Renting a home in France

Here are our top tips for renting property in France

Renting a home in France

Renting a home long term in France can be an excellent idea if you are not yet 100% committed to buying there but want to test the waters. Here are our top tips for renting property in France:

 

  1. There is a wide choice of rentals in most areas and indeed more people rent on a permanent basis in cities such as Paris, Toulouse and Lyon than buy them. It is more common in France overall to rent than buy in large cities such as these.
     
  2. France is a huge country and rental costs vary greatly. A small unfurnished apartment in Paris, for example, could cost around €1,000 per calendar month. Other cities will have decent apartments for around €800 per calendar month and naturally, the further away you are from the centre of any city, the cheaper the rent will be.
     
  3. Renting in more rural areas will be cheaper again but you will find a big difference in prices during the summer months. For example, a large “maison de maître” or family home in rural France with outside space and a swimming pool may be as much as €3,000 during July and August but less than half this amount during the winter months.
     
  4. Both landlords and tenants have certain obligations. The landlord must provide a property of decent quality with proper drainage, utility services and equipment. When you are looking for a place to rent, take care to look at what is included. For example, a “cuisine amenagee” means that all kitchen equipment such as cooker/fridge freezer/dishwasher will be included. You should also check whether TV/internet is provided, as well as bed linen. These items should be clearly marked in the rental contract. Unfurnished properties will normally just include floor coverings and window treatments.
     
  5. Tenants must have insurance in place before signing the contract and are liable for the “taxe d’habitation” which is a local housing tax. This is due on January 1st each year, and is there to cover such things as street cleaning, lighting and local services. Tenants must also pay the rent on the agreed dates and arrange for payment of utility charges, and must sign to take full responsibility for taking care of the property and paying for any breakages or damage. Subletting is not normally permitted without the landlord’s permission.
     
  6. On applying for a rental lease you will usually need to supply proof of income and possibly a guarantor to stand as a surety. Since February 2008, the amount of refundable deposit has been reduced from two months to one month’s rent which is paid up front on signing the lease, along with the first month’s rent. At the end of the tenancy, the landlord has up to two months to refund the deposit and may of course deduct anything for repairs.
     
  7. Rent is normally reviewed annually and this should be set out in the tenancy agreement. For a rental term of one year or more, the landlord may change the terms of the rental but must give three months’ notice of this. The tenant however need only give one month’s notice of any change.
     
  8. Furnished properties should include basic furniture and kitchen appliances.
     
  9. It is usually advisable to rent through a letting agency who will offer you some legal protection should anything go wrong, and draw up a tenancy agreement which must be adhered to. There are plenty of rental agencies across the country. Just do a Google search.
     
  10. Renting through a year in France will give you a very good idea of life in France, since many rural areas have a very different atmosphere in the winter and you need to work out if living there all year round is really going to suit you. Another option could be to do 2 or 3 rentals of, say, 3 months each in different parts of France. There are some excellent properties around in most regions and the rental market works very well in France.

Further reading for Buying In France

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Viewing Guide

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Legal Matters

Buying a property in France has very different legal requirements to the UK. 

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Hidden Costs

Spending tens and even hundreds of thousands of pounds on a property in France is a HUGE decision.
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Currency Zone

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