Many expats choose to rent in France, and there is a thriving rental market in most French regions, particularly larger cities.
Classifieds websites like Le Bon Coinand Fusac are useful for finding listed properties, although most people moving to France for the first time prefer to use a Rental Agency to help navigate the paperwork in a foreign language and simplify communication with their landlord if they do not speak French.
Short term leases for rental accommodation in France are unusual, with most tenants taking on 2-3 year leases (except students). 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.
The landlord has the right to ask for proof of income and a guarantor may be required, particularly if the tenant is a student. In France the tenant is legally responsible for arranging comprehensive home insurance and will usually be asked to show the certificate when signing the lease. Tenants are liable to pay their own water and energy costs as well as a Tax d’Habitation (comparable to Council Tax in the Uk).
Buying property 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, 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, Expatica have put together a useful guide.
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.
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