Renting property in France – (part one)

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Renting property in France – (part one)

For those who aren’t prepared to commit themselves to an overseas move by buying a property – or those who simply aren’t in a financial situation to buy – renting is often the best option.

As the issues regarding renting a property vary from country to country the Expat Hub has put together a handy rental guide for you, a breakdown of all the ins and outs of renting a property in France!

Choosing a Property

This can be the most time consuming aspect of the whole process, and it should be. Although renting a property might not be as much of a tie as buying it’s still important to take your time, do your research and personally check out potential areas and properties.

Location, size, condition, rental price, running costs, restrictions, added extras, length of rental contract – these are all things you’re going to have to take the time to consider. Before the search begins you might find it handy to make a list of all the things you need from a property, these are your essentials. You can then make a list of what you want from a property, these are bonuses. If you try to find a property which hits every point on both your lists your search will probably take a really long time. Find a property which has everything you need, but accept that it might not have everything you want as well!

Although there are obvious issues and risks attached to renting a property without viewing it, some people have little other choice. If you aren’t able to visit France, and you don’t have a friend or relative based in France who can check out the property for you, it’s important to remember that promotional material supplied by landlords or estate agents will stress the positive aspects of the property and gloss over or ignore the negative. Dissect the facts from the information supplied and ask for additional details if they aren’t clear. If a property has ‘good transport links’ find out what this really means. It could mean there’s a bus stop a few minutes away, or it could mean that a train line runs through the garden! Ask for supplementary photos too – aerial shots are a particularly good way of establishing the properties position.

Remember to make all enquiries in writing, either by post or email, and make sure all your responses are delivered in the same way. If there are issues later down the line your landlord/lady will find it far more difficult to argue with you when faced with the black and white truth!

1. Documentation

In France landlords are entitled to request that you provide them with a selection of documents before tenancy contracts are signed.

The documents which they have a right to see include:

-          Any rental payment receipts from the last property you rented (if relevant).

-          Your wage/pension slips for the past three months.

-          Your employment contract and employers details.

-          Your income tax declaration.

-          Details of your previous address.

-          You may also need to supply references.

Be aware that some landlords may ask to see other documentation that they don’t have a right to see. No landlord has the right to ask you to provide medical records, marriage licences or bank statements.

2. État des Lieux/ Condition Survey

It is normal in France for a potential tenant to request a condition survey before they move into a property. At the end of the tenancy an inspection is conducted and the findings are compared with those noted in the condition survey. Typically, estate agents or bailiff’s conduct the report, and it is signed by both parties. By soliciting a detailed condition survey the tenant is less likely to get embroiled in arguments with their landlord at the end of their tenancy.

3. Dossier de Diagnostic Technique Immobilier/ Statutory Surveys

Before a property can be rented several surveys must be carried out, including one which investigates the properties energy performance, one which registers any natural/technological risks to the property, and one which reviews the use of lead in its construction (applies to properties built before 1949).

A written notification must also be supplied to the tenant regarding whether or not the property receives television reception.

Unfurnished lettings also have to declare the properties habitable surface area.

In part two of our rental guide we’ll cover areas including what initial costs you’ll have to look out for and what a tenancy agreement entails.

The Expat Hub
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