A very interesting discussion in light of my "dilemma". During the last few days I have placed this post on various forums on facebook:
I am Vivienne, a single 54 year old female, who went through a nasty divorce 5 years ago followed by some subsequent personal traumas which included several moves within my local Limousin area. For the sake of my health and sanity, I am desperate to make a total new start in a different Department where I can forget my painful history, put down roots and rebuild a new life for myself and my well-behaved and clean boxer dogs (1 at nearly 2 years old and the other 12 years).
Therefore, I am looking for a nice little house (furnished, unfurnished or part-furnished) with a fenced garden or terrace / courtyard suitable for just me and my dogs but unfortunately, I don't have a large budget so am looking in the region of approximately 300-350€ pcm
If necessary, to supplement my budget, I would be willing to do a certain amount of maintenance, cleaning and/or gardening jobs in return for a reduced rental. Would also consider a gite complex, a companionship, help with animals / dog minding etc or anything along those lines, where I can supplement the rent by doing changeovers, cleaning, etc.
As I have been alone for the last few years, I would prefer a market village with regular groups and activities (not those that cost a fortune to join) so I can get involved in local life, also plenty of dog walking areas and/or walking groups.
Not essential but would be a bonus :
Within half hours drive to a large town where I can, hopefully find work (I have just finished an 18 month contract in a large brocante)
View - garden or sitting area on the property where people pass by and say hello
Walking distance to village centre with at least a bar / cafe where people meet
Extra bedroom to allow my family to visit for a few days
Perhaps lake or river nearby
Within an hour's drive to an airport
A cooker and English satellite TV would help.
Have any of these gite owners ever considered that, even though the rental income would be a lot lower, having a tenant on a permanent basis would bring in regular all round income. As some compensation for the loss of higher rental charges during the high season, there would be no need for changeovers, booking agents commissions, etc and the house / garden (if there is one) would be maintained by the tenant. I myself would welcome the opportunity to rent a gite on a permanent basis and even on a gite complex where I could help maintain the other gites on the complex for a reduced rent.
Thoughts on this would be much appreciated. Thanks