The Senate adopted on Tuesday several measures to regulate the furnished tourist market such as Airbnb, a transpartisan initiative to restore power to mayors, tackle a criticized tax loophole and partially respond to the housing crisis. The bill proposed by deputies Annaïg Le Meur (Renaissance) and Iñaki Echaniz (Socialist Party), already adopted by the National Assembly, received a unanimous welcome in the upper house, even in the ranks of the majority right.

However, the Republicans (LR) were very widely opposed to it in the National Assembly, invoking in particular the defense of “small owners”. But their fellow senators have toned down certain measures, at least enough for a consensus to emerge in the “territory chamber”. With the shared objective of giving local elected officials the keys to regulate the proliferation of furnished tourist accommodation, sometimes accused of harming long-term rentals. “It is our responsibility to allow the French to find accommodation in the most tense, most touristy areas,” argued the Minister of Housing, Guillaume Kasbarian, who wishes to “restore equity.”

The most emblematic measure is fiscal: the Assembly text proposes to reduce the rate of reduction on income from rentals of furnished tourist accommodation to 30%, compared to 71% or 50% currently. Many elected officials, particularly by the sea or in large cities, are indeed alarmed by the shortage of housing in their territories and are targeting the explosion in the number of Airbnbs, favored by very advantageous taxation.

More reluctant, the Senate slightly attenuated the measure in committee at the initiative of the right, maintaining a 50% reduction for classified furnished accommodation only, to “maintain an incentive for the classification” of these tourist accommodations. But senators from all sides will try in the evening to go further through various amendments. “In a period of serious housing crisis, there is no justification for retaining this tax niche,” insists the communist Ian Brossat, former deputy for Housing at Paris town hall. The executive remained vague on this point on Tuesday, with Guillaume Kasbarian contenting himself with estimating that “the status quo is not satisfactory”, without taking a clear position.

For its part, Airbnb said it was open to tax changes but called on senators “to better target these measures to specifically attack speculation,” said Clément Eulry, director of Airbnb France. The platform’s demands were also heard on a key article: at the initiative of the right, the Senate removed the possibility for mayors to reduce from 120 to 90 days per year the maximum duration during which a residence main can be rented. “No offense to some, property rights apply in France. 120 days is the possibility for some to make ends meet,” insisted Senator LR Anne Chain-Larché.

If the minister said he was “divided” on the subject, the left regretted a “step back”. “We will remember that the Senate does not trust mayors,” mocked socialist Rémi Féraud. On the right, one voice was dissonant: that of Basque senator Max Brisson (LR). “I wonder what a primary residence is when it is rented for four months a year,” he protested. The senators also extended the deadline given to owners of furnished tourist accommodation to comply with energy decency requirements: the energy label classified D will only be necessary in 2034, while the National Assembly had for its part pleaded for a deadline by 2029.

The Senate also approved the generalization of a registration number assigned to any rental of furnished tourist accommodation, useful to ensure better control of these accommodations in a territory. Despite the very broad support of the Senate, several parliamentarians have warned about the restricted scope of the text. “The rise of furnished tourist accommodation is far from summarizing the extent of the imbalance in the current rental market,” warned LR rapporteur Sylviane Noël, calling for “global reflection” which should continue during the examination of the draft housing law from June 17 in the Senate.