How Saint-Malo is trying to contain the wave of tourist rentals

Quotas by district, registration number, declaration of change of use… The city of Saint-Malo has adopted one of the strictest regulations in France.

Véronique Deschamps lives in an old house, in the ramparts of Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine). A building “warm and family” divided into three dwellings. Everything got complicated in 2016, when one of the apartments ended up being rented out on nine platforms.

From that moment, she felt like “living in a station hall, with a constant coming and going of strangers, every three days. The whole world has entered my place of life. My daily life has become hell. she confides.

“The house where I live has changed use without being asked”, indignantly the co-founder of the collective “Saint-Malo, I live there… I stay there! “. While the owners themselves “live quietly elsewhere”. Hairdresser with modest incomes, she embarked on a legal battle “which costs me the eyes of the head” and obtained a first decision in his favour.

Intramural, more and more closed shutters

Collective — which claims 300 supporters — denounces the massification of short-term tourist rentals which “drives up real estate prices and makes housing inaccessible”, protests Franck Rolland, its co-founder.

Over the years, Véronique Deschamps has seen her neighborhood change with “more and more shutters closed, tourists passing through. Everyday businesses are disappearing. » She fights so that her children can, one day, live “in the place where they grew up”.

With the equivalent of 636 nights booked for a ratio of 100 inhabitants, Saint-Malo became, in 2019, the French champion for short-term rentals according to statements from four platforms (Airbnb, Vrbo, Expedia, Booking). Which places it ahead of Bordeaux (239), Aix-en-Provence (199) or Lille (128).

infographic photo representing the number of overnight stays for the equivalent of 100 inhabitants in several French tourist towns. © infographic service

Infographic representing the number of overnight stays for the equivalent of 100 inhabitants in several French tourist towns. © INFOGRAPHIC SERVICE

In an attempt to stem the phenomenon, the city has adopted several measures. First salvo in 2019, with the establishment of a registration number and a declaration of change of use for secondary residences intended for short-term rental (or main residences from 120 nights rented).

Recently, the new municipality gave a second turn of the screw by establishing quotas by districts. They were quickly reached in the most coveted places. 270 files are pending in the coastal sector.

In addition, the change of use authorization was limited to one dwelling per natural person, for a period of three years. Companies including civil real estate companies are excluded.

The measures are starting to bear fruit

“Investors sometimes bought entire buildings”, is moved Gilles Lurton, mayor (LR) of Saint-Malo. The shortage of goods has pushed prices up. Result : “People who want to live year-round can no longer find housing or can no longer afford to buy. » The chosen one saw the “multiply key boxes” in his city, so much so that some owners install them in the public space. These boxes allow tourists to retrieve the key to the rented accommodation without physical contact.

Gilles Lurton has the will “to put goods back on the market. » The first effects are being felt. “The measures have put an end to purchases intended solely for tourist rental”, observes Pierre-Luc Vogel, notary in Saint-Malo. But this did not cause, to his knowledge, “for sale” housing, rather “Returns to classic rental. »

For his part, Thierry Dorance-Houssay, leader of the local club of Airbnb hosts (350 members), does not take off. “An owner should be able to do what they want with their investment, whether it’s to improve their retirement or increase their income. » He does not wish to comment on the latest municipal decisions. Renters who took the case to court.

The collective “Saint-Malo, I live there… I stay there! “, for its part, would like a reinforcement of the controls and that the restrictions are extended to the neighboring municipalities. On Wednesday, February 24, 2022, the subject of furnished rentals will again be on the agenda of the municipal council.

We would love to thank the author of this short article for this outstanding material

How Saint-Malo is trying to contain the wave of tourist rentals