Sorry, I know this has been a frequent topic of conversation lately - not least by yours truly.
Buy yesterday we went rental property hunting and hit the Immobilieres in Merignac Bordeaux. We were given much the same story by all six we visited, and it has left us flummoxed and not quite knowing how to proceed.
First agent we talked to was great until we told them we were relying on my UK pensions (some €2000 per month), savings of some €25k and UK earning I get from a pat time consultancy job (roughly another €2000 per month). I have put figures in so you can see that it is not a lack of funding that is the problem. All the above is documented in various forms.
Once she found we don't have a French income and therefore don't pay French taxes currently, she told us that the insurance the vast majority of landlords are now required to take out precludes us from renting from them - the insurance company rather than the landlord makes a decision on suitability of tenants.
We got more or less the same story from another four agents – with minor differences in interpretation. The sixth told us that as we didn't pay French taxes then it was against the law for her to rent us a property! By then, and despite the ridiculousness of her statement, we had lost the will to argue.
So four hours of going round Immobilieres gave us nothing but the fact that we seemingly cannot rent a property in France if we do not pay French taxes! One agent did say that 90% of landlords have such insurance, 10% seemingly don't and it wouldn't be such a problem to rent from them if they thought us a reasonable risk as tenants. The others didn't mention this and when we tried to ask one, they just said no, we must be paying French taxes to rent.
We offered to pay a 'caution' - so the 6-12 months of rent left with a third party bank to give the landlord some security, but were told NO, this is no longer possible under the new laws.
Now we do intend to set up a business in France. But even if we were to start tomorrow, it is unlikely that we would be paying French taxes in the next six months.
We only have a six month contract on the apartment we are in at Park and Suites, and we do need to find a property to move into by end April 2015.
I know we could hit the private landlord trail (so particulaires) but our French isn’t up to it right now – lessons begin in January.
So can anyone give us advice on how to get round this apparent log jam we are experiencing?
What we could do with is finding an English speaking landlord that had places to rent in Bordeaux – problem solved – but what we actually really want is an expat who speaks good French to accompany us on a visit to the next set of Immobilieres, so we can better understand the reality of the situation and put our case to at least see the 10% of non-insured properties they may have.
If said French speaking expat could also help us in finding and meeting some particulaires in Bordeaux and getting to view their properties, so much the better.
We are more than happy to pay for someone’s time, and it would be money well spent if we are able to secure a permanent property.
Can anyone help us here?
Shaun and Ness