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ELAN, a law to reform housing, planning and digital technology

The ELAN law, which has been developed from the ground up, aims to facilitate the construction of new homes and to protect the most vulnerable. It was definitively adopted by the Senate on 16 October 2018.
 

WHAT DOES THIS INVOLVE?


Build more, better quality and affordable homes

  • Simplify standards, in order to build more homes more quickly: "no new standards over the five-year term, except of course for safety standards" said Minister of State, Julien Denormandie.
     
  • Speed up procedures and tackle the abuse of appeal against building permits, reducing the duration of procedures from an average of 24 to 10 months. The aim is to improve the regulation of appeal procedures, to limit the time it takes for cases to be dealt with to 10 months where apartments blocks are concerned, and to increase the penalties imposed for the abuse of process. 30,000 building works are currently obstructed due to the abuse of appeal.
     
  • Facilitate the conversion of empty offices into homes: for disused offices to be renovated or converted into homes, a buildability bonus will be introduced, standards will be adapted to make conversions easier, and office owners will be encouraged to renovate them. By 2020, 500,000 m² of empty office space will be converted into homes.
Accessibility standards for new homes: 100% of homes will be adaptable
Today, 100% of new homes must be fully accessible to disabled people on completion of the building work, although they will not all be inhabited by disabled people. This means smaller living areas for everyone (since the kitchen and bathroom need to be bigger).

In the future, 100% of new homes will be adaptable, meaning largely accessible and having the potential to be made fully accessible with simple alterations, in order to meet the needs of people living with disability, but also with the loss of autonomy or ageing. 20% of homes will be accessible on completion of the building work.

Furthermore, 30,000 existing homes will be converted and made accessible every year with the help of increased funding from the French National Housing Association (ANAH).

 

Develop Social Housing

  • Reorganise the rent-controlled housing sector to build more social housing, by providing organisations with new tools to reorganise themselves. The 800 existing social housing associations will be grouped together to improve their management and their solidity, as well as their financial strength. Every département will retain at least one group of rent-controlled housing associations.
     
  • Review the situation of existing social housing tenants every three years, to offer them more suitable, alternative housing in cases where their needs may have changed.
     
  • Home ownership for tenants of rent-controlled housing will be made easier, with the sale of up to 40,000 housing units per year (less than 1% of the housing stock), up from 8,000 currently. This will make it easier for occupants to purchase property, will strengthen social diversity and will allow rent-controlled housing associations to invest in building new homes and to renovate their properties: each unit sold funds the construction of 2 to 3 new homes, or the renovation of 3 to 4 existing homes. Hence, 40,000 homes sold = 100,000 to 120,000 homes built.
     
  • Provide greater transparency in the allocation of social housing, by generalising the scoring system (transparent and objective) in large agglomerations. On this subject, Minister Julien Denormandie has stated: "we are going to make the selection criteria for social landlords transparent, clear and public".
     
  • Allocate at least 50% of social housing to eligible applicants with the highest incomes in urban-policy neighbourhoods, in order to foster social diversity. Symmetrically, allocate at least 25% of social housing to the lowest-income households in areas outside urban-policy neighbourhoods, to enable people to live elsewhere than in the most impoverished neighbourhoods. It will no longer be possible to reduce these two lower thresholds.

Meet the needs of every individual

  • Creation of a "mobility lease" to facilitate professional mobility (for tenants undertaking professional training, apprenticeships, internships or civic service volunteering): this is a rental agreement lasting between one and 10 months, which is non-renewable and does not require a security deposit (the VISALE guarantee for landlords).
     
  • Creation of VISALE, a free rental guarantee for all students, which means they no longer have to ask a third party to provide a deposit.
     
  • Facilitate the requisitioning of vacant premises to house homeless people. This entails reforming the requisition process in order to requisition premises that have been empty for more than one year for the purpose of providing accommodation, for a maximum period of two years. In Île-de-France, 3.5 million m² of office space lie empty today.
     
  • Authorities who wish to will be able to apply rent controls on a trial basis. The creation of private rent watchdogs will be generalised in areas which are under strain, to improve objective knowledge of rents.
     
  • Landlords will finally have a solution for renting out their vacant property for periods of only a few months. Previously, they had to be tied in for one or even several years.
     
  • Reinforce criminal and financial penalties for the abuse of tourist rentals: the point is not to question rentals by private individuals, but to combat the removal of thousands of homes from the market when the tourist rental is abusive and fails to comply with regulations (most often, this concerns cases where the rental period exceeds 120 nights a year or where accommodation which could be rented out remains empty). Fines for individual owners can range from 5,000 to 10,000 euros, with those for platforms ranging from 12,500 to 50,000 euros.

Improve living conditions

  • Combat slum landlords and the deterioration of cooperatively owned apartment buildings, in particular through the creation of a presumption of income (which allows tax proceedings to be undertaken), and the possibility for public authorities to intervene more quickly. Additional penalties to prohibit the acquisition of new property, for a period of up to 10 years, and the confiscation of property will be made systematic.
     
  • 5 billion euros to regenerate the run-down centres of mid-sized cities, by implementing territorial revitalisation operations.
     

WHY?


For several decades, our daily lives have been changing. We change jobs more often. Our relationship with work is shifting. We are or would like to be more mobile than we were in the past. Family models are more diverse (reconstituted and single-parent families, for example). Digital technology is omnipresent. We want to be more self-reliant and more responsible towards our loved ones and the planet.

France is changing, but a home remains a basic need. It is the place of privacy, rest, family and study. It can also constitute an asset or an investment.

Housing is often too expensive. Regulations, the cost of land, administrative procedures and legal actions: all of this can result in higher bills for French people. In certain areas, the supply of housing is lower than demand, which contributes to rising prices. Many mid-sized cities, on the other hand, suffer from abundant but ill-adapted housing and business closures. Too many people are still the victims of poor housing.

Developed from the ground up, the ELAN bill provides a global response to these concrete issues.

It has two objectives:

  • Open up and offer new opportunities: facilitate the building process while ensuring all stakeholders are responsible for the objective to be achieved, in order to construct and renovate more buildings.
     
  • Protect and give more to those who have less: strengthen the social housing model, promote mobility in social housing and make allocations more transparent, combat substandard housing, but also create new forms of solidarity and reduce the territorial divide.

ACTION TAKEN

 

16 October 2018: the ELAN bill is definitively adopted by the Senate.

12 June 2018: the bill is adopted on first reading at the National Assembly.

30 May 2018: examination during a public session at the National Assembly.

4 April 2018: introduction of the ELAN bill during the Council of Ministers by the Minister of Territorial Cohesion, Jacques Mézard, and Minister of State, Julien Denormandie.

20 September 2017: presentation of the Housing Strategy.

July 2017: consultation with housing, construction and planning stakeholders to identify needs and proposals. The consultation produced over 1,200 proposals. It ended on 10 September 2017.