Moving property contents UK to France

I’d previously let my property furnished in the UK but have found that demand is alot higher for unfurnished property, so with an almost negligible cost difference in rental value, I have taken the rather difficult decision to clear the contents and let it unfurnished.

So I had a couple of questions actually:

1)does anyone have any names of removal companies for moving contents from Surrey area to France (guessing that most removal companies that operate internationally would also cover the UK for picking up)

2)As I have owned all of the contents of the property for a number of years, am I likely to be involved in having to pay any customs/import costs?

Appreciate anyone’s input as I need to try to get the move organised quite quickly.

Direct info from french customs here

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Thankyou, very helpful - will give it a read :+1::+1:

If you have been resident more than 12 months you willnot be exempt from VAT and customs.

Think hard about whether these are things you really want to pay to transport here.

Wasn’t there something in the UK about furnished lets - even just a couple of sticks of old furniture - keeping more rights for the landlord, whereas unfurnished type lets meant landlord had fewer rights?

I’m remembering way, way back though and all this stuff may have changed.


AFAIK it doesn’t seem to make much difference, but it’s very clearly unfurnished lets that are most popular. We live and learn, but shat surprised me was the lack of insight on this from the letting agents. Just in the process of reletting and yet again, quite amazed at the sheer incompetence of letting agents and the constant waffle they come out with, actually thinking you believe half the stories. If it wasn’t for the fact that my insurance policy needs a local agent to manage the property if the landlord is overseas, then I would dispatch them.

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Unfurnished lets every time.
Dont include appliances either like washing machine, dishwasher, fridges, freezer, hob, oven etc although with fitted kitchens it can be awkward. If they break they are the landlord’s responsibility to replace. Also if possible have all electric heating to avoid yearly gas certificate.

Sounds like you’ve got it sussed there​:+1: My letting agent tells me that even in unfurnished it’s ‘normal’ to include white goods, but must say, their credibility has dropped a tad over the past weeks. The problem I now need to solve is how to get rid of the furniture I no longer want and do not wish to transport :thinking::thinking::thinking:

If you’re unable to get it sorted in the UK, it might be simpler to have everything sent to France and then sort it out at this end.

There are companies that clear properties. Alternatively someone like the British heart foundation or Emaus.

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Ermmm getting everything packed, filling in forms, paying customs duty, VAT and transport costs just to send to Emmaus?

British Heart Foundation are useful, or local refugee/homeless charity who take things to provide to those who have nothing,

They are but, and its a big but.
The high street charity shops have the same obligations as other ‘retailers’ in that furniture must have fire retardant certificate if applicable, furniture must not be damaged in any way and so on.
I cleared mother in laws house in 2018 and was amazed at 3 different charity shops refused good furniture after inspecting everything with a fine tooth comb.
In particular was a 3 month old leather reclining all singing and dancing chair that cost over £1k. It had a fire retardent tab sewn into the bottom edge which the old dear cut off because she didn’t like it! Because of this it was unanimously rejected. That and many other useful items went to the council dump-it site.
On the other hand the red cross accepted all medical assistance apparatus with open arms.
Sadly we only had 3 days to empty the house during a whistle stop UK visit which included her funeral but I feel sure that had we had more time we could have found willing organisations for a lifetimes collection of possessions.
As an aside the BHF like all major charities run a ruthless organisation un a good way. My wife managed one of their shops a few years ago now and the amount of clothing she had to sort through was amazing. Around 90% of clothing was rejected for resale and was sent for rag recycling.

It does vary with postcodes but yes, never remove a fire resistant label. Emmaus are also in the UK. Failing that a private clearing company, I dont do that work any more but there are still companies that do and an estate agents office is often a good place to ask as they deal with this type of work quite a bit.

I started to take an initial look at removal costs yesterday and had a couple of very ‘broad brush’ quotes which ran into a few thousand GBP, so need to now scrutinise what I truly want to relocate. A little bit difficult being here remote, as removers are asking for sizes and weights, so think some guesstimates necessary. First step will be to make as detailed a list as I can of all the items then sift out what I want to keep then get more serious about moving cost and disposal method for the rest. Does seem like a pity to be getting shot of ‘stuff’ which is actually of value and useful, but need to be a little ruthless and lose sentimentality on this!

Also thinking of driving over to the UK and taking my van, a)to be there for movers and b)thought it may be better if I transport back smaller more decorative items such as art and sculptures, crockery, kitchen gear etc……… I seem to remember reading a few posts mentioning that the customs folks don’t really bother with limited domestic type personal stuff being transported, sp hope that is indeed the case.


Whilst by the book types might, I have yet to come across one. Different when its in a commercial removers lorry.

Guess it’s luck of the draw on the day, but will still make sure I complete the necessary paperwork. Never done it before so no doubt it’ll be a little tedious!

I am not generally that lucky :face_with_hand_over_mouth: more than 20 years of taking a van across its just been the std open and look. Closest we came was a chap in france who wanted to cut open our mattress! He didnt, his colleague put him off after I complained and asked for compensation if nothing was found. Daftest thing is that was leaving france! :roll_eyes:

Yes think I’m already starting to converge on a plan. Just need to now do the donkey work. Also need to see how much time I can get between one set of folks moving out and the next in, which will obviously determine how I choose to get rid of unwanted items.


Just a thought, the France tax regime for furnished is different to unfurnished - furnished gets 30% discount? Of course the declared amount is ignored for tax, but does add to your overall income so may push your taxable income up the scale?

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