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Tips on getting more from holiday lettings agents - in Languedoc Roussillon, South France

 

Who to use?

Your options for using a holiday lettings agents to rent out your holiday home in Languedoc-Roussillon, south France are many and varied. Apart from the two best-known, French government-approved organisations Gîtes de France (www.gites-de-france.fr) and Clévacances (www.clevacances.com), there are a number of companies that operate as holiday letting agents, including French estate agents. Be aware that the law relating to holiday lettings agencies in Languedoc Roussillon is currently under review and it looks as though only registered estate agents will be allowed to let property in the near future; make sure you use holiday lettings agency whose staff have a carte professionnelle.

 

Who does what?

Some holiday lettings agents are stronger in certain regions such as Languedoc Roussillon, or the South of France; others cover the whole of France. Bowhills (www.bowhills.co.uk) for example are strongest in the Dordogne, Provence, Languedoc and Brittany. South France Villas (www.southfrancevillas.com) handle properties in Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence Cote d'Azure. Some holiday lettings agencies specialise in certain types of accommodation (Easycottages offers a selection of cottages in the UK, Ireland and France, while Welcome Cottages offer less expensive properties). As its name suggests, the Crème de Languedoc website specializes in the south of France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region; it offers holiday rentals from private owners and lettings agencies, and includes some of the very best Languedoc holiday rental homes, and showcases them in a highly informative and attractive way, to provide visitors with a maximum of information.

 

What it cost

Fees vary widely from one holiday letting agency to another in Languedoc, but a commission of between 20% and 40% of the gross rental income is standard. Only you will be able to calculate whether this means you will earn less than you would be going it alone, depending on the factors outlined in Renting Out Your Languedoc Holiday Home – The Financial Issues.

 

Choosing a holiday rentals agent

Each of the holiday lettings agencies in Languedoc will have its own specific requirements, but practically all will ask that your French holiday home be available to rent throughout the high season (July and August). Some will send a representative to inspect your property, sometimes on an annual basis. To sort the wheat from the chaff, try asking the following questions of an agent:

 

  • Do they advertise in national press?
  • Do they produce a colour brochure?
  • Do they have quality standards?
  • Do they provide an owners’ helpline?
  • Do they have representatives in France?
  • Are they registered in France?
  • Do they provide checklists for owners?
  • Do they provide an online booking service with payment by credit or debit card?

 

Are you up to scratch?

Rumour has it that top holiday letting agencies politely decline as many as 90 per cent of the vacation rental properties they’re offered, because they simply don’t meet their standards. Gîtes de France are renowned for their stringent demands when it comes to things like pillow slips and mattress covers; I recently met an outraged gîte owner who had been told her property – which is downright gorgeous, by the way – did not meet GdF standards due to lack of a bedside table. She promptly bought one, and if you’re ever in the Beaujolais region, I urge you to visit the Domaine Pouilly le Chatel (www.pouillylechatel.com) and check out their fine selection of bedside furniture.

 

The splash factor

In the warmer parts of France, a swimming pool is pretty much a prerequisite to renting via a holiday lettings agency; if your Languedoc holiday rental has a pool or within 20 minutes of a beach or river, you can count yourself lucky. If this isn’t the case, you might end up having to market your property yourself, or add an attractive, distinctive feature (like what the French call a cuisine d’été, which is proper, built-in barbecue area) that compensates for the lack of splash factor.

 

Get your timing right

If you want your holiday home in Languedoc Roussillon, south France, to feature in holiday agents brochures, you must get your timing right. Contact them in the summer before the year in which you wish to start letting; deadlines are usually August.

 

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