Landlords in 3 major cities are calling for an end to regulated rents
Lyon, Bordeaux and Montpellier are the last 3 major cities to regulate rents. Barely put in place, the device, intended to stem the surge in rents, especially for small areas (studios and 2-room apartments), is far from unanimous. In 2017, it had been canceled by Justice, in Paris and Lille, before being relaunched by the government a year later. It was the National Union of Owners (UNPI), in charge at the time, which had also obtained its partial cancellation in Paris.
The federation has given the cover for Lyon, Bordeaux and Montpellier where it claims the outright cancellation of therent control. To do this, the UNPI, which considers that the measure did not produce the expected effects, seized the Council of State. “Rents for small areas have not increased, contrary to that of large surfaces asserts to Figaro Sylvain Grataloup, president of the UNPI Lyon, for whom rent control is “a measurement of the purchasing power of tenants, supported by landlords“. Like most professionalsthe UNPI denounces a measure “counterproductive” who go, “coupled with the ban on renting energy-intensive housing», «dry up the rental market“.
Upcoming legal action for Paris
The criteria retained by the decree of 2021 which sets the scope of the rent control, are the subject of a showdown between the public rapporteur and the UNPI, which do not have the same analysis of the Lyon market but also in Bordeaux and Montpellier. In order for the device to be put in place, a gap “important“must be noted between the average rent in the private rental stock and that of the social rental stock, a median rent “pupil» or a «weak» rate of housing starts compared to existing housing over the last 5 years. Imprecise qualifiers that leave room for subjective interpretations. The public rapporteur considers that these conditions are met in these 3 large cities and constitute a “abnormal situation on the rental market“. An opinion contested by the UNPI.
Contacted by Le Figaro, the Minister of Housing takes, unsurprisingly, the side of the public rapporteur. His opinion is “Good” And “confirms the appropriateness and legal stability of rent controls in areas in tension», estimates Olivier Klein who qualifies this experimentation as «successful“. It remains to be seen what the judges of the Council of State will think of it, who will have to decide this dispute, the answer being expected within 3 to 4 weeks. In the meantime, the protest is also rising in Paris. But for another reason.
The UNPI having already demanded the cancellation of the device in the capital, it still has another card to play: the methodology. For each district, the prefect sets a median rent (known as the “reference rent”), a maximum rent (reference rent increased by 20%) and a minimum rent (reference rent reduced by 30%). “We found that the rent which is supposed to represent the market, is not the reference rent but the reference rent plus», denounces Frédéric Pelissolo, president of the UNPI Paris who denounces a «deceptionfrom the Ministry of Housing and is considering taking the case to the European Court. In other words, the maximum rent that a landlord can charge is therefore 20% lower than the reality.