4. Contract Conditions when Buying Property in France

  1. Conditional Clauses
  2. Cooling Off Period
  3. Options to Buy
  4. Deposit
  5. Statutory Disclosures
  6. Local Rates
  7. Fixtures/Fittings

4.6. Responsibility for Local Rates

As a home owner in France you are liable to two local taxes – taxe foncière and the taxe d’habitation, although the latter has been abolished for principal residences.

The amount of both taxes will depend on where you live and the size of the property. In the past, properties located in the countryside have benefited from a generally low level of rates.

However, local rates (and particularly the taxe foncière) have risen significantly in recent years. So ask the seller for a sight of the most recent tax demands.

It may also be the case that the seller has carried out major improvements to the property, which have not been declared to the tax authority, as a result of which the current rates payable are lower than they should be.

If the house has not changed hands over many years, the tax authority do routinely send a new owner a demand (Form H1) for information on the characteristics of the property, which may result in an increase in the rateable value.

On the sale of a property, it is not unusual for the purchaser to be asked to pay their proportionate share of the taxe foncière (but not taxe d'habitation) and other charges if a copropriété. The applicable date for the spilt is the completion date of the sale. The agreement on sharing of the rates bill will need to be included in the sale and purchase contract.

You can read more about rates and local taxes in France, in our Guide to Local French Property Taxes.

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