It is not always easy for someone looking for a place to stay on vacation to find their way through the thousands of listings on reservation platforms such as Booking, Airbnb or Abritel and to judge the quality of the accommodations based on simple photos. In the same way, for property owners, it is not easy to distinguish themselves from other seasonal rentals. This is why there is a label especially dedicated to furnished holiday apartments.
In this article, we will first see what it consists of, how it benefits both owners and tenants and what steps need to be taken to obtain this certification.
What is the “Meublé de tourisme” label?
The “Meublé de tourisme” classification
In the same way that hotels, campsites or vacation complexes can display a number of stars on a plaque (called a panonceau), this is also the case for furnished apartments intended to be rented. The number of stars (from 1 to 5) depends on a number of criteria, evaluated by a professional. The label is official and valid for a period of 5 years, after which the apartment must be re-evaluated by an approved organization (see article L324-1 of the Tourism Code).
What is the difference between a “meublé de tourisme” and a holiday rental?
A seasonal rental is an apartment whose function (main or not) is to welcome tourists. The designation “Meublé de tourisme” (holiday furnished rental) is a label certifying its quality, like the Label Rouge in agriculture or the Monument Historique label for architecture. Thus, all “meublés de tourisme” are holiday rentals, but the reverse is not true.
Theoretically speaking, all short-term rentals can qualify for this label, whether it is a primary residence (limited to 120 days of rental per year) or a commercial property used as hotel accommodation (which can be rented for an unlimited number of days but requires certain conditions, see our page on seasonal rentals in Paris).
What are the advantages of the “Meublé de tourisme” classification?
Advantages for the owners
In terms of attractiveness of the property, the label offers apartments a higher visibility on booking platforms as well as on the websites of agencies such as My Apartment in Paris. It is also a simple way for the Internet user, whether French or foreign, to understand what type of accommodation it is, as the classification is common to all hotel accommodation in France.
From a tax point of view, the advantage is far from negligible. Indeed, without this classification, it is impossible to declare the annual rental income under the micro-BIC regime (Industrial and Commercial Profits) if it is higher than 72,600 € (turnover before tax). On the other hand, in the case of a classified furnished tourist accommodation, it is possible to declare in micro-BIC all the annual incomes lower than 176,200 € (source: impots.gouv.fr). In addition, the flat-rate deduction is no longer 50% but 71%. Thus, only 29% of the income related to the rental will be subject to tax.
Advantages for the tenants
In addition to the guarantee of being in an accommodation comparable to a hotel of the same range, it is also financially advantageous for a tenant to be in a classified furnished accommodation. Indeed, the tourist tax, which is compulsory for all tenants over 18 years old, is equal to 5% of the price per night (with a limit of 5 € per night in Paris) for unclassified accommodations. As classified furnished tourist accommodation are subject to the same rules as hotels of the same standing, the associated tourist tax ranges from 1 € per night for a 1-star apartment to 3.75 € per night for a 5-star apartment. Below is a table with an example of a two bedroom apartment rented by 4 adults for 3 nights at 300 € per night.
|Unclassified apartment||« Meublé de tourisme » 3* apartment|
|Price of nights||900 €||900 €|
|Tourist tax per night per person||5 €||1,88 €|
|Total tourist taxes||60 €||22.56 €|
|Total price||960 €||922,56 €|
In addition, it is also possible for tenants to use “Chèques vacances” (vacation vouchers) to pay for their stay, which is not the case if the apartment is not classified.
How to obtain the Meublé de tourisme label?
Who do I contact to have an apartment classified?
The government agency in charge of the classification of hotel accommodations is called Atout France. It is under its responsibility that the stars corresponding to the standing of hotels, campsites and therefore furnished tourist accommodation are awarded.
However, it is not Atout France that is responsible for inspecting the apartments applying for this certification. Specialized organizations, all accredited by the COFRAC (French Accreditation Committee), are in charge of carrying out the visits and classifying the apartments according to predefined criteria. It is therefore these organizations that you should contact to have your apartment classified.
The duration of the visit is between 1 hour and 3 hours depending on the size of the apartment. As for the price of the certification, it depends on the organizations and the surface of the apartment but it is generally included between 150 and 250 €, a negligible price compared to the colossal benefits resulting from this classification.
The result of the visit is given within 30 days and can be refused by the owner of the apartment within 15 days of receiving the classification (otherwise, the classification is confirmed and not contestable).
What are the criteria for classification?
The list of criteria is constantly evolving. It grew from 112 criteria in 2010 to 133 criteria in the latest decree of November 24, 2021, which will be implemented on February 1, 2022. This list can be found on the Atout France website. It includes three main categories:
- Equipment and facilities
- Customer services
- Accessibility and sustainable development
Among all the criteria, some are mandatory, without which the classification is impossible. The habitable surface, in particular, is one of the major elements of this list. Others are optional. The table below provides a non-exhaustive list of these different criteria.
|Equipment and facilities||Customer services||Accessibility and sustainable development|
|Mandatory criteria||Presence of a table and seats corresponding to the capacity of the accommodation|
Presence of a coffee table (except studios)
Household utensils appropriate to the accommodation
|Provision of local and tourist information brochures in French and in at least one foreign language|
Presence of cleaning products
Bed linen and towels systematically proposed by the hirer
|Accessibility information on communication materials|
Implementation of a measure to reduce energy consumption
Provision of at least two environmentally friendly cleaning products
|Optional criteria||Presence of a free electrical outlet located near the bed|
Ceramic, induction or gas stove
Additional tableware: 1 champagne glass, 1 aperitif glass per person (mandatory for 4 stars or more)
|Welcome gift on arrival (mandatory for 4 stars and above)|
Provision of a welcome booklet (mandatory for 3 stars and above)
Admission of pets
|Width of all doors adapted|
Existence of a composter
Presence of ecological products in the bathroom
Of course, it is impossible to satisfy all of the criteria, so you should prioritize the mandatory criteria and those which seem to be the most important. You will not lose a star if there is no composter or garden furniture in your apartment.
The “Meublé de tourisme” certification thus requires owners to put their hand in their pocket, not only for the cost of the classification itself but especially for what is required to respect the number of stars targeted. But the benefits, as we have seen, largely offset this investment, and the additional 21% tax allowance may be a sufficient reason to motivate this initiative. Also, the superior attractiveness of the apartment following the obtaining of the certificate is not to be neglected.
This classification is also beneficial for the guests who see their tourist tax considerably reduced. The additional legibility offered by the label also makes the rental process more serene.