There are some differences between the rental market in the UK and in France. The main difference being the lack of equipment in some French rental property. It is quite normal to find kitchens with just a sink and no units, almost certainly there will be no light bulbs, never mind fittings. The best type of property to rent is often a property that has been previously used as a gite, or for short-term rental find a property that is still a gite but rented out of the main holiday season.
Adverts for rental properties will often include an abbreviation such as T2 or T3, this is the standard way of describing the number of rooms excluding the kitchen and bathroom. It is a bit confusing as a T2 does not mean there are two bedrooms, but that there is one bedroom and a living room.
You will find adverts in local newspapers and on notepadboards in shops. We would advise that you rent through an agent as you have more legal protection this way. Also some property owners do not use an agent because the property is not of a good standard or the rent is higher than it should be.
Estate agents in France tend to deal with rental property and sales, this is good if you find a house to buy but it is not in a habitable condition as you may find the same agent can find you a rental property if required. In France the renter usually pays the agents commission, this is generally equal to one month's rent.
Because tenants are so well protected in France you will find property owners are very careful about who they rent to, you will be expected to provide numerous guarantees. The documents and guarantees you will be asked to provide are similar to those you would need if renting a property in the UK. You will need proof of earnings or proof that you have enough money to cover the period of the rental contract. You will be expected to be alert at least three times the monthly rental amount. You may be asked for a guarantor if you are working on short-term contracts, retired or self-employed. The self-employed will also be expected to show their business accounts for the previous year. If you do need to provide a guarantor they will also be expected to show income of three times the monthly rental amount. You will have to provide proof of identity, usually your passport and you will also need a French bank account.
The usual contract length for renting in France is three years, although you may find some properties available on a month-to-month basis (these tend to be gites outside peak holiday periods). Signing a contract for three years does not mean you have to stay for this length of time, you can leave at any time but usually have to give three months notice in writing.
As you move into a rental property a detailed report of the condition of the property is prepared and signed by both parties. Make sure any existing damage is noted or you may be liable to pay for the damage when leaving. It is a good idea to take photographs of any damage.
Often rent will include charges for cleaning and maintenance of communal areas, it may also include some utilities such as water rates. You will need to be clear what is and is not included in the rent. You will be liable to pay the 'taxe d'habitation, it is advisory to find out how much this is before signing the contract. You can get this information from the mairie, it can vary greatly from area to area.
In France the tenant is liable for house insurance and for any damage to the property. The landlord will expect proof that you have taken out the necessary insurance.
In addition to paying any agents commission you will usually be asked to pay between one and three months rent in advance as a deposit.
If you are fluent in French and know the French system then you should have no problem finding a property to rent. If you will not need the services of a translator or a home finder in the area you wish to move to.
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