Does a property rented in cryptocurrency have to respect the rent control?

This is an uncommon rental that has recently come online. In the 16th arrondissement in Paris, a 60 m² apartment with a 13 m² terrace “completely refurbished» is for rent. His particuliarity? The rent is to be paid in cryptocurrency. The future tenant will have to pay 1 ether – the cryptocurrency linked to the ethereum blockchain – per month, as specified in the announcement published by the owner on Linked In (see below) and stick to this payment method and amount.The idea was to show that you can rent accommodation in cryptocurrencysays Stéphane Boukris, founder of Excelsior, a company specializing in digital recruitment, tech events and consulting on the metaverse for the CAC 40, for whom this is a first. About 10% of French people have cryptocurrencies“.

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Photo Credit: Screenshot via Linked In

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Like any rental in Paris, this 3-room rental, “for the crypto-rich“, is subject to the rent control – which must be displayed on the advertisements – “since it is a provision of public order“, specifies Me Romain Rossi-Landi, lawyer in real estate law. “No one can derogate from it in a rental contract, even if nothing prohibits renting accommodation in cryptocurrency“. Problem: the law does not provide for payment in cryptocurrency. Because ether fluctuates from day to day and corresponds, at the current price, to just under 2800 euros. Which is therefore equivalent, for a 60 m², to nearly 47 euros per m². A price significantly higher than the maximum 33 euros payable for a 3-room apartment, furnished, built at the beginning of the century and located in the La Muette district, as provided for by the prefectural decree of Île-de-France.

A course that fluctuates strongly

And all the more so since the owner has not planned to ask for additional rent as authorized by law. “I took 1 ether because this price is a reference and a lower price would have been less viraladmits Stéphane Boukris. But I’m willing to revise it down to correlate with the market and refund the overpayment if the cap is exceeded. But if we smooth the evolution of the rent over time, over 6 months for example, I’m not sure that the framework is not respected.»

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To comply with the legal cap, a price of 0.7 ether would be fairer. But as the price of ether can fluctuate up but also down, the future tenant can also be a winner. And the least we can say is that the variations are very strong. Between the end of November 2021 and the end of January 2022, the price of ether halved. Before climbing 34% in one month. More recently, it has followed opposite trends: between March 13 and April 3, 2022, the price soared by 382% before falling by around 14% in the following two weeks. “The lease will be drawn up in due form: it will specify that the rent will be paid only in ether and that its price fluctuates from day to day, and will mention the conversion into euros“says Stéphane Boukris.

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