Thursday, October 29, 2015

Buying a French property held by an SCI

The SCI is a French 'société civile' which is essentially not a trading company but one set up by a group of family members or friends to jointly invest in a property. Each member buys a number of shares in the SCI, with some shares confering different rights from others. Shareholders may dispose of their shares individually if they wish to retire from the SCI but the constitution of the SCI may be restrictive - for example, an obligation to offer the shares first to existing members of the SCI.

If as a property potential buyer you find a property for sale that is owned by an SCI it is essential to consult a Notaire as soon as possible (before making any binding commitment to purchase). The Notaire will examine the SCI to ascertain what its constituion says about selling the property to a third party and it is most likely that the consent of all the shareholders will be required. A Notaire acting for the SCI/vendor will deal with the distribution of the proceeds from a sale of the property between the shareholders, according to each one's share holding.

An SCI can be purchased or taken over, or created, should you wish to use an SCI as a method of (jointly) owning a French property, and as in all cases professional legal advice should be sought before you agree to buy. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Buy-to-let - flat-sharing properties

If you own a sufficiently large French property, this morning's LeFigaro on-line has an interesting article about converting it to share accommodation, or 'co-location' , popular with young people including students.

The article describes an 'ideal type of property' based in the city of Orleans which cost around 500 000 euros to purchase, convert and equip and lists among the essentials, based on nine people sharing:
- a large kitchen/diner with sufficient fridge and storage areas and two hobs, with a total area of not less than 35m²
- a minimum of four bedrooms, each not less than 13m² minimim
- sufficient bath/shower rooms and WCs

In the example shown montly rentals were based on 350 to 420 euros per bedromm.

Source: 12 October 2015

Floods in France

The recent floods along the Cote d'Azur have highlighted the problem of serious flooding in France. It is estimated that damage to homes, businesses and vehicles will cost at least 500 million euros in compensation. The French State has qualified the event as a 'natural disaster' and will pay for repairs to the infrastructure, including several highways and bridges.

One of the lessons learned is the relative lack of safety of (private) underground car parks, where several people drowned in attempts to bring their cars to the surface as the floods struck. Many had no alternative means of escape other than the exit ramp and no doubt new reulations will be introduced to improve safety in future.

Many parts of France are officially classified as at risk of flooding and when buying property you need to check the 'plan cadastral' and verif via the Mairie what kind of evacuation plan exists in case of emergencies.

Many Mediterranean towns and villages have however excellent systems for evacuating potential flood waters. In my own area of Pyrénées-Orientales some 140 000 or 40% of the population are regarding as living in a potential flood zone.