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FRENCH PROPERTY

The ‘cheap’ way to get a second-home in France

Everything is relative when it comes to price, but several French start-ups are launching a new model that offers a cut-price way to get a luxury second-home in France.

The 'cheap' way to get a second-home in France
Illustration photo: Armand Khoury / Unsplash

The pandemic and linked rise of remote working have had an increasing number of people wondering whether they should invest in a getaway property.

But, while many people have some savings, most would not have enough to consider serious, high-end luxury, or in a sought-after location, such as the French coast.

But now, two property start-ups in France are trying to change that. They offer second-home hunters the chance to buy a part share in a luxury property – similar to a time share – that will make the dream accessible to more people. The greater the number of investors buying-in, the lower the price.

As well as price, the idea is sold on convenience, since the companies will take care of repairs and maintenance. 

The start-ups Prello and Altacasa both say – for a monthly fee on top of the price of a mortgage – to clean and maintain the property on buyers’ behalf, and to advertise for holiday rents when it would otherwise lie empty.

According to their figures, 13 percent of people in France own a second home, but spend – on average – 40 days or less a year at their getaway property. Meanwhile, some 40 percent of people dream of owning a place in the country or by the sea, or in the mountains.

A single share in a high-end luxury property gives the buyer the right to stay there for 44 nights per year, or an eighth of a year – assuming eight separate ‘buyers’. Two shares would mean 88 days, and so on. 

“The idea is really for the owners to make the most of their property without having to worry about the day-to-day running of the house,” Ludovic de Jouvancourt, co-creator of Prello told Le Parisien.

“And when no owner is at the property, we put it up for seasonal rental. Our profitability varies between 7 percent and 12 percent depending on the time of use.”

They say they try to carefully match investors in each property to cut down on periods when more than one owner might want to use it. 

“We ask detailed questions to each client in order to know their desires so as to put in the same house groups that do not have the same rhythm of life,” de Jouvancourt added. “We will mix couples with children, retired people, single couples… to make sure that periods like school vacations are not overbooked.” 

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For members

BREXIT

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Brexit hasn't just brought about changes in passport rules for humans, pets are also affected and now the French government has laid out the rules for pet passports for British second-home owners.

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Pre-Brexit, people travelling between France and the UK could obtain an EU Pet Passport for their car, dog or ferret which ensured a hassle-free transport experience.

But since the UK left the EU things have become more complicated – and a lot more expensive – for UK residents wanting to travel to France with pets.

You can find a full breakdown of the new rules HERE, but the main difference for people living in the UK is that that they now need an Animal Health Certificate for travel.

Unlike the Pet Passport, a new ACH is required for each trip and vets charge around £100 (€118) for the certificate. So for people making multiple trips a year, especially those who have more than one pet, the charges can quickly mount up.

UK nationals who live in France can still benefit from the EU Pet Passport, but until now the situation for second-home owners has been a little unclear.

However the French Agriculture ministry has now published updated information on its website.

The rules state: “The veterinarian can only issue a French passport to an animal holding a UK/EU passport issued before January 1st, 2021, after verifying that the animal’s identification number has been registered in the Fichier national d’identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD).”

I-CAD is the national database that all residents of France must register their pets in – find full details HERE.

The ministry’s advice continues: “If not registered, the veterinarian may proceed to register the animal in I-CAD, if the animal’s stay in France is longer than 3 consecutive months, in accordance with Article 22 of the AM of August 1st, 2012 on the identification of domestic carnivores.”

So if you are staying in France for longer than 90 days (which usually requires a visa for humans) your pet can be registered and get a Pet Passport, but those staying less than three months at a time will have to continue to use the AHC.

The confusion had arisen for second-home owners because previously some vets had been happy to issue the Passport using proof of a French address, such as utility bills. The Ministry’s ruling, however, makes it clear that this is not allowed.

So here’s a full breakdown of the rules;

Living in France

If you are living in France full time your pet is entitled to an EU Pet Passport regardless of your nationality (which means your pet has more travel rights than you do. Although they probably still rely on you to drive the car/book the ferry tickets).

Your cat, dog or ferret must be fully up to date with their vaccinations and must be registered in the national pet database I-CAD (full details here).

Once issued, the EU Pet Passport is valid for the length of the animal’s life, although you must be sure to keep up with their rabies vaccinations. Vets in France usually charge between €50-€100 for a consultation and completing the Passport paperwork.

Living in the UK

If you are living in the UK and travelling to France (or the rest of the EU) you will need an Animal Health Certificate for your cat, dog or ferret.

The vaccination requirements are the same as for the EU Pet Passport, but an ACH is valid for only 10 days after issue for entry to the EU (and then for four months for onward travel within the EU).

So if you’re making multiple trips in a year you will need a new certificate each time.

UK vets charge around £100 (€118) for a certificate, although prices vary between practices. Veterinary associations in the UK are also warning of delays in issuing certificates as many people begin travelling again after the pandemic (often with new pets bought during lockdown), so you will need to book in advance. 

Second-home owners

Although previously some French vets had been happy to issue certificates with only proof of an address in France, the French government has now clarified the rules on this, requiring that pets be registered within the French domestic registry in order to get an EU Pet Passport.

This can only be done if the pet is staying in France for more than three months. The three months must be consecutive, not over the course of a year.

UK pets’ owners will normally require a visa if they want to stay in France for more than three months at a time (unless they have dual nationality with an EU country) – find full details on the rules for people HERE.

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