place constraints that go well beyond the rules provided for by the legislator, with compensations or quotas … All these measures must be taken in proportionality and equity with the other types of housing, in cities in tension like Strasbourg. We do not deny the problem, but the solutions are not appropriate “

This is also the opinion of Fiona, owner who started tourist rentals after studying history. She claims to have straightened out. His observation is different for the owners of his entourage:

“When everyone started to get into this niche, most did so without doing the necessary, without paying taxes … The problem is the people who circumvent the regulations. When the Eurometropolis put in place the first regulation in 2016, I was called directly, because I was registered. The people I know who did it without declaring themselves did not have to undergo any control … “

Ineffective controls and sanctions

The two unions, UNPLV and UMIH, jointly corroborate this issue of controls. The main resources used by the Eurometropolis to identify fraud are the already existing databases and denunciations by the neighborhood. For Cathy Muller, head of the building police department, responsible for these regulatory controls, admits a lack of resources allocated to the fight against fraud:

“We have two controllers, who were already creating jobs during the first regulation. If we compare ourselves to metropolises under real estate pressure, such as Lyon or Nice, Strasbourg is less well endowed in proportion to its registration numbers. “

She takes the example of the city of Lyon, which had succeeded in June to convict an Airbnb rental company for non-compliance with its regulations. It was the first such conviction in France. For Strasbourg, Cathy Muller speaks of a report drawn up in November with regard to an owner who had exceeded the number of changes of use and did not respect the limit of accommodation in the same building.

Contacted, the Airbnb platform indicates in writing that a “series of commitments” have been made to limit fraud, such as the compulsory integration of the municipal registration number since September 2021 and the automatic blocking of 120 annual overnight stays for residences main, as well as the creation of a city ​​portal, supposed to “facilitate the mission of control and compliance with local regulations”.

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Fewer Airbnb accommodations in Strasbourg because of the Covid, no regulations