Renting out property as a holiday home for tourists (short term)

Hello All,

we are in the process of becoming owners of our dream house in France. Our offer has been accepted and now we are just going through the formalities to finalize the sale.

Unfortunately we will not be able to move for another 1 or max. 2 years.

My partner’s solution: we will just rent out the property during that time to cover the costs of maintaining the property. I am a bit sceptical if that is so easy as he thinks.

Is it an easy process to register our home as a gite and start renting it out once the sale went through? The house is in a very good condition, we will just need to buy some furniture. However we live quite far away (7 hours flight) so we cannot easily travel to France for bureaucratic issues (e.g. set up business license, etc.)

Is there anyone that has some experience with this and can advise us?

Thank you in advance.

Two options -

Long term let or seasonal let, both have different sets of possible issues. The easiest option is renting the house out unfurnished via a local agent who will deal with everything usually for a fixed percentage of the rent.

Whatever you do … do NOT let the property out for more than a 12 month Lease and ensure you give notice well before the 12 months is up. Failure can see your property locked into a continuing lease with the Tenant… been there, done that (sadly).

If you rent unfurnished then by law it has to be a three year tenancy, it can’t be less. The tenant can give notice and end the contract sooner but the landlord can’t.
Furnished rental can be for one year I think.
Gor long term lets use an agent, French rental law can be a nightmare for landlords.
Holiday lets are a different régime altogether and I believe the maximum let permitted is 6 months. Altho’ that doesn’t seem to stop folk from iffering holiday lets of 6 months and more if the taxman doesn’t find out.
Presumably you are aware that rental income from a property in France is taxable in France.

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When we rented a few years back, they only wanted it for 6 months (not a holiday let) and the 1 year slipped by. I was remiss in giving them notice and they insisted on staying. Years down the line it cost us a lot of money to get them out.

These were kids of a lovely neighbour who was mortified.

Frankly, if I had bought a house I loved - I would not let anyone else in it - :crazy_face:

and I would never rent out a property for more than 6 months nowadays.


I think the biggest problem is that the OP only wants to rent it out for a relatively short period (up to two years maximum). Maybe they could persuade a gite management company to take it on for say two seasons with the hope that the basic costs are covered, anything beyond that would be a bonus.

they say they are to become owners of their dream house…

Might turn out to be a nightmare - I wouldn’t risk it.

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Under French law, the minimum rental term for a furnished let that’s not registered as tourist accommodation is normally 1 year. There are exceptions for certain categories of tenant eg students.
You can unofficially agree the tenant will leave after 6 months but by law the contract has to say 12 months and if they don’t leave after 6 you can’t make them, the law would not be on your side.

And the maximum rental for a holiday home is three months at a time. Don’t be tempted to agree more as the contracts are not suitable and if person refuses to budge you will have a problem.

It really depends where your house is and what the local market is like as to whether best for a furnished (meublée) 12 months at a time rental, unfurnished 3 years, or holiday rentals.

I would suggest that you need to ask local agents for their take on the market. Renting as a holiday home is easy, but if you are paying both marketing and management fees you will probably only just cover costs unless the house is at the luxury end of market.

So many responses - thank you to everyone who has taken the time.

I realise that I might not have been clear enough in my first post. My partner and I would like to rent out our home on a short term basis only (max 1-2 weeks) for tourists.

I understand from Anna’s response that we would need to register our property as a tourist accommodation in this case.

I will look into this and also try to find some gite management companies that could assist us.

My worry was that we will not have enough time to register/set up the property as a tourist accomodation/gite business as we have only limited time in France (because we are both working 7 hours away from France). So during the 2-3 weeks time that we can take off work we will have to make sure that our property is decorated (furniture only) and conforms in order to be rented for tourists.

Registering as a gîte takes very little time. You hand in a form to the Marie and that’s about it.

Here’s the form and the page includes a link to further advice.

Obviously there are some rules, for example if you have a swimming pool security measures are quite strict. But otherwise it’s very much up to you. Look for local management agents who should provide advice.

Also research your local competition. Gone are the days when you can rent out no matter what. People are much more particular now about what equipment they expect, and things like internet/wifi are pretty essential. And if a place for more than a couple then dishwashers and washings machines would be expected unless rock bottom price.


Thank you Jane! That’s very helpful.

Oh, and the other essential is making sure your house insurance covers running house as a gite

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Do not let the property out on a long-term unfurnished let unless you are prepared to deal with all the formalities, get personal and financial references and deal with the consequences of a bad tenant.

Even a furnished let is quite onerous, certainly not as simple as it was a few years ago.

Whichever way you go you don’t need to set up a business and , depending on where you live, there may not be a requirement to register at the Marie etc. Declaring the income to the French tax authorities will be required.

Holiday let’s are easier and less restrictive.

However, holiday tenants from the UK can be very demanding in terms of the level of furnishing/equipment. Whe we started renting gites in France 20-odd years ago a washing machine was a luxury - DVD players, fancy TVs, telephone… were not even thought of.

These days many seem to want a bit of UK subrbia set in the French countryside.

And french even more so…particularly for details like black-out blinds, the right type of firmness of pillow, a raclette, plancha, posh salad spinner. Mind you we don’t have english clients often so perhaps they are more exigent but I just don’t know.

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