Renting for a year - furnished, in a small town...questions about the rental agreement and obtaining a car?


In August, I plan to visit and sign papers to rent a place I found at (thanks, @Mark !!) It is furnished, and available for a long-term “let.” I’d like to give a bit of background and see if anyone can offer advice or thoughts on whether this sounds bona fide or not… I might be too eager, so thanks in advance for your kind and helpful regard.

First, my intent in renting, is ultimately to find a a permanent address in France. I don’t have a French bank account, so I plan on renting from some (rather nice-sounding) folks who are willing to accept my (small but steady) trust fund as proof of adequate income. It’s at the edge of a small town in the country, so I will need a car. I admit to acting a bit on faith; I so want to have that foot in the door. Living for a year in France would allow for exploring, getting a French bank account, and getting the paperwork done. Perhaps I’m too eager for this to work? What do you think of the requirement that, in order to pay for the first/last, I need to wire the money to the owners, to their account in the UK? Is that bona fide?

In fact, the owners have not exactly mentioned a lease agreement (but they did indicate that there would be documents to sign).

The nicest part: Once I pay the first/last (indicating my serious intent to rent) they are willing to provide a letter stating that I am renting, to the French consulate. I need this as part of the application process for the long-term visa.

Anyway. They seem like nice people. At the risk of providing too much info, here’s an excerpt from the message I’d received about a month ago via email:

…“It is an old farmhouse (there has been a farmhouse here since the 12th century, but our house is not that old - perhaps just 250 years or so) up our private drive. We are about a kilometre and a half from the village where … It’s a very short drive or a 30 minute walk down our leafy lane to the heart of the village.
You are absolutely right to rent a car, as our nearest town is about 20 minutes drive away. For car rental, you have a choice between the usual big names - Hertz, Europcar, Avis, which you should be able to pick up and drop off most places or you could rent a car from the local garage at Menigoute (cheaper but not flexible on drop off) to whom Simon can introduce you if you would like.”

So, I haven’t figured out what it would cost to hire a car from the garage at Menigoute…
I’ve been reading SF about the new CT requirements. I can afford to buy an inexpensive used car but maybe I shouldn’t. Perhaps an electric bike would suffice (with occasional rental car from the garage at Menigoute…). Thanks for reading all of this :blush:

Sounds like you are in for an adventure…
The rental agreement will be key to you getting a bank account so that you will be able to pay the rent, pay for shopping and fuel for the car.
Personally, I’d go for the option of buying a small car rather than renting. You can get cheap rentals from some of the supermarkets but you may have hoops to jump through in order to rent in the first place. If you are going to be here initially for a year, the buy option will make more sense as for the most part, second hand cars in France often keep their value and if (when) you decide to move it on, it shouldn’t be too painful on your pocket. I’m sure your landlord will help with recommendations from your local garagiste who will also handle all the paperwork for you regarding re-registration which can be a minefield if you are trying to do this from afar or are unfamiliar with the procedures.
There are quite a few other considerations as regards renting. I believe it may be a legal requirement for you to have insurance in place to cover public liability risks and to cover damage to the property. You can find oout mor information on this from SF’s tame insurance expert @fabien (just click on the link) who will get you sorted for sure - just as much with the car insurance requirements.
Good luck with your move!

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Thanks Graham.

I especially appreciate your thought that perhaps the local garagiste could handle all of the paperwork regarding vehicle re-registration in my name (maybe I can buy a car from the local garagiste). And I do have my permit to drive (driver’s license that lasts a year) in France.

I get the feeling that I won’t find the best most inexpensive solutions, but that said, I suspect I might find good solutions within my frugal budget. No?

And maybe I could make good if I volunteer my services as a gardener, for example. The proprietors already seem very nice and helpful, and they like that I’ve volunteered to do some gardening for them.

I was thinking that I am lucky to have found proprietaires who’d rent to me. Even if they are renting it as a gite (aka holiday rental which falls into a different rental category, usually, I think), if they are willing to let me sign a year-long lease (which I think they must, no? Given the length of time?) then I’ll have overcome a big hurdle. What I understand (and what I hope they understand) is that if a holiday rental is rented for over 90 days, a lease agreement must be signed. Do you agree? And so, this would constitute the kind of documentation that I’ll need, at least on that front. If you do happen to know anyone who would rent to me, and who lives in/near Sancerre or that area of the Cher departement, please would you let me know? That was my original goal, to live in that area.


I agree there are quite a few other considerations as regards renting.

I’ll eat beans and rice (and baguettes and cheese and wine) and live practically anywhere, at this point. Hopefully the process won’t grind me into the ground, but then again I’m pretty determined. Please advise about any specific mistakes that you might think of?

About contacting Fabien; I’ll do that as soon as possible, and get the insurances arranged. In fact I’d already contacted him earlier in the year and arranged for travel/supplemental health insurance. Now it’s time for his help with all of the other insurances as well. Thanks for the reminder!

It might just possibly be an adventure that might work out. Would you tend to think so?

Is there something big that I’m missing? If you happen to think of anything please let me know. Thanks again.

Hi Mary

Have you contacted the Mairie to ask what properties they have for renting…or what they know about…

Most Mairies in my area have a number of rentals (long term, 1 year minimum), so it might be so in your chosen area.

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I don’t know what agreement you have with your “landlord”, but it is difficult to come up with a tenancy agreement for a long(er) term gite rental. The gite owner will normally want to keep at least July and August for premium priced holiday rentals, leaving you just 9 or 10 months. This is why, I suspect, at the moment, you have an informal arrangement as there is nothing that really fits the bill.

If needed, we use a customised contract, in English (for English speakers), that probably has no legal standing in france, but has been sucessfully used as proof of address to get bank account, car registration etc sorted.

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It depends if Mary is looking for furnished or unfurnished accommodation. I think she is looking for the former from the thread title.

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Fair point, Mark… but, even so, the Mairie are usually in the know about what is available and where…

It doesn’t take much to put a few bits into a place. I think the most important thing is to ensure she has security of tenancy for the year, at the correct price etc etc…

As has already been said, Gîtes are not usually/easily rented out for the year… (as this can run the risk of the Tenant claiming long-term rights…or at least complicating things)

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This is a great point, I might want to simply approach the Mairie in Sancerre, though probably not with expectations of success. I should just ask, and explain that I have the trust fund as proof of income, and a strong desire to live in Sancerre… I might run it by a slight acquaintance in Sancerre in case she has any thoughts, and then send it to the Mairie. And tick that task off the list. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the suggestion, Stella.

Hi Stella, wonder if you can help me here? I am coming to France soon for a month to house and pet sit and wil be staying n the owners attached gite. The lady (who is lovely) has said that if things work out well for the month sit we are welcome to return and stay long term ie 10months to 1 year initially. She will offer us an all inclusive rent which will include gas, electricity, water etc which is good, but I am wondering whether that will be a problem when applying for permanant residency as we will have no bills in our name as proof. The let will be furnished so we will have to put our things into storage. Thank you for any advice you can offer me. Regards.

Are we correct in assuming that you’re a British passport holder?
If so the first question that springs to mind is, what would your status be when you apply for a residence permit? Will you be classed as employed - do you work through a pet sitting agency that pays your social contributions? Or will you be registering as self employed and paying your own social taxes, and if so are you confident your work will be classed as “genuine and effective” ie enough to live on? Or will you be self-supporting from unearned income such as a pension or investments?

You wouldn’t initially be applying for permanent residency, you can’t do that until you’ve been in France for 5 years. Initially you apply for a temporary residence permit, which involves demonstrating that you are correctly exercising freedom of movement, and the conditions for correctly exercising FoM are different according to what your status is. So it’s important to be clear what your status is so that you know what conditions you have to meet.

To answer your actual question - the owners could sign an attestation to confirm that they are accommodating you. But that could potentially turn into a can of worms if the accommodation is being provided in return for services and you don’t have the necessary paperwork in place.

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The other thing to be aware of is that gîtes are normally let on a holiday contract, with a max of three months and people need to have their own primary residence. Normally this doesn’t matter much and gîte owners give long rentals especially over winter. BUT, if this might be scrutinised as part of an application for temporary residency then you’d better make sure that you set this out correctly, so either lodging with friends who provide an attestation of hébergement, or a proper rental contract.

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As Jane says. Basically you need to make sure that you submit a coherent overall picture of your situation and that none of the elements in your application contradict each other, nor contradict whatever info the tax office holds about the owner’s gite business.

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