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French property roundup: North-east bargains to rules for landlords

Rent controls have been extended to cities including Lyon.
Rent controls have been extended to cities including Lyon. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP
From flamenco-inspired architecture to property taxes and the vocabulary for making a sale, here is our weekly roundup of French property news.

Flamenco tower

If you’re on the lookout for a French property that’s truly different, check out this development in Montpellier, a tower inspired by the skirts of a Flamenco dancer.

“I wanted to cultivate the Mediterranean spirit and put a feminine touch on this movement,” Xavier Gonzalez, the Spanish-born architect behind the Higher Roch tower, told Le Figaro.

The 17-storey building containing 76 apartments is scheduled to open in spring 2022.

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Rent controls

Paris and Lille already had rent controls, although how effective the Parisian ones are is debatable, but from November 1st, local authorities in Lyon and Villeurbanne have also imposed price caps.

The controls, which affect new rental contracts, are decided by zones and by floor space of the property being rented out and sets a maximum price for landlords.

Taxes for second-home owners

If you buy property in France to keep as a second home you will still be liable for certain property taxes, some of which are due now. We have broken down which property taxes second-home owners pay and how much you can expect to pay, and we’re also looking at what you are entitled to in return for your taxes.

Winter truce

November 1st marks the beginning of the trêve hivernale (winter truce) during which it is illegal for landlords to evict tenants, even if they are in arrears with the rent.

It’s one of several ways in which property law is weighted towards the tenant in France, so if you’re planning to rent out your French property make sure you familiarise yourself with the rules in advance – getting rid of a bad tenant can be difficult.

Let’s move to . . . Nord

The north-east of France is often overlooked by foreign buyers, and is sometimes rather snobbishly dismissed by the rest of France, but there are good reasons to consider a move there.

Not only is property reasonably priced, but for Brits it has great connections to travel back to the UK. But practical considerations aside, the area has a lot going for it – from a satellite of the Louvre to delicious local cuisine and a fine brewing tradition. Lille resident Martin Greenacre explains more.

French property vocab

Offre d’achat – if you’re buying property in France you will definitely need to know this. The process of buying property in France goes in two stages – first the offre d’achat and then the promesse de vente and there’s usually a gap of about three months between the two. The gap is to give the buyer time to decide whether they want to go through with the purchase, but there are legally binding obligations at both stages, plus a specific timetable to hand over the money – full details here.

Property tip of the week

If you’re buying in a rural area, make sure you are aware of la chasse during the season. Hunting is a very popular hobby in France and la chasse generally means shooting.

Whether or not you’re in favour of hunting, it pays to know when the hunt is in your local area, as not all hunters with guns are very scrupulous about health and safety, and every year there are accidents when dog-walkers, hikers and cyclists get caught in the crossfire. Here’s how to keep safe during the hunting season.


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