French Long Lets
French Long Lets
Who is looking to rent longer term in France?
Many of our clients are looking to purchase property in France but like to rent first. Then there are the long holiday makers, perhaps early retirees taking a one or two month winter holiday - this can be surprisingly affordable and makes a fine change from the traditional long winter holiday destinations of Spain or Portugal. We also see professionals taking a career break or sabbatical, and a surprising number of artists and writers - presumably seeking inspiration under different skies.
Why take on a longer furnished let?
Whatever the reason for wanting to spend a longer period in France, taking on a longer furnished let can be the best route forward.
With many unfurnished rentals being leased for three years in France, furnished rentals tend to be more flexible. If you are unsure of where you want to stay, why not rent several properties for two or three months each in different locations? In some parts of France the countryside, architecture, local accent and even climate can change every twenty or thirty kilometres. Even the neighbouring village can have a completely different ambiance, perhaps it is less open to 'les étrangers' or there are few or no children.
If your intention is eventually to purchase in France or even rent an unfurnished property 'permanently', a little toe dipping is the least risk strategy that can be both enjoyable and immensely rewarding. Testing the water in this manner makes so much sense. A longer furnished rental is different from a holiday let in so many ways; with so much more time spent in the one accommodation, often outwith the main holiday season, you have the potential to get under the skin of the place, to get to know the locals, meet Le Maire, join clubs, help at the fêtes, in short become at least a part time member of the community as opposed to just another tourist passing through. You may see a less rosy picture, but it should be more real. This is a much better basis to make an informed decision about whether this is the place for you and whether you want to invest more time and money in this particular part of France.
The locals will know of property for sale or rent and be able to give all sorts of invaluable advice from the best school to favoured garage, from best electrician to cheapest source of wood for the stove. After renting for several months you should have a clearer picture of whether this is the right place for you and if you feel you can integrate successfully or not. Language skills will improve, it's slow, sometimes painfully slow but given time and a dogged determination not to resort to English, progress will be made.
What to look for in a longer rental?
Do ensure the facilities in the property are adequate for your needs. It may sometimes be necessary to put up with more basic facilities on a one or two week holiday - then the lack of a television may even be welcome. For longer periods, however, items such as a telephone, washing machine, television and internet access become more of an essential. Check what form of heating the property has. A wood burning stove is often welcome in the cooler months.
The rental price will normally be per month or calendar month. Make sure you know what is included in this price. Some owners offer an all inclusive price but most properties charge extra for utilities and logs etc. There is normally some deposit required to reserve the property and act as a security against damage.
It is always wise to view the property first if at all possible. This also allows you the chance to meet the owners - particularly important if the owners live on site and you are looking for a longer rental of several months or more. If you are of a very cautious nature, you may even want to consider renting the property for a week or so initially - this can let you test drive a potential long rental. Thorough initial research can pay dividends later in paving the way for a happy and problem free long rental.
If you are moving permanently to France, furniture can be put in storage while you rent. Some properties offer dry, secure storage facilities for your belongings, alternatively the owner may know of somewhere suitable locally. This can be ideal if your home property is sold and the money is in the bank - you are then in an excellent position to purchase when you find your new French home.
(Published November/December 2008)