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The official classification rating system in France: a complete guide

In France, just like there is a rating system for hotels, there is also one for rental chalets. Based on a list of criteria, inspectors will award your chalet a star rating from 1-5.

So, is worth doing? We teamed up with David Ducoin, who represents the classification board 2 B & G Qualité to answer the following questions:

  • What is the classification system in France?
  • Why is there a classification system in place?
  • What are the advantages of obtaining an official classification?
  • What’s the process?

Read on for the complete guide…

What is the official classification rating system in France?

The official classification is a voluntary process for the owner of the holiday rental property and is an opportunity to optimise rentals. However, it is by no means compulsory.

The classification awards a star rating from 1* to 5*. To achieve a star rating, you must meet a certain amount of the 130 criteria, which are categorised into 3 groups:

  • Equipment – 50% of the points
  • Services – 30% of the points
  • Sustainability – 20% of the points

How does the rating system work?

The classification is based on a point system, with each requirement assigned a number of points. Some conditions are “mandatory”, and others are “optional” or “à la carte”.

To achieve a certain rating, you must score a number of “compulsory” points and a number of “optional” points for the desired category.

A certain number of prerequisites apply to all properties regarding quality and standards.

The rating process is a standard nationwide procedure, which applies to all types of properties. For example, the criteria are the same for a villa in the south of France, a luxury chalet in the Alps or an apartment in the centre of Paris.

Why is there an official classification in place?

There are various advantages to getting an official classification for your rental property, which we’ll cover later in this post. But, why does the official classification exist?

In short, it provides a clear indication of the standards of the property for guests when they are booking:

  • 1 star: simple but adequate accommodation
  • 2 stars: comfortable accommodation
  • 3 stars: very comfortable accommodation
  • 4 stars: very comfortable, high-quality accommodation
  • 5 stars: very high standard accommodation in a luxurious setting

What are the advantages of obtaining an official classification?

A rated chalet is officially recognised and awarded a score in line with national standards.

For example, two properties could be the same standard and offer the same facilities, but the property with an official classification will benefit from more commercial and financial advantages such as…

1. Tax deduction

The income from a classified furnished tourist accommodation benefits from a flat-rate deduction of 71% (instead of 50%) if it does not exceed 23,000€ excluding tax (based on the 2022 threshold) for the non-professional furnished accommodation owner.

If an owner opts for the micro-enterprise regime, the turnover ceiling is increased to 170,000€ per year instead of 70,000€ for unclassified furnished accommodation. Social security charges are reduced to 6% instead of 12.8% and the tourist tax is fixed as opposed to a percentage of the amount of the stay.

2. Tourist tax 

Tourist tax or “taxe de séjour” is determined by the local Mairie (town council) and is charged per adult per night. (Some online travel agents will charge for children as well).

It is important to note that the higher the star rating of a property, the higher the taxe de séjour. However, a non-rated property will automatically pay the highest rate of taxe de séjour regardless.

Find out how much taxe de séjour you need to pay here.

3. Marketing benefits

Obtaining a classification property increases trust from holidaymakers, as your property is certified with Atout France and listed on the local Tourist Office websites.

The official classification is a national reference that is clear and easily identifiable by guests who can quickly and clearly understand the level of equipment and comfort. It also permits owners to affix an official sign issued from the Ministry of Tourism, which represents official standard quality.

What is the process for obtaining an official classification?

Based on 2 B & G Qualité’s process, here’s what you can expect…

  1. The owner or ‘mandataire’ sends the representative the completed ‘demande de classement’ (a document containing essential information such as the property’s address, owner’s contact details, capacity, etc),
  2. The owner chooses the star rating that fits the property best, based on the ‘referentiel’ (a document outlining the minimum requirements for each star rating),
  3. Once completed, the representative issues a contract,
  4. Once the contract is signed and returned, a visit date is scheduled.
  5. The visit takes place at the property (never online), the chalet can be closed/unoccupied and beds do not have to be made for the visit,
  6. In many cases, the star rating can be confirmed at the end of the visit, however, if there are missing elements, then the owner/‘mandataire’ has three weeks to meet the standards,
  7. In the month following the inspection of the property rental, the inspection agent sends the owner (or his representative) a visit certificate which includes 3 documents, the models of which can be downloaded from the website
    • The inspection report
    • The inspection grid duly completed by the agent,
    • A proposal for a classification decision.
  8. The owner (or his representative) has fifteen days to refuse the classification proposal for classification. Once this period has elapsed, the classification is acquired,
  9. The ‘dossier‘ (application file) is then sent to 2 B & G Qualité, who registers the classification with the local authority,
  10. The owner then receives the certificate of classification and a letter from the director of 2 B & G Qualité, which they can be used as evidence with the Taxe de Séjour collection platform, rental platform, etc.
  11. Once received, the classification is valid for five years.

Extra considerations

Do note, if you’re just starting up your rental business, it’s a good idea to start making arrangements for the classification as early as possible. This allows you to make amendments before welcoming your first guests.

You need to rebook a visit after 5 years, where an inspector such as David from 2 B & G Qualité would be able to advise how to transform your 4-star into a 5-star property. If you purchase a property with an official classification, you will still need to restart the process as the new owner.

If you want to find out more about the star rating system in France, then visit 2 B & G Qualité or contact our OVO Network experts to organise obtaining an official classification for your property rental business. You can also download Atout France’s full guide (French only) here.

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