One of the biggest choices during an international move is deciding where to live in France. Many expats choose to rent in France, and there is a thriving rental market in most French regions, particularly larger cities. There are equally many options when buying a house in France for recently arrived international families.
When renting a property in France, classifieds websites like Le Bon Coin and Fusac are useful for finding listed properties, across some of the best places to live in France. Although most people arriving for the first time prefer to use a Rental Agency for long term rentals in France to help navigate the paperwork in a foreign language and simplify communication with their landlord if they do not speak French.
Short term leases when renting a property in France are unusual, with most tenants taking on 2-3 year leases (except students). For long term rentals in France, the standard length of notice is 3 months (unless the tenant has been made redundant or is facing other unfortunate circumstances, when this can be reduced to 1 month). Furnished apartments are often more flexible, whereas unfurnished properties tend to have longer tenancy periods and strict rules protecting tenants. The government have also recently introduced measures limiting rent increases during the renewal of a tenancy contract with an existing tenant, which may be important to consider when deciding whether to buy or rent in France.
The landlord has the right to ask for proof of income and a guarantor may be required, particularly if the tenant is a student. While renting a property in France, the tenant is legally responsible for arranging comprehensive home insurance and will usually be asked to show their certificate when signing the lease. Tenants are liable to pay their own water and energy costs as well as a Taxe d’Habitation (comparable to Council Tax in the Uk).
Buying a house in France is a fairly straightforward legal process, though it can be relatively slow, with higher legal fees than in the Uk and some neighbouring European countries. The process begins with making an offer, usually through an agence immobilier then (if accepted), singing a purchase agreement (compromis de vente). This secures the deal and is final and legally binding following a 7-day cooling off period. The buyer pays around a 10% deposit, and the Notaire investigates any legal or financial issues, which usually takes around 3 months or longer. During this period, a completion date, when the deed of sale (acte de vente) can be signed, will be set. For more information on taxes and fees when buying a house in France, Expatica have put together a useful guide when considering where do you live in france.
For more useful information on moving to France, including the cost of living, healthcare, education and more, visit our step-by-step relocation guide at MumAbroad.com.