I would like to advise anybody intending to rent out property in France, either houses or apartments, for long term habitation of serious problems that have arisen for us over the years.
We moved to France almost eleven years ago having sold our house in Ireland. At that time prices were good and we came away with a reasonable amount from the sale. Instead of investing all of it in a new home for us we decided to purchase property for investment using other monies as well. Over the years we have done reasonably well, renting out two sets of three apartments in different towns, for long term rentals. This was a deliberate decision not to look for holiday rentals as we didn't want to be tied to our region in summer (doing changeovers) and having empty buildings in winter. Our apartments are not luxurious, basic but not the cheapest around. We have tried to do them up well and keep them maintained.
Our worst problem is tenants who do not pay the rent. You get a deposit and if lucky a committment from a state agency, such as CAF or MSA to pay a percentage, often the greater part of the monthly rent and the tenant makes up the difference. However every year this can be reviewed, payments from the agencies decrease or even cease. Maybe the tenant loses what income they had or just decide not to pay. At the moment we have an apartment empty with no income for over a year because the tenant refused to pay, pleading inability; the agency transferred the payments to another landlord because they had been told the tenant had left. We have no rights to enter, repossess or empty the apartment because the tenant has not annulled the lease. We have lost over €3000 in rent, had to pay hundreds of Euros to go to court and still wait for an eviction order, after 14 months. The state is very much on the side of the tenant and as landlord you are regarded as the rich capitalist milking the poor renter. We have had problems in other ways before with management fees in another building, tenants who trash the rooms and leave you with a deposit of a few hundred Euros for refurbishment and so on. At this stage I have had it with trying to be a decent landlord and just want to sell my properties and use the money for my enjoyment not to be a slave to the system in France. I write this just as a warning to others. You have very few rights as a landlord in France!!