Likely economics / practicality of various sources of rental income?

I’m nearly 58 and planning to “retire” to Brittany in 2 or 3 years’ time.
I will probably have sufficient savings to buy a property to meet my needs in the area I’m looking at and a reasonable pension - just around the tax threshold - more than it costs me to live in the UK, though thanks to needing to run a car and paying health insurance, my budget will be a bit tight for the 5 or 6 years until I qualify for the state pension.

I’m expecting to be aiming for some sort of naturalisation and buying into the French health system ASAP.

My terraced house in Bristol has increased in value hugely since I bought it 34 years ago, and initially it looks very tempting to put in the extra effort to make it rentable - through an agency - though I would really prefer to cut all my ties to the UK and invest in my chosen country of residence.

Option 2 would be to sell up and invest in a bigger / second property with holiday let potential.

Option 3 would be to invest in a second property nearby and do student lets.

Option 4 would be to invest in a second property further inland and provide rented accommodation at an affordable rent.

France being France, I assume there might be tax incentives available ?

The final option would be to let my savings rot in the bank and run it down over my remaining “golden years” (cringe).

I have no experience of marketing property or playing host to strangers - though I would hope I could learn.

Although I hate to raise the B word…Just a reminder that in two years time there may be hoops to jumps through to be able to move to France. There will no longer be freedom of movement. So things like your ability to support yourself will become ever more important as may well be a criteria for accepting you as a french resident. Naturalisation process only starts after 5 years residence.

And no tax incentives these days in France!

As for your options, I would suggest you go through them systematically with pros & cons, likely income, risks and so on. We are each different so what’s right for me won’t be right for you. What I can say is that a single holiday let will not be enough to do more than provide a few extras. Three rental properties is often considered as the basis for a liveable income. Sure you will eventually have your pension but be aware that one holiday home is quite a bit of work, and it can loose its appeal if it’s not earning you enough to make it worth it. Student lets can be a nightmare in my experience, and there is much more control on rental properties in France not to the landlord’s favour.

Which is not to say you shouldn’t follow your dream, but you need to do a bit more analysis to make it real.

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Spot on Jane, it’s not for everyone and the novelty of renting out your gites can soon wear thin.

I think I failed to stress that after 38 years in local government, I would probably be able to manage on my company pension at age 60 - even if I’m paying private health insurance.
I should be collecting nearly double the minimum income of £550 per month required for inactifs and well in excess of the £880 required at 65 - by which age I will in any case collect my state pension of at least £600 per month.
I plan to grow most of my own food and am considering small-scale market gardening if I find a niche …

If I sell my Bristol house, just by squandering the profits over the next (optimistically) 40 years , I could bring my income up to near what I currently earn and only spend 1/3 of.

The rental investment is really only to make the best of my “roof and septic tank fund” given I’ve learned to my cost how little interest you can get in the bank.

After all, I’m retiring early so I can enjoy six extra active years when I will want to treat myself to a few luxuries - like furniture :smiley:
The other issue to consider is I might choose to sacrifice income for a fancier house and more importantly more land.

Yes our rental properties won’t keep us in luxury, but they usually produce 3 -5% annually on the investment, so better than the bank. And we actually enjoy running a gîte as have been lucky enough to have great clients. (Our other properties are long term rentals so very different inputs).

Re buying large property with land. Do think about looking after it when you are 75, not 65. Some times a lot is just too much! When we bought we did so with the intention of moving again later on, which we will perhaps now delay a bit more than planned, but it is inevitable at some point as we won’t be able to manage.

Oh, and decent french care homes are over 2,000€ a month…(UK ones are probably similar, but I don’t know!) so that can eat through a capital gain quite efficiently.

as Jane said only hurdle you will have to worry about it after brexit and how easy t will or won’t be to start out here.

My option would be to use the savings to buy a manageable house in France and let the Bristol house. The income from that plus your private pension would provide you with a good standard of living. You might well find that UK rents, especially near a city, are higher than in most parts of France and the British laws protect the landlord much better than the French ones. The rental income would be taxed in the UK but reported in your French tax returns.
Beware of selling up and living off your capital. I’ve seen several people try that but, unlike you, they often had no income other than interest on their savings coming in and they were all surprised by quite how fast their nest egg slipped through their fingers.
There’s also the possible advantage of retaining a property in the UK which is, if your French dream doesn’t turn out to be all that you expected, your problems won’t be compounded by your being priced out of the UK property market if you decide to return. A couple who used to be close neighbours here sold a semi detached house in the Cotswolds to buy their French house, spent several years living here but one of them never settled in. Eventually they sold up but their capital was only enough to buy them a mobile home in a sited community as they wanted to be near their family. That’s it, they’re ‘stuck’ there for life!


I 'm a gardener with a love of giant sub-tropicals, as well as growing veggies, so could use a couple of acres. Who knows I might actually get to like lawns … and with my technical skills, automation is a distinct possibility.

There’s an amazing place going on the North coast at the moment with 15 acres … I might have had to hold an unofficial mini-festival and / or make crop circles :slight_smile:

I also plan to make myself a yurt and / or an iron age roundhouse … and then there’s permaculture and coppice …
Perhaps I will leave a small bamboo forest as my legacy visible on Google Earth :smiley:

I live alone , and though I would be happy to leave something to my kinfolk, it’s not a priority - and who knows, a kayak may not be the largest vessel I develop a taste for…
Sod’s law means that as a practising atheist, I will probably end up being looked after by nuns. :open_mouth:

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Morning Jeremy

Your situation is identical to ours. We moved over in 2015. We will not qualify for our state pensions for another 3 years. Though my wife does have a very small teachers pension.

We kept our property in the UK and rented it out. This secures us an income in excess of 1000 Euro per month.

There were several reasons why we did this.

Firstly we have seen many couples come over and after 3-5 years decided, for many different reasons, to return to the UK. They have then found that the rise in UK property prices has meant they struggled to buy another property. Also selling their property in France was problematic to say the least.

Keeping a property in the UK, if finances allow, gives you a bolt hole to return to if needed. You also gain from any capital gain on the property.

The second reason is it provides us with a regular monthly income.

We have done this now for 2 years with no regrets.

Hope our experience helps you




Morning Jeremy

One additional point I should have made.

Once you are living in France and become tax resident, there could be an issue of Capital Gains tax should you wish to sell your UK property, as it is no longer your primary residence.

This is not something I have looked into as I have no intention of selling.

There will be clever people on the site who would be able to advise on this.



Yes I’d forgotten about that - something from the Sarkozy era to do with how long it takes to sell after buying the place in France.

I remember watching a news item a few years back where French people had invested in new appartment developments under one of those “lois (some government minister or other)” tax shields which turned out to be appartments with no likelihood of tenants - so I’m guessing that’s the extent of any French government assistance with regards getting into the rental business in France.

The UK house was bought 30+ years ago so should not be subject to CGT or social charges when sold.

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sound advice

Hi Timothy

Does that still apply, as it will not be a primary residence ?