lockboxes
Paris [Unsplash]

French cities pursue crackdown on rental lockboxes

France: French cities are intensifying a crackdown on key lockboxes that are often associated with short-term rentals in urban areas.

Lille, Nice, Saint-Malo and Annecy previously sought to remove lockboxes and now Paris is following suit in an effort to limit the spread of short-term rental listings in the capital.

The move is being accelerated ahead of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer, when around 16 million people are expected to visit the wider Paris region.

A vote is scheduled to take place on the future of lockboxes in Paris, and if passed, owners face the potential prospect of having to remove them as early as next month, according to The Times.

Key lockboxes, which are typically either screwed or securely fixed to walls or doors to properties, can be used to gain access to short-term rentals independently via a numeric code, eliminating the need for someone to hand over keys in person.

Paris senator Ian Brossat wrote on X [formerly Twitter]: “These boxes, which look like big padlocks, are damaging the street furniture, particularly in the Montmartre district. Some owners are evading the ban…[the boxes] appear here and there, on barriers along the pavements, on fences, on bicycle racks, on the arches of gutters or hanging from lamp posts and road signs.”

While key lockboxes are not specifically prohibited in Paris just at the moment, Brossat wants to ban them from being seen in public or attached to any street furniture. If the ban is approved, municipal police officers could be granted the authority to place a dated sticker on “illegal” lockboxes and request that the owners remove them with immediate effect through a formal letter.

Moreover, a ban could accelerate the adoption of digital smart locks by owners that enable guests to unlock / lock doors via a smartphone app as and when they move in and out of a property.

In November, the French Senate also approved measures to implement tougher taxation on short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb in order to address a perceived “distortion of competition” compared to the country’s hotel sector.

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