“I offered 100 euros more under the table for housing”: rent control in Montpellier, a measure that is sometimes misused

"I offered 100 euros more under the table for housing": rent control in Montpellier, a measure that is sometimes misused

Apartments for rent but with amounts not to exceed. Illustration Midi Libre – F. T.

Since July 2022, the city of Montpellier has been subject to this system. Some find what they’re looking for, others don’t. Advantages, constraints, risks… an update on the reality of the measure since its application.

A commendable measure to resolve a housing problem. "Faced with the difficulty of access to housing observed in the city of Montpellier",the implementation of rent control was decided to "limit the level of rents in sectors with high real estate pressure and prevent abusive rents"< /em>. In force since July 1, 2022, the system is not unanimous. A brief overview of the concrete application of this measure.

1. Security to prevent abuse

During its implementation, the mayor of Montpellier Michaël Delafosse justified this choice: "Rent control is an effective tool for fight against speculation: access to housing is an essential right."

Many tenants welcome this measure. Like Geoffrey (borrowed first name) this master’s student who arrived from Paris to continue his course. "I had to abandon my studies in Paris for financial reasons. There my owner  exceeded very much – 100 euros per month – rent control. He reimbursed me following a formal notice."

After this experience, the young man who does not live alone in a 33 m2 for a rent of 605 euros per month explains "even with CAF and a student grant on my side, it remains difficult to pay. Fortunately it is not legally possible for the owner to exceed because without this security, we would be strangled by the cost of housing."

Rents not to be exceeded

The stoppage The rent control framework determines a reference rent (excluding charges), a floor rent and a maximum rent. do not exceed.

The criteria are the geographical area (there are 5 in Montpellier), the number of rooms, l’ time of construction and whether the accommodation is furnished; or not.

For example, a studio in the crest of 25m2 cannot be rented separately. more than 542 euros per month, compared to 302 euros per month Euromedicine.

For an F4 of 80 m2, the monthly rent cannot exceed 976 euros in the Celleneuve district, and 1040 in the city center.< /p>

A simulator provides information.

2. An increase in black rent

Maxime, a young 23-year-old worker, doesn't have the same opinion. "It's such a hassle to find accommodation that when I ;rsquo;when visiting one, I suggest the lessor take it and add a premium. I happened to convince an owner for a studio by adding 100 euros to the black."

Even if the latter specifies : "It may seem brutal but when you come across good accommodation, I find that it’ It's good to see a price difference with some that aren't worth it."

3. Less investment from owners

At equivalent rent, why invest and stand out ? That’at least that’s what Josiane thinks. This lady of a certain age has been renting a small property in the historic center for decades. "I like to refurbish it, add a few accessories and modernize it over the years to make it pleasant. But if I can't make him pay the way I want and especially if the rent is the same as a crappy apartment, why bother?"

Same speech from Laurent: "I rented an apartment in the city center for 800 euros before work and before framing, I rent it now for 680 €, furnished, renovated." His apartment has a bedroom under the roof which he cannot count .

"If I had been informed before the work on this framework I clearly would not have carried it out. I don't see the owner's interest in investing to create accommodation that is superior to another when the only criterion retained is the surface area. I will therefore maintain the rental, but "as is"."

4. Serious owners helpless in the face of inflation

Magali is one of the people who thinks that the measure should be studied on a case-by-case basis. "Most owners are neither speculators nor slumlords", she wants to clarify.

Owner of her parents' house of 80 m2 in Montpellier with her mother who is the usufructuary of the property but who lives in a nursing home, she finds herself helpless in the face of rent control. "Ma mother must pay an amount of accommodation which remains very heavy compared to her retirement pension.& ;nbsp;The "pension" of my mother in nursing homes, it increases every year significantly", but on the other hand she cannot increase the income from her property.

5. Property tax, diagnosis…

Like Magali, some landlords can understand the regulatory measure "but on this account it would also be necessary to regulate the property tax and the remainder ? "

Gérald is devastated.“Between the work I have to do to constantly bring the accommodation up to standard, the property tax which keeps increasing and the rents which are limited, the apartment I rent costs me more than it brings me in. Last year, with problems with leaks and facades in the condominium, I had to pay more than 10,000 euros more. I don't know what to do anymore, and yet this little apartment was supposed to help me make ends meet and it's sinking me.

Many admit that they will eventually be forced to sell their property. “It will end up with the fact that there will no longer be small owners, but companies that will sweep the market, it's David against Goliath.”

The annulment of the measure rejected by the administrative court

The appeal filed by the national association for the defense of building owners in Montpellier in order to cancel the arrest The prefectural authority which determines rent control has been implemented. rejection by the administrative court a few days ago.

A surprising decision for Me Philippe Calafell in view of the conclusions of the public rapporteur. But the lawyer clarifies: "There will be a return match, I am beaten, not defeated", thus indicating that he plans to appeal.

The lawyer is confident about the rest of the procedure. "We must not forget that a good landlord wants to keep his tenant. If the rent is too expensive, he won't rent."

"A political fantasy"

"Today there is a shortage of housing and rent control is a fantasy of politicians to solve the problem ;me of shortage."

And to specify: "I am not for hunting down slumlords, I am for the rental license, but this rent control poses concern."

The measure is unfair according to him: "It’s not easy to be a lessor, there has a lot of costs, taxes, work… We must allow small owners to be able to rent so that they can keep the accommodation.".

And then “the capping cannot apply only to" some municipalities, where rent control is done everywhere or it is done nowhere."

6. The Airbnb solution…

And if this measure was unfavorable to tenants. Isabelle has just bought an apartment to renovate. "The cost of real estate being significant if I want to be able to find my way there and repay my loan, I cannot rent it bare unless I leave it in a state deplorable…" She is therefore considering renting it furnished or even short-term for tourists. "Not sure that the’ rent control has the desired effect."

Denis, who has always fought against rental through Airnbn, will finally take the plunge. "It’s sad, but by doing my calculations I& rsquo;earns more and even I don’t lose money. On the other hand, that will mean one less accommodation for a Montpellier resident…"

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