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Houses rent Languedoc Roussillon

The legal issues accommodation for rent in Languedoc Roussillon, South France

 


  Rules and regulations

 

As you might expect, there are umpteen rules and regulations that apply to accommodation for rent in Languedoc Roussillon. If you’re buying French bricks and mortar in order to offer holiday accommodation, you’d better make sure you can do this – legally – before you put pen to paper; alternatively, make getting permission to run your gîte business a condition of the sale.

 


  Registering as a business

 

You don’t necessarily have to register your accommodation for rent in Languedoc as a business, unless it’s going to be your only (or main) source of income. As different departments seem to make up or at least interpret the rules as they go along (get used to it - it happens a lot in France), you’re best off popping along to your mairie (town hall) where you can get the lowdown on the relevant authorities for your particular situation, in your particular part of France.

 


  Getting permission

 

If you’re buying an apartment within a building, development or complex with a view to letting it out, check to make sure there are no restrictions on this front. Similarly, you’ll need written permission from your mortgage provider, if you’ve taken a loan to cover the cost of your purchase.


  Long lets versus short lets

 

Be aware that there’s a world of difference between long lets (i.e. more than three months) and short lets when in comes to accommodation for rent in Languedoc. Decide which is most appropriate to your property and situation.


  Long-term lets

 

If you want to let out accommodation for rent in Languedoc Roussillon on a longer basis (e.g. over the winter months, to relocators) you’ll need to look carefully at the legalities. Different legislation applies according to whether the property is furnished or not, and the length of the lease. Long-term unfurnished letting is usually for a minimum of three years; long-term furnished letting is normally for more than three months. There are also different tax rules which are too complex to detail here; to get into the nitty-gritty, read Earning Money From Your French Home by Jo Taylor (Survival Books, £11.95).


  Contracts

 

The booking is made by signing a contract, or by exchange of letters. Two copies of the contract (or letter) must be signed when the deposit is paid; one copy is given to the client. The contract/letter must detail the duration of the rental, the price (not variable according to number of occupants), the responsibilities of owner and tenant, deposit and guarantee details, cancellation conditions, and details of taxe de séjour if applicable (it’s up to the local commune whether they charge this holiday tax; ask at the mairie if it applies in your area).


  Property description

 

This has to include the address of the accommodation for rent in Languedoc, the nature and standard (and grade, if applicable), the arrangement of the interior and furnishings, and the terms and price of the rental and any extras.


  Deposits

 

In France, there are two kinds of booking deposit, namely arrhes (pronounced “arrr”) and acompte (pronounced however you like, but usually as it’s spelled). If you pay the former, you lose it – all of it – if you cancel, at any time. Bummer. If the owner of the accommodation for rent in Languedoc cancels (which seems unlikely, unless you get all befuddled and double-book), they must pay you twice the amount of the deposit. If, on the other hand, you pay an acompte and you cancel, you must pay the whole amount due; if the owner cancels, he can simply return the deposit, although the client can claim damages (though frankly, would you?). And if the type of deposit isn’t specified, it’s presumed to be arrhes. So if your contract is in English (which it may well be, as many of your clients will be anglophone), you need to spell out the conditions. If it’s you, the owner, taking the booking deposit, you can ask for as much (or as little) as you like, when you like. If it’s being handled by an agent, the deposit cannot be more than 25 per cent of the total cost, nor can it be taken more than six months up front. 


  Security deposits

 

It’s wise to take a security deposit for your accommodation for rent in Languedoc, in case anything gets damaged or broken. If you’re handling the bookings direct, ask for a deposit to be paid on entering the property, and make sure you provide a receipt (you’re allowed to bank the deposit, by the way). The security deposit is normally returned at the end of the stay, less an amount for any damage or out-of-the-ordinary costs incurred by your tenants (the contract must specify the time for the deposit to be returned).


  Cancellation

 

Naturally bookings for accommodation for rent in Languedoc Roussillon can be cancelled, even if a deposit has been paid, but the penalties will depend on what kind of deposit was paid (see point 8 above), and the conditions specified by you, the owner, in the contract.

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