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Differences In Owning Property In France Versus The UK


A look at the differences in owning a house in France and the UK…

Many readers of this blog will be those of us who have taken the plunge, and decided to purchase their own dream property in France. This group will know all too well about the subtle differences in property ownership that become evident, after you’ve nipped over la Manche. But what about those of us who are yet to take the plunge? If you’re thinking about joining the 200,000 of your fellow Brits who are there already, a little bit of sage advice might be required when it comes to buying and owning a house in France.

If you are wanting to go for ‘l’expérience française’, you could always consider following the continental trend and renting your property. Though, admittedly this might not be a viable option for those who are looking to purchase a French property as part of a retirement plan. If you end up buying a house in France you may find that you are in the minority, among your continental contemporaries, as house ownership is a typically British trait, as encouraged by the government under Margaret Thatcher, throughout the 1980’s.

In the UK, the lending criteria associated with securing a mortgage are typically related to income multiples. In France, however the approach is somewhat different. Mortgage providers in France will want monthly payments on a mortgage to equate to no more than a third of the buyers gross monthly income. This is in addition to an existing mortgage, rent, or consumer credit outgoings. Luckily, there are some handy tips on applying for a French mortgage already on this site.

So, whether you’ve opted for a rustic gîte in Brittany, an apartment in Lyon, or a villa in the outskirts of Montpellier, what else should you consider before scanning the used car magazines for a Citroën 2CV? All residential property is subject to ‘Taxe d’Habitation’ (local tax), and ‘Taxe Foncière’ (land tax). Ensure you consult the French Taxation website before you are hit with any unexpected bills from the French Inland Revenue service.

When it comes to utilities, there is a good chance that EDF will be the supplier of your electricity. If you require information from your supplier, and your French is a little ropey, EDF have a handy English help-line which can be reached on 0033 5621 64908. When it comes to gas, like the UK, you’ll be connected to a metered mains supply that can be paid quarterly or through a direct debit. Some more useful English speaking helplines can be found here.

Hopefully this info will go some way to helping you make a more informed decision when it comes to selling up and buying your dream house in France. Bon courage!

Chris Smith is a blogger and writer who focuses on financially related sports stories and passing on money saving & making advice

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