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PROPERTY

French property roundup: Villages advertising for buyers and shared second-home schemes

From the French communes that are advertising themselves to buyers to tax reminders and new options for people to purchase second homes, we take a look at what's happening in French property news this week.

Shared second-home ownership schemes target areas like France's Ile de Ré.
Shared second-home ownership schemes target areas like France's Ile de Ré. Photo: Xavier Leoty/AFP

French villages appealing for residents

We’ve already seen this in Spain and Italy, but now several French communes that are rapidly shrinking are appealing for people to move there.

The communes of Lure and Jussey, both in Haute-Saône in eastern France, have organised an ‘opération séduction‘ to try and attract property buyers. Organised by the local authorities with real estate agents, they conduct open house operations to show off the type of property on offer. Find out more here.

Three more French cities bring in rent controls

Rent controls are already in place in Paris and Lille, but now local authorities in Lyon, Bordeaux and Montpellier have gained permission to follow suit.

The stated aim of all three cities is to bring back residents to the city centres, where they are increasingly being priced out of the market.

Each city will set a ‘ceiling’ rate according to the neighbourhood, with fines for landlords who do not comply.

Let’s move to . . . Lyon

And if reducing rent prices aren’t enough, here’s a few reasons why you might want to move to France’s ‘foodie capital’ of Lyon. As well as the amazing food, there is the beautiful city centre, fascinating history and lots to do. Lyon resident Aga Marchewka explains why she believes everyone should move to Lyon.

Shares in second homes

If you would love a second home in the French countryside, or by the beach, but don’t quite have that amount of cash, two new companies have launched a ‘shared’ second home scheme.

Startups Altacasa and Prello both work on a model of shared ownership of a property by up to eight people, with the companies offering the logistical support around bookings, changeover and cleaning.

So it’s sort of halfway between having your own place and accessing an Airbnb, although both companies say they are aiming for the ‘high end’ market with locations including the Île de Ré, the island off the coast of La Rochelle beloved by wealthy Parisian second-home owners.

TV licence reminder

Bills will shortly be coming for the French TV licence. This is paid by almost all households and second-home owners – even if you never watch French TV.

The TV licence was previously added to the taxe d’habitation bill, but although around 80 percent of households no longer pay this, the TV licence is still compulsory for most people. There are a few exemptions, however, click here for details. 

Garden access

For many people buying rural properties, a garden is a must, but if you live in the city it can be more of a problem. You need to be spending some quite serious money before you find properties with gardens in cities including Paris (or you could just become the president, the Elysée Palace has very nice gardens).

Fortunately there is an alternative – either get an allotment or get involved in one of the increasing number of community gardens in cities. Here’s how to get on the list.

French property vocab 

If you’re buying a property in a rural area, you will probably need to get up to speed on la fosse septique or septic tank. Properties in rural areas generally don’t connect directly to the sewage system, so you will need your own tank, usually buried in the garden.

Owning a fosse coming with responsibilities such as having it regularly emptied, and even affects your weekly shop as some toilet cleaning products are not suitable for use with a fosse, so always check the bottles.

If you need to have a new one installed, you need to contact your local préfecture for guidance as there are a lot of rules and processes to follow. 

Property Tip of the Week

Energy bills have risen sharply recently and look fairly sure to continue rising. If you’re concerned about the cost of heating your home this winter, check our guide to keeping your energy bills low, and see whether you might be eligible for government help with the cost of your bills.

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ENERGY

France offers grants up to €1,500 to replace oil-fired boilers

Financial aid of up to €1,500 is temporarily available to households looking to replace oil-fired boilers with a more environmentally friendly heating systems. 

France offers grants up to €1,500 to replace oil-fired boilers

The temporary ‘coup de boost’ aims to encourage households to replace their oil-fired heating systems (chauffauge au fioul) and is in addition to the ‘coup de pouce chauffage’ (heating helping hand) scheme that is already underway to help under the energy saving certificates scheme (CEE).

All households that are primary residences – this aid is not available to second-home owners – equipped with an oil-fired boiler can benefit, with the amount for which they are eligible means-tested according to household resources and the replacement system chosen. 

Households with modest incomes benefit from a higher premium.

To benefit from the new temporary bonus, households must replace their individual oil-fired boiler with a more environmentally friendly heating system:

  • heat pump (air/water or hybrid);
  • combined solar system;
  • biomass boiler (wood or pellets);
  • connection to a heating network supplied mainly by renewable or recovered energy.

The total amount of financial help from the two schemes is €4,000 to €5,000 for low-income households; and from €2,500 to €4,000 for middle and high-income households.

For the connection of an individual house to a heating network, the amount of the bonus increases from €700 to €1,000 for low-income households; and from €450 to €900 for middle and high income households.

Estimates for the replacement of an oil-fired boiler must be accepted between October 29th, 2022, and June 30th, 2023, and work must be completed by December 31st, 2023.

The Coup de boost fioul aid can also be combined with MaPrimeRénov to replace an oil-fired boiler, meaning the least well-off households in France can benefit from aid of up to €16,000 to replace an oil-fired boiler with a pellet boiler or a combined solar system.

Since mid-April 2022, MaPrimeRénov’ financial aid has increased by an additional €1,000 for the installation of a renewable energy boiler. This can now reach €11,000 for the most efficient boilers (pellet boiler, combined solar system) and for households with modest incomes.

It must be noted that the installation of a very high energy performance gas boiler will no longer be eligible for MaPrimeRénov’ as of January 1st, 2023.

Find more details on the scheme HERE.

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