Long Term Renting - Advice Please

Now that my other half has finally decided to retire (well semi-retire) we've also decided to move to France. We were thinking of just buying but we're now thinking of renting and seeing what area we really want to move to before settling down.

However, we were intending to rent somewhere unfurnished but it seems that the majority of places are furnished so this would mean finding somewhere to store all our belongings. We've also read that if you rent unfurnished you need a french bank account, address etc before you can do this, is this correct?

Can anyone advice if we would need a french address etc before we can rent unfurnished?

Many thanks


If we all stopped generalising Peter, the internet would grind to a halt :)

Another possible way to do it is to rent a camper van and visit as much of France as you wish to help narrow down an area. SFN member Roger Waldram & good lady came over in a campervan a few months back and have done just that. They travelled around and have just found a suitable property in a suitable area and are now going through the prliminary motions of buying the property.

You can't generalise in this way Catherine. Some french people just like british or germans et al do treat their animals badly but it's not just a french trait.

We needed a rental place whilst renovating so we advertised on Angloinfo in the region we were looking for an unfurnished property/or property with garage for storage and got offered a couple...but unfortunately not suitable. We also looked on leboncoin.fr under "locations" ...lots of unfurnished there, but as a French rental/tenancy is for three years owners don't usually like to rent out for a short term. In the end we just asked the Maire of the village if he had anything that no one else wanted and got shown and offered a nice little house that morning. So there are options..

Although possibly not obligatory, it will make paying rent, property taxes and bills easier if you open a French bank account. It's relatively easy, and the exchange rate for transferring pounds into euros is good at the mo.

we have heard so much about him and will be using him as well!

Great to read your endorsement of John. I am planning to use his service as I was impressed with his presentations.

Now I feel even better about him.

You will have trouble renting unfurnished because the laws are different.

If you have an unfurnished place it is almost impossible to move you out, hence the bits of furniture you will find left in situ.

However, this does not mean you cannot add your own furniture to what is left, put it in garage or integrate with your own.

We are willing to consider them, so please don't let that put you off.

We have had bad experiences in the past with how the french keep and treat their dogs, and a lot of damage was done to the property by the tenants dogs. We know that the english treat their dogs more like family members which removes the problem of them being at the property!

It looks lovely Catherine but unfortunately for us you don't allow dogs.


It is on Rootstock:


We are just finishing off the repairs to it from the last tenants, so it has all been repainted, new kitchen, new bathroom tiling, improved insulation etc etc etc!


That's great Shaun, thank you. We have to move out from our home the middle of July, not the best time to try and get a long term let in France, it would probably be fine if it was the winter and we'd probably have problems trying to find a 3 month lease here in the UK to cover us until then. I'll look at the website you've mentioned. Thanks again :)

Can you give me details of your property please Catherine?

HSBC will open a French bank account for you with a €3,000 deposit

We too are looking for a long term rental as we have offers on our UK house and intend to move permanently to France. needing 6-12 months rental in SW France, however, at this time of year we have found it difficult to find anywhere, even those advertised are apparently already rented out. www.frenchproperty.com is an obvious example. Please owners, take your properties down as soon as possible after lease is signed. Its no good telling us it is available in May 2016! We may have only 5-6 weeks to find somewhere and with mum in law and 2 older well-behaved dogs in tow....had 18 emails returned saying "sorry but not available"...one possible, but we will have to move out for two weeks as it has been used as a "holiday let" -Beggars can't be chosers however. Tried Le Boin Coin - again loads of rented out properties, now going agent to agent for an unfurnished as they seem to have the cream of the crop.

If by any chance anyone on SW France has a 3 bed property, outside village or town, to rent we would be very interested. (Preferably Limousin) - also seeking min 2 hectare property, not semi-detached, with farm outbuildings - not for conversion but use for animals, then perhaps even a rent to buy? (only while the process goes on).

We will know is about 3-4 weeks if sale is proceeding. As with all things, and having been let down once before at the 11th hour, we are not counting chickens. As Mandy Davies says below, we would be prepared to pay rent in total up front for 6 months, and also premium for dogs - around €600-800/month), depending on property. Anything considered - house sitting/caretaking etc.

We have been landlords for the last 5 years, the info you will need to provide for renting a property is:
1 - RIB (Bank account)
2 - Passport or proof of ID
3 - Proof of income (to be 2x rental amount and includes benefits etc. You will need to provide last 3 months statements).
4 - Proof of paying rent on time. As this is not applicable to you, you may want to show proof of living in UK until current date.

The french rules only allow for checking income by default, so there is no check on how you keep the property unless you sign to say that this can be done.

A guarantor is only needed if you cannot provide proof of income, the french may not be willing to accept your uk income or understand the documents you provide!!

PS we currently have a 3 bed for rent in Loire valley :-)

Thanks everyone for your advice and suggestions. We'll look at leboncoin and french-locations. We do have pets, 2 dogs and 6 hens although it looks like the hens will have to stay behind in the UK as I haven't found a way of bringing them over to France yet (DEFRA seems to refer to commercial poultry).

We'll definitely set up an account with Britline before we move over.

when we moved here (in march 4 years ago) we rented a furnished holiday home/gite with a massive barn/garage for a month - and stored all our stuff there - it was really cheap as no-one wants a holiday home in the winter!

from there we looked pretty much every day and found a 'normal' rental - unfurnished - which they nearly all are - no problem with pets, in fact we had chickens in the end... we paid them 6 months rent up front - which got over all the problems of proving our UK solvency.

you must, must have a french bank account though. Start with credit agricole - Britline - you can do it all from the UK. You can even start the process online now. It's easy - they're nice.

hope this helps

x teresa

(p.s. remember - paperwork, paperwork, paperwork!)

I think you can still open a French bank account and bank online with Credit Agricole from the UK and you can deal with them in English. There are UK based companies that do both furnished and unfurnished French rentals from English owners not holiday lets such as www.french-locations.co.uk and others if you google long term rental France etc. Or check the other ads in French Property News. It is often easier to store the landlord’s furniture from a rental than your own as the furniture can be minimal often there is space to store the landlord’s furniture in a spare bedroom. Do you have pets as that makes finding a rental property much harder?
Be cautious about leaving the UK property market. In the past 15 years there has been a much slower rise in property values in France relative to the UK. Although people don’t initially envisage ever leaving France once they move there in fact many people do go back to the UK from France after a few years.

I agree with everything stated. Rent for at least 6 mths to check out the area and also to check out the french way of life. It is nothing like what you may have experienced in a fortnights holiday. You can open a french bank account whilst still living in the UK but will involve a trip over with a thousand and one bits of paper. You will get nowhere without one!