The outdoor accommodation industry: a legal decoding
In the space of just a few years, the outdoor accommodation industry has gone from being a simple, affordable lodging solution to a complete holiday destination, to the extent that its image has been totally transformed. This is all the more obvious given that this transformation has been accompanied by a significant move upmarket, sometimes even into the luxury segment.
But what does this mean?
What are outdoor accommodations?
The notion of ” outdoor accommodations ” corresponds to a generic definition which is not legally defined, since it does not appear as such in the classification of accommodations in the French Tourism Code.
On the other hand, various texts and articles refer to this notion to designate camping and caravanning sites, as well as residential leisure parks, which are themselves classified in the Code du Tourisme.
However, the link between this type of accommodation and the hotel industry is not obvious.
And yet, in the light of recent developments, this link appears quite coherent.
Originally, the traditional activity of campsites and caravan parks was to rent out pitches for tents or caravans. Today, however, campsites, caravan parks and residential leisure parks very often offer the rental of non-permanent accommodation (mobile leisure homes or even light leisure dwellings), and some even provide the ancillary services usually found in hotel contracts (supply of bed linen, towels, etc.), so that they have come to resemble hotels.
The use of the expression ” outdoor accommodation ” is the perfect translation today of this evolution in the sector’s practices.
Now that the term ” outdoor accommodation ” has taken on a practical meaning, it is essential to examine the regulations it covers.
To do this, we need to look at the regulations specific to each facility (part 1), as well as the resulting types of accommodation (part 2), in order to determine their legal status.
I – Legal status of open-air hotels in terms of accommodation structures
1 – Campsites and caravan parks :
As specified in article D 331-1-1 of the French Tourism Code, camping and caravanning sites are intended to accommodate :
– Mobile leisure homes and light leisure homes (HLL).
They are made up of bare pitches or pitches equipped with one of these installations, as well as shared facilities. They are characterized by the permanent or seasonal nature of their operation, which consists in welcoming customers who do not intend to make their home there.
Campsites may be classified. If classified, article D. 332-1-1 of the French Tourism Code stipulates that the campsite must bear the label :
– Tourism” if more than half the pitches are for overnight, weekly or monthly rental.
– Leisure” if more than half the number of pitches are intended for rental for more than one month.
Most of the rules governing the opening and development of these sites are set out in the French Urban Planning Code.
2 – Residential leisure parks:
Residential leisure parks are sites specially designed to accommodate mainly light leisure dwellings (HLL). As specified in article D. 333-3 of the French Tourism Code, they are subject to town-planning, landscape integration, development, equipment and operating standards.
These are pitches, either bare or equipped with facilities (HLL, mobile leisure homes or caravans), intended for rental for a period of up to one month, and with shared facilities for customers who do not take up residence there.
Residential leisure parks may be classified.
There are two categories of residential leisure parks, depending on how they are operated:
– Operation through the sale of pitches: pitches are sold to private individuals, who can then set up an HLL (e.g. chalet, bungalow).
This type of park is not regulated by the Tourism Code.
– Operation through the rental of pitches “under a hotel regime”, according to the expression used in article D 333-4 of the French Tourism Code: in this case, the pitches are intended for rental to private individuals, who can install :
- Mobile leisure homes (mobile homes)
A residential leisure park can only be run as a hotel if a single individual or legal entity owns or enjoys the site, and if it is operated by a single individual or legal entity.
This type of park is governed by the French Tourism Code.
II – Legal status of open-air hotels in terms of accommodation methods
Articles R. 111-32 to R. 111-46 of the French Urban Planning Code define 4 categories of accommodation that may be set up in camping and caravanning sites or in residential leisure parks, and also specify the respective conditions for setting up these types of accommodation:
– Tents: articles R 111-32 to R 111-35 of the Code de l’urbanisme (French urban planning code) cover camping, most of which takes place in tents;
– Caravans: article R 111-47 of the French Urban Planning Code defines caravans as inhabitable land vehicles intended for temporary or seasonal occupation for leisure purposes, which retain permanent means of mobility enabling them to move by themselves or to be moved by traction. This definition includes motor homes;
– Mobile leisure homes (mobile-homes): article R 111-41 of the French Urban Planning Code specifies that these are habitable land vehicles intended for temporary or seasonal occupation for leisure purposes, which retain means of mobility enabling them to be moved by traction, but which the Highway Code prohibits from being driven. These can be installed in residential leisure parks, or in classified campsites;
– Light leisure dwellings (HLL): article R 111-37 of the French Urban Planning Code defines these as dismountable or transportable constructions, intended for temporary or seasonal occupation for leisure purposes, which can be set up in residential leisure parks specially designed for this purpose, or in campsites.
In any case, if you would like to obtain a legal opinion specific to your case or obtain further information on the legal regime applicable to your project (camping or residential leisure park), the obligations to which the open-air hotel industry exposes you and the legal avenues to which you may be entitled in this field to optimize your activity, notably through a classification or other means, our lawyers are at your disposal to answer all your questions and advise you.
Our meetings can be held face-to-face or by videoconference. You can book an appointment directly online at www.agn-avocats.com.
AGN AVOCATS – Tourism Department
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