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How to obtain the status ‘meublé de tourisme’?

Studio in the city center or villa by the sea? Apartment or house? Regardless of the type of property you offer, ‘location de tourisme’ to transients is a concept that is all the rage.

In large cities and tourist areas, renting out on a seasonal basis can prove to be very lucrative, especially with the advent of Airbnb, Abritel, Booking.com, that connect owners and travelers.

What are the conditions to obtain the classification in furnished tourist rental? What is the procedure to follow to classify my property?

In the following sections, we offer you an overview in order to guide you through this fast-growing rental method.

What is a “meublé de tourisme”?

The furnished tourist accommodation, also called short-term seasonal rental, is individual accommodation such as villas, apartments or furnished studios available for rental. However, it is necessary to distinguish the rental of a main residence from that of a secondary residence since the rules and obligations are not the same:

 Principal addressSecondary residence
Type of customerIf you meet the following 3 conditions, you can rent out your residence:
1. The rented accommodation is for the exclusive use of the tenant (you are not present during the rental)
2. The tenant lives there for a short time (daily, weekly or monthly rental)
3. The tenant does not make it his home (passing customers)
Type of equipmentTo be qualified as furnished, the accommodation must in particular include a minimum of equipment for tenants: Furniture: bed, sofa, table, chairs Household appliances: refrigerator, hotplates or gas stove Kitchen utensils: cutlery, plates, glasses   There are no rules that define exactly what should be in the home outside of this subsistence minimum. The idea is to provide travelers with the necessary equipment to enjoy the tourist accommodation in the best conditions. Know that if you make your profession of seasonal rental and that you provide three specific services (breakfast, cleaning of the premises during the stay and supply of household linen), you can claim the status of lodging. This activity, if carried out on a regular basis, then becomes commercial and needs to be registered in the Trade and Companies Register (RCS).    
Rental periodYou can rent your accommodation for a maximum period of 90 days per client. In some municipalities, there is a total rental period of the accommodation (or part of it) not to be exceeded per year (120 days per calendar year). In these municipalities, this period may be exceeded only for: Professional obligation For health reasons and in case of force majeure.  
Preliminary checkIf you are a tenant you: Need to obtain a written permission from your landlord. Do not charge your sub-tenant a rent higher than yours 
If the accommodation is part of a condominiumIt should be checked that the co-ownership regulations do not include an exclusively bourgeois housing clause. The presence of this clause prohibits any professional activity, in particular furnished tourist accommodation.

Where is the best location to ensure optimal profitability?

To rent your apartment on a seasonal basis, you need to take its geographic location into account. City, sea or mountain?

Sea– High occupancy rate during the summer – Possibility to enjoy your accommodation yourself if it is a second home– Limited rental period  
Mountain– High occupancy rate during the summer – Possibility to enjoy your accommodation yourself if it is a second home– Limited rental period, especially if it is at altitude – High heating costs in winter – Significant cost to purchase    
City– Possibility to rent it at any time during the year– If you don’t have a central location, the rents you could charge are often lower

In these 3 scenarios, renting your apartment on a seasonal basis should prove to be easy. Choose the option that suits you best, keeping in mind that the advantage of accommodation by the sea or in the mountains is that you can enjoy the property yourself (during off-peak seasons and after your investment has paid off).

Give preference to small surfaces: these are the ones that can be rented easily and most expensive (student clientele, short stays, etc.).

Classification for ‘meublé de tourisme’ 

The classification in “furnished tourist accommodation” is at your initiative. It indicates to the tenant the level of comfort and quality of service.

It is not mandatory rent out your property constantly. However, it offers real added value and constitutes a quality guarantee for your customers.

The organizations responsible for the classification of furnished tourist accommodation use a grid of 112 criteria around the following themes: “equipment, customer services, accessibility and sustainable development”.

The inspection is carried out on the basis of a declared visit. A point system is used, whereby a number of points are allocated to each criterion.

Some criteria are “mandatory”, others are “à la carte” (i.e. “optional”).

To be classified in a particular category, the furnished apartment must achieve a number of “compulsory” points and a number of “à la carte” points.

The combination of “mandatory” and “à la carte” points is designed to take into account the identity of each furnished apartment and its commercial positioning.

Classification categories

Number of starsClassificationCharacteristics of the property  Examples of requirements
*EconomyMinimal functional equipment, adapted to accommodate customers who are primarily looking for a price.  – State of cleanliness of installations and equipment; – Presence of openings in each living room, opaque blackouts, heating; – Leaflets and brochures with practical and tourist local information; – Baby equipment on request.
**MidrangeGood comfort– Some services offered
***TopVery comfortable, with quality fittings and offering several services and amenities.  – Provision of an internal telephone in the accommodation; – Color television installed; –  Washing machine; – Furniture coordinated or presenting an overall harmony; – Hair dryer; – Oven and microwave; – Dishwasher; – Private parking space; – Cleaning service and cleaning products on demand.
****High classSuperior comfort, with very good quality fittings and offering a range of services and facilities.– High Speed ​​Internet Access – DVD player – Electric tumble dryer – Full-length mirror – Freezer or freezer compartment  
*****Very high classExceptional comfort, equipped with excellent quality fittings and offering a multitude of high-end comfort services or equipment.– Flat screen TV with access to international or thematic channels; – Hi-fi chain; – Air conditioning or air-cooling system; – Personalized welcome on site  

Why apply for a classification ‘meublé de tourisme’?

The furnished tourist accommodation offers several advantages, including:

  • Tax advantages: you will pay less tax under a BIC regime: reduction of 71% instead of 50% for classified furnished accommodation (2010 Finance Law).
  • Possibility of joining the National Agency for Holiday Vouchers (ANCV) in order to be able to accept payment for the rental with holiday vouchers.
  • Commercial advantages: this status is an excellent guarantee of reliability and quality. Indeed, a third party provides its guarantee with this classification. This mark of recognition is a strong commercial asset that makes it possible to stand out from the competition and attract more new customers, particularly through the official ‘Meublé de tourisme’ logo and sign.
  • Increase profitability: leasing allows you to collect rents that can for example be used to pay your property tax, to repay part of your loan, etc.

Which agencies decide the ranking?

Since 2012, it is no longer the responsibility of the prefects to judge the classification of furnished tourist accommodation.

Thus, you can mandate either:

  • A body accredited by the French Accreditation Committee (COFRAC)
  • An organization approved by 2) of article L 324-1 of the tourism code.

Some Tourist Offices even offer a free pre-visit to advise you and help you obtain your ranking.

Procedures to follow concerning the classification of ‘meublé de tourisme’

1. You must contact one of the approved organizations.

2. On a date defined with the organization, an inspector comes to assess your accommodation. This visit lasts between 1 hour and 2 hours depending on the surface and the criteria to be validated.

3. At the end of the visit, the inspector does an initial assessment on the spot and tells you the level of stars you can obtain. In borderline cases to get one more star, it will help you identify possible improvements to raise the equipment of your home

4. After the visit, a period of 10 days can be granted if certain not validated criteria can be corrected quickly. You will then be able to send him proof of the addition, such as a purchase invoice and a photo of the missing item to validate a few additional points that you would lack to obtain the top star.

5. Within 30 days, you must receive the official classification decision and the inspection certificate which includes:

  • The inspection report certifying compliance with the classification table in the requested category;
  •  The control grid filled in by the evaluating organization;
  • A proposed classification decision for the category indicated in the inspection report.

Following this, you can refuse the classification proposal within two weeks; failing this, the classification is confirmed for a period of five years, at the end of which the owner must make a new request for classification if he wishes his accommodation to continue to benefit from a classification.

The document indicates the name of the owner, the address of the vacation rental property, the number of people the accommodation can accommodate, and the said classification. Each month, the classification organizations forward these decisions to the Departmental Tourism Organization.

6. Once the classification is official, you can start promoting your furnished tourist accommodation with the number of stars obtained.

Cost of the procedure

The control visit costs on average between 150 and 250 €, depending on the size of the property and the related travel costs.

able of classification costs according to the number of furnished apartments. Quotation on request for large quantities.

Number of ‘meublés’1234567etc.
Ranking amount150 €295 €435 €570 €700 €800 €900 €+100 €

Sanctions in the event of false advertising on the ranking

According to the decree n ° 67-128 of February 14, 1967: any person who will have provided false information on “the situation of the building, the consistency and the inventory of fixtures, the elements of comfort or the furnishings”, namely the classification among others, may be awarded a fine of 3,750 euros, or even 7,500 euros if there is a repeat offense.

Tourist tax

The furnished tourist declaration entails the collection of the tourist tax, set by the municipality, and only applicable in tourist towns.

The amount is indexed to the comfort level of your accommodation. Clearly, the more quality accommodation you offer (number of stars obtained), the higher the tourist tax will be.

If you rent your accommodation independently from the rental sites, you must collect it and donate it yourself.

If you use an Airbnb-type platform, the sites take care of everything: the traveler pays the tax directly to the platform and for you.

Seasonal rental: advertisement tips

Designing a good ad should not be overlooked. Indeed, this is the first thing that your potential tenant will look at when selecting your property on the platforms.

Here are some tips to optimize your chances of avoiding rental vacation:

Detail your advertisement– List as many points as possible: equipment available (furniture, appliances, linens, etc.), entry and exit times, cancellation conditions …
Do not lieDo not deceive the customer: Any lies may be reflected in the negative feedback you will receive
Set an acceptable price– Overvaluing your home may scare away customers, to undervalue it is to lose money. – Take the prices charged by your competitors (for equal accommodation) and play on the amounts to be more attractive. – Also offer discounts to appear in the top ads
Highlight your accommodationChoose photos that highlight your property: the right type of angle, light and framing.
Offer quality service– Be present to welcome your customers: no question of leaving the keys with the neighbor. Be there even to explain the intricacies of the accommodation. In addition, it is reassuring for both parties to be present at the time of departure: the tenant can return the keys to you without fear of putting them in the wrong mailbox and you can take the opportunity to check that nothing has been broken. – Small details matter: be smiling, available, give advice for good addresses. – If you cannot provide this type of service, call on a rental management service. – A good reception will have repercussions on good comments and therefore more reservations.

You get it: under the guise of following a few rules, seasonal rentals can prove to be very profitable.

However, this rate of return depends on other criteria such as the purchase price, the maximum amount of rents or even the charges that the seasonal rental generates.

Duration of the rental

There are three types of seasonal rental:

Per day– This trend is successful with the advent of platforms such as Airbnb. – This type of rental is generally done in large cities. – It is very practical but you must ensure the comings and goings of customers or use a professional rental management.
Weekly– Is done in large cities. – Travelers expect quality service close to that of hotels
Monthly or longer– Do not exceed the 90 or 120 days provided for by law. – Pay attention to the profile of travelers.

The duration of the rental has certain consequences for the lessor: for short periods, it is necessary to ensure the succession of tenants for long-term rentals. This implies that the accommodation is not your main residence or that you go on vacation during this period.

However, weekly rentals remain the best option in terms of rental duration / rental rates.

In conclusion, the owner of furnished accommodation can decide if he wants his property classified as furnished tourist accommodation in a category ranging from 1 to 5 stars. This practice is a guarantee of quality for potential clients, which allows the lessor to market it more easily at more attractive prices and to benefit from more advantageous taxation.

However, it is necessary to fulfill certain conditions and to follow a specific procedure in order to benefit from this status.

In short, the latter will be all the more advantageous if the geographical location of the property is in an attractive area and the good dynamism of your management.

French Tax Online is a tax consultancy firm specialized in foreigners investing and living in France.

A member of the Budiz Company Group, which is a French chartered accountant registered with the Order of French Chartered Accountants (OEC).

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