Friday, May 4, 2012

Buying to let furnished

France has a huge private rental sector, estimated at 98% of rented properties owned by private landlords (compared with just 2% by institutions such as banks and insurance companies). Out of France's 27 million households, just over 11.6 million (40%) live in rented accommodation - of which 6.55 million are in the private sector.

This furnished rental sector represents a major opportunity for small investors and is a more secure alternative than short-term furnished holiday lettings - June to September in the warm south, during the ski season in the winter. Furnished rentals normally involve an annual lease (renewable) and tenants are often young and mobile, students or salary earners, and tend not to stay for more than two or three years. For them the furnished rental is a more attractive alternative to buying or even renting (and equiping) an empty house or apartment for a relatively short period.

The French fiscal authorities recognise a category of small entrepreneur or furnished property renter (loueur en leublé non-professionnel) with an attractive tax regime. The rules for 'long term' furnished rentals, based on a one year renewable lease, are less onerous than for unfurnished rentals (which provide wide protections for tenants for whom it may be their main home). They generally involve less management than, say, holiday lets requring frequent changeovers and cleaning between rentals.

I shall be providing a longer article on the subject to appear in French Property News in the autumn.

P-D de R.