For members


French property roundup: New rules on mortgages and those dreaded ‘dossiers’

From new rules on Airbnb rentals to your checklist of pre-move admin and extra laws for homes in the mountains, here is our French property roundup for the week.

French property
Photo: Sebastian Bozon/AFP

Minimum income

New rules on getting a mortgage mean that buyers now need to be earning an average of at least €30,000 a year to qualify for a first-time-buyer mortgage in France, according to research from the property team at Le Figaro.

New rules mean that mortgage lenders have become tougher on minimum income levels in France.

The research shows that anyone wanting to buy in Paris would need a minimum income of €60,000 for a first-time buyer, while the cheapest region is the northern Hauts-de-France area, where buyers would need to be on €22,000 a year.

Find the full list here.

Paris to intensify crackdown on Airbnb

The city of Paris already has some of the toughest rules on renting out your property on Airbnb, as city bosses have waged a lengthy struggle against the online platform.

But now authorities want to introduce a new ‘compensation zone’ which will make it even more difficult to rent out properties in the most popular areas, including Marais, Montmartre, the Champs-Élysées and the Latin Quarter.

These will be voted on by City Hall in December. 

READ ALSO What are the rules on renting out French property on Airbnb?

Let’s move to . . . the Paris suburbs

If you want to move to Paris but been put off by the price of property, try having a look outside the périphérique.

Technically, only the area that is inside the ring road is Paris, the rest is suburbs – but because Paris is a very small city as capitals go, the suburbs are often still within easy commuting or even walking distance of the city centre.

The inner suburbs – known as the petite-couronne – are formed of three départements; Val-de-Marne, Hauts-de-Seine and Seine-Saint-Denis, while the outer suburbs are Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Essonne and Val-de-Oise. 

The inner suburbs in particular are mostly accessible on the Metro lines and so are an easy commute. Prices drop dramatically as soon as you cross the périphérique so it’s well worth taking a look at the areas.

The banlieues, as the suburbs are known, don’t always have the best reputation, but while it’s true that there are some rough areas, particularly in Seine-Saint-Denis, there are also lots of lovely areas that offer larger properties, more green space and something of the feel of small-town France.

Here’s our pick of some of the best areas.

READ ALSO Banlieue boom: No, Paris’ suburbs are not all deprived and crime-ridden

Before you move 

Here at The Local we’re obviously big fans of starting a new life in a new country, but before you make the move there are some boring but important practicalities that you need to consider.

From legal residency to income, from making friends to selecting a place to live, we’ve put together a guide to the 10 things that you really need to think about before moving to France.

French property vocab 

Dossier – this won’t just come in handy for property, a dossier is essential for all sorts of things in France. The word itself simply means file but the true meaning of dossier in French is much more wide-ranging.

When completing almost all admin tasks – including buying, selling or renting property – you will need to prepare a dossier of documents in order to complete the task. The documents required will vary but will almost always include a passport for ID, proof of address such as a utility bill and bank details. Make sure when submitting an application that you include all the documents asked for it you don’t want to hear the most blood-curdling phrase in the French language – votre dossier est incomplet

Property tip of the week 

If you’re buying in the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura or Massif Central, be aware of the Loi Montagne. The ‘mountain laws’ cover all sorts of things from what building work you can do on your house, to your car.

A series of extra laws cover mountainous areas with things such as reinforced building codes in avalanche risk zones to compulsory winter tyres between November and March. So if you are buying in an elevated area, make sure to check whether your area is covered by mountain laws, and then familiarise yourself with them.

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For members


Plumbing Emergencies in France: Who to call and what to say

Plumbing ermergencies are common in France, so here's our guide to what to do, who to call and the phrases you will need if water starts gushing in unexpected areas.

Plumbing Emergencies in France: Who to call and what to say

How do I find a reliable plumber and avoid getting scammed?

First, try to stick with word-of-mouth if you can. Contact trusted individuals or resources, like your neighbours and friends, or foreigner-oriented Facebook groups for your area (ex. “American Expats in Paris”). This will help you find a more reliable plumber. If this is not an option for you, try “Pages Jaunes” (France’s ‘Yellow Pages’) to see reviews and plumbers (plomberie) in your area. 

Next, educate yourself on standard rates. If the situation is not an emergency, try to compare multiple plumbers to make sure the prices are in the correct range. 

Finally, always Google the name of the plumber you’ll be working with – this will help inform you as to whether anyone else has had a particularly positive (or negative) experience with them – and check that the company has a SIRET number.

This number should be on the work estimate (devis). You can also check them out online at If you want to be extra careful you can also ask to see their carte artisan BTP (craftsman card). 

READ MORE: What is a SIRET number and why is it crucial when hiring French tradesmen?

Who is responsible for paying for work?

If you own the property, you are typically the one who is responsible for financing the plumbing expenses.

However if you’re in a shared building, you must determine the cause and location of the leak. If you cannot find the origin of the leak, you may need a plumber to come and locate it and provide you with an estimate. You can use this estimate when communicating with insurance, should the necessity arise. 

If you are a renter, the situation is a bit more complicated. Most of the time, water damage should be the landlord’s responsibility, but there are exceptions.

The landlord is obliged to carry out major repairs (ex. Natural disaster, serious plumbing issues) that are necessary for the maintenance and normal upkeep of the rented premises (as per, Article 6C of the law of July 6, 1989). The tenant, however, is expected to carry out routine maintenance, and minor repairs are also to be paid by the tenant. If the problem is the result of the tenant failing to maintain the property, then it will be the tenant’s responsibility to cover the cost of the repair.

Legally speaking, it is also the tenant’s responsibility to get the boiler serviced once a year, as well as to maintain the faucets and joints, and to avoid clogging the pipes.

READ MORE: Assurance habitation: How to get home insurance in France

If you end up in dispute with your landlord over costs, you can always reach out to ADIL, the national Housing Association which offers free legal advice for housing issues in France. 

What happens if the leak is coming from my neighbour’s property?

Both you and your neighbour should contact your respective housing insurance companies and file the ‘sinistre’ (damage) with them.

If you both agree on the facts you can file an amiable (in a friendly fashion), then matters are much more simple and you will not have to go through the back-and-forth of determining fault.

If having a friendly process is not possible, be sure to get an expert to assert where the leak is coming from and file this with your insurance company.

As always, keep evidence (lists and photographs) of the damage. Keep in mind that many insurance providers have a limited number of days after the start of the damage that you can file. Better to do it sooner than later, partially because, as with most administrative processes in France, it might take a bit of time.


Plumbing has its own technical vocabulary so here are some words and phrases that you’re likely to need;

Hello, I have a leak in my home. I would like to request that a plumber come to give me an estimate of the damage and cost for repairs – Bonjour, j’ai une fuite chez moi. Je voudrais demander qu’un plombier vienne me donner une estimation des dégâts et du coût de la réparation. 

It is an emergency: C’est une urgence

I have no hot water: Je n’ai pas d’eau chaude

The boiler has stopped working: La chaudière ne fonctionne plus.

I cannot turn my tap off: Je ne peux pas arrêter le robinet.

The toilet is leaking: Mes toilettes fuient.

The toilet won’t flush/ is clogged: Mes toilettes sont bouchées

There is a bad smell coming from my septic tank: Il y a un mauvaise odeur provenant de ma fosse septique

I would like to get my electricity / boiler safety checked: Je souhaiterais une vérification de la sécurité de mon installation électrique / de ma chaudière

I can smell gas: Ca sent le gaz

My washing machine has broken: Ma machine a laver est cassée

Can you come immediately? Est-ce que vous pouvez venir tout de suite?

When can you come? Quand est-ce que vous pouvez venir?

How long will it take? Combien de temps cela prendra-t-il ?

How much do you charge? Quels sont vos prix? / Comment cela va-t-il coûter?

How can I pay you? Comment je peux vous payer ? 

Here are the key French vocabulary words for all things plumbing-related:

Dishwasher – Lave vaisselle

Bath – Baignoire

Shower – Douche

Kitchen Sink – Évier

Cupboard – Placard

Water meter – Compteur d’eau

The Septic Tank – La fosse septique

A leak – Une fuite

Bathroom sink – Le lavabo

The toilet – La toilette

Clogged – Bouché

To overflow – Déborder

A bad smell – Une mauvaise odeur

The flexible rotating tool used to unclog a pipe (and also the word for ferret in French) – Furet 

Water damage – Dégât des eaux

The damage – Le sinistre

And finally, do you know the French phrase Sourire du plombier? No, it’s not a cheerful plumber, it’s the phrase used in French for when a man bends down and his trouser waistband falls down, revealing either his underwear or the top of his buttocks. In Ebglish it’s builder’s bum, in French ‘plumber’s smile’.