From Marseille to the Basque Country, these new cities that want to regulate rents

Posted Nov 25, 2022, 5:14 PM

New step in the deployment of rent control. At least six municipalities or groups of municipalities have asked to integrate the system in turn, the Ministry of Towns and Housing told “Echos”. “Other letters could still arrive in the coming days,” he said, the deadline for sending his application having been set for November 24.

The candidates are Marseille, a group of municipalities in the Basque Country, Annemasse and Cergy. As well as Grenoble and the intercommunality of Grand Orly Seine Bièvre – which had already tried their luck but had been rejected.

Owners “caught in a vise”

With regard to Marseille, the ministry has already made it known that there was “an openness in principle from the State”, the control of rents, in this type of “very tense” territory being “a tool to preserve affordable housing”. But he stressed that he had identified “legal risks” which he intended to examine “rigorously”.

Rent control – which is politically divisive – has so far been tested in Paris between 2015 and 2017, then again from 1er July 2019 after an interruption linked to the appeal of associations for the defense of owners. Lille launched in 2017 – and also had a hiatus. More recently, at the end of 2020, Bordeaux, Lyon and Villeurbanne, Montpellier as well as Plaine commune Est together, in Ile-de-France, joined Paris and Lille.

The expected lengthening of the list of municipalities called upon to regulate their rents deeply displeases the National Union of Property Owners (Unpi), which has been fighting against the device since its inception. “The landlord becomes the adjustment variable for purchasing power and French taxation. Between the control of rents, the explosion of the property tax and the constraints linked to energy renovation, it is caught in a vice”, regrets Eudes Baufreton, its new general manager.

Pay attention to the energy label

Danielle Dubrac, the president of the United real estate union, regrets for her part that there has not been a real “impact study” of the rent control in the municipalities where it has already been put in place – before to extend it to new cities. To know if it is really effective. And if it does not restrain the rental housing market.

She would also like the energy label to be taken into account in the system. “Today, a landlord who has carried out energy renovation work in his home is subject to the same supervision as one who has not done so and he cannot increase his rent”, she regrets.

For their part, associations for the defense of tenants such as the CLCV regularly denounce the fact that the regulation of rents is imperfectly respected in the cities where it is practiced.

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