Housing and Accomodation in France

When moving to another country, you will want to find the right accommodation to live considering factors such as prices, schools if you have children, cost of living and also the distance from your work place.

There will be many types of accommodation that expats will be able to afford and the costs do vary depending on the type of property you are looking for.  There are also certain rules of renting and expats should be aware of their renting property rights in France. Some French cities will have high demand for accommodation making the rental prices higher.

How to find accommodation

  • Online publications and leaflets – These will generally include a time and date for people to view the property.
  • Networking – Ask around to see if there is any accommodation on sale
  • Real estate agent – A good option if you don’t have time to find property yourself or so that you have had all the correct guidance as well as being able to view the properties

In France there are different types of accommodation available

  • Apartments: These are the most popular accommodation in cities as they are rented out on a monthly basis. Expats will have an option in choosing small studio apartments to high end which usually are more expensive.
  • Cottages: Expats living in the rural areas of the country, may want to invest or rent out a cottage on a short term basis. The prices for a cottage vary on the size and the location.
  • Chateaux: If you are looking for something more expensive then you can buy a chateaux house. These are generally more expensive and can vary in the size.

Renting in France

Expats moving to France may consider renting out property as oppose to buying. You will find that if you are looking for accommodation in the city then the rent will be just as high.

If you are renting out an apartment or government subsidised housing complex the utility bills will be included in the rental fees

When renting out property you may be required to show three recent payslips to prove that your salary is more than the monthly salary.

It is quite common to use estate agents when renting out property as they will be able to provide information about amenities around that particular area. You should also consider viewing the property before moving in and making a final decision

Tenants and landlords are free to come to an acceptable agreement when they are renting out property. However, the landlord will not be able to increase the rent prices unless detailed in the agreement.

A tenancy agreement must be provided and must be signed before the tenancy start date. The tenancy agreement may have some clauses so the tenant must read all this information before signing as well having to pay a deposit.

Expats should also note that if you are renting out an unfurnished property it can have a tenancy of 3 years whereas a furnished property must be for one year. If you want to rent out property for a less time it must be agreed with the landlord beforehand.

In order to rent out property you must show the following:

  • Copies of passport and visa
  • Letter from employer which verifies employment
  • Copies of the last 3 months payslips as well as 2 tax returns
  • Receipt of rent payment and utility bills for current property
  • Name of guarantor

Buying property

Majority of expats moving to France will prefer to buy property in France as it is quite straightforward for EU citizens and prices are usually stable.

When a property has been selected, the buyer will need to negotiate and go into an initial agreement with the vendor. This is a legal contract which shows the terms and price of the sale. The legal process takes about 12 weeks to complete and is handled by a notary. You may want to appoint your own bilingual lawyer if not fluent in French. When the price has been agreed along with other terms, you will be required to sign a promise of sale. An independent account will be set up by the notary and expats will be required to pay 10% of the deposit. This becomes non-refundable after 1 week.

The notary will then make land registry checks to ensure that there are no complications and they will ensure all the taxes have been paid. Once you have successfully secured a mortgage a final deed of sale will be completed by the notary.