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What Constitutes a Furnished Letting?

Friday 02 October 2015

New regulations stipulate the minimum requirements for a rental property to be granted the legal and tax status of being a furnished letting.

Just what constitutes a 'location meublée' in French law has given rise to numerous court cases in the past, as it has never been formally defined in statute and there have been conflicting legal judgements on the question.

The issue has not been simply a semantic one, for it has had significant fiscal and legal implications. The tax treatment of furnished and unfurnished rentals is not the same, and tenants have had stronger security of tenure and other rights in an unfurnished letting.

With recent changes in the law, particularly through the Loi Alur 2014, the legal nuances have become less important, but the fiscal distinctions continue to exist.

So in order to pacify relations between landlords and tenants, and to bring an end to the uncertainty, the government have now decreed a minimum list of furniture and equipment that constitutes a furnished letting for a tenant occupying the property as their principal home.

There are 11 items that now constitute the definition, whether for an apartment or for a house.

The list remains surprisingly modest, although there is a catch-all clause, which states that 'chaque pièce d'un logement meublé est équipée d'éléments de mobilier conformes à sa destination', which may well later be subject to judicial interpretation.

The list is as follows:

  • Bedding (including duvet or blanket)
  • Shutters or curtains in the bedroom
  • Cooker or micro-wave oven
  • Refrigerator and freezer or fridge with freezer
  • Cutlery set
  • Kitchen utensiles
  • Table and chairs
  • Shelves
  • Lighting
  • Household cleaning equipment

All of the items are required to be in full working order at the start of the tenancy but no quantities are stated.

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