Guide to Letting Property in France

6. Finding a Tenant

  1. Decide Your Market
  2. Internet Sites
  3. Newspapers/Magazines
  4. Estate Agents

6.1. Decide Your Market

The main sources for finding a tenant are clearly going to depend on the type of property you have to offer, its location and the type of tenant you are seeking.

A prestigious flat in the centre of Paris may need to be advertised nationally, whilst a small village house in a rural location may only require an advert on the local notice board.

You also need to decide whether you are going to let the property furnished or unfurnished and whether you intend to advertise to an international market.

Most of the demand from the French community is for unfurnished property, whilst most international tenants seek furnished lettings.

Nevertheless, there is an increasing market for unfurnished property from international tenants who rent a property whilst they decide finally if they really want to relocate and, if so, take their time about finding a suitable property.

Many expat landlords have generally considered that it is safer to let furnished property as the law is less severe.

This is not so as, provided the property is their principal home, tenants of a furnished letting are afforded similar protection to that of tenants in an unfurnished letting.

6.2. Use of Internet

There are a large number of English based web sites that advertise property for rent and there are also some French sites that you can use.

With few exceptions, advertising on these sites for long term lets is a waste of time, as they do not get the traffic. The cheaper they are, the more likely it is that they are incapable of ever being able to produce a successful result.

Moreover, the marketing focus of most of these sites is on the short term holiday market so, if you are looking to let on a long term basis to the international market, there are not many sites available.

As a general rule, local French people seeking somewhere to rent on a long term basis look to newspapers and magazines.

Clearly, however, most newspaper adverts are now advertised simultaneously on the Internet, so this may all that is necessary to reach this market.

They have the capacity to attract those relocating to an area as well as advertising directly to those already living locally.

Perhaps the best French national Internet site for lettings is that of Particulier à Particulier a national property listings magazine which has a basic web site advertising the properties.

However, you will find that most of their properties are located in Paris or other major cities, so check what they have to offer in your area before placing an advert.

We hope you will consider advertising on our own site, as we have a dedicated rental section, for both holiday and long-term lettings.

Even though you may have let your property you would be well advised to maintain a regular advert on one or more web sites and to advertise in a newspaper from time to time.

By doing so you will then be able to keep an eye on the level of demand in the marketplace.

Try varying the rent levels of the advert and see what difference this makes to the level of interest in your property.

6.3. Use of Newspapers/Magazines

In relation to the press then, unless you have a particularly special property, or one located in Paris, it is likely to be a waste of time to advertise in the French national newspapers. Instead, advertise in regional and local newspapers, or specialist French property magazines.

Their rates are more attractive and most people looking for somewhere to rent use them rather than the national newspapers.

If you are looking to attract those thinking of relocating from abroad then you could also advertise in one or another of the monthly English 'glossies' on France.

For local tenants the best advertising outlet is often the local free local newspapers, which you will find distributed around in shops and public places. These are also often the best indicator of the level of rents in the area and the type and level of supply.

6.4. Use of Estate Agents

Instead of (or in addition to) advertising, you can also consider going through an estate agent.

If you do so then the fees are freely negotiable and you will need to sign a mandate giving the agent authority to find a tenant.

Do not give the agent exclusivity on finding a tenant or you will find yourself having to pay them a fee if you find one from elsewhere.

The law provides that, where the letting is to be the principal residence of the tenant, then the costs of an intermediary are shared between the landlord and the tenant.

These costs include any associated with the preparation of the tenancy agreement.

Accordingly, whilst you may choose to pay all of the costs, you cannot impose all of the costs on the prospective tenant. Clearly, if your negotiating position is weak then you may find yourself landed with all of the costs.

Even though you may not want to use a local estate agent, visit their offices and discuss with them the option of doing so, as it will provide you with invaluable information on the local market.

Next: Tenant Selection

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