You have until 1st July to declare your gîte or chambre d’hôte to your local mairie.
This new requirement is the result of a change in the law passed in 2009, which now means that anyone renting out a ‘meublé de tourisme’ is required to declare it to the local mairie.
The definition of a meublé de tourisme is contained in the Code of Tourism Article D. 324-1:
‘Le meublé de tourisme est une villa, appartement ou studio meublé, à l'usage exclusif du locataire, offert en location à une clientèle de passage qui y effectue un séjour caractérisé par une location à la journée, à la semaine ou au mois et qui n'y élit pas domicile.’
Your meublé de tourisme need carry no specific label or other accreditation, such as classification by the prefecture or affiliation to the Gîtes de France; if you let out self-contained property on a seasonal basis, then you are required to notify your local council.
However, you do not need to register if you merely rent out rooms in your house. Only those properties for the exclusive use of guests need be registered, although a separate gîte or flat in the grounds or property of your home would come within the framework of the new law.
Neither do you need to make the declaration if you let out on an annual basis to a tenant for whom it is their home.
The purpose of the registration is not to control the operation of your premises, but merely to provide the council with information on the number of properties and rooms in the commune available for tourists.
The law was passed as part of a package of measures designed to develop tourism in France.
The declaration you make must state the identity and address of the owner, the address of the property, the number of rooms, the number of bedspaces and the (estimated) letting periods.
Any subsequent change in this information should also be notified to the council.
There is a specific form (Cerfa N° 14004*01) for you to complete, which you can obtain from your mairie. You would be best advised to send the information by recorded delivery or deliver by hand, in order that you can obtain a formal acknowledgement of receipt of the information.
There is a fine of around €500 if you fail to declare, although we very much doubt that the authorities are going to be particularly draconian in their enforcement procedures!
Some of you who know about this new regulation have contacted us querying why registration should be necessary when you are already registered with your local Chambre de Commerce.
This registration requirement has nothing to do with the process of business registration; whether or not you are registered as a business, you are required to notify your gite or chambre d’hôte to the mairie.
For many owners of gîtes and chambres d’hôtes it will not be a major change, as savvy owners already let their local council know of their existence as a means of trying to attract new customers.
Of course, the tax and public health inspectors will have access to this information (which will be publically available), so it is possible to read into these new requirements a means through which your activities may be more closely monitored!