PDA

View Full Version : Rental property in France



Pika1971
15-09-2006, 16:30 PM
Hi,
I recently bought a small studio apartment in Bourg Saint Maurice, a ski resort in France. My intention was to rent it through a local agent, but after hearing bad reports about them and considering the % they take I am considering renting it directly myself.
The marketing of it I am happy with, but its how to hand over keys, and get cleaning done, basically the stuff the agent would do.
Am I on a hiding to nothing and have no choice than to deal with the agents, or has someone been successful renting holiday lets long distance?
Any advice would be appreciated:confused:

MrShed
15-09-2006, 16:58 PM
I think it would be very wise to use an agent if you have a property in another country. Certainly, if you lived elsewhere and were wanting to manage a property in the UK you would find it very difficult not using an agent. And it would be somewhat more complex the other way around!

islandgirl
15-09-2006, 17:38 PM
Not quite as long distance but our holiday let is 300 miles and a ferry ride away! We have our own website and handle all bookings ourselves. You do however need a really good person at the other end who you trust. The only thing which needs doing is the cleaning between lets and general repairs etc if anything is damaged. Our person invoices us for the hours worked and is 100% to be trusted. Having said that it is obviously hard to find someone you can trust to that extent!

Jennifer_M
15-09-2006, 17:56 PM
Having said that it is obviously hard to find someone you can trust to that extent!

That's why if one doesn't know such a person one should hire a professional company with a contract so if anything goes wrong there's the legal system to solve issues.

islandgirl
15-09-2006, 20:36 PM
Mmm, that would be a foreign legal system with little chance of recovery of money would it? And they would cover the damage caused by those who rented would they? Good if you can find them but doubt it is that simple!

MrShed
15-09-2006, 21:12 PM
Probably purely because it is a foreign legal system is a good enough reason alone to retain a local agent.

Jennifer_M
15-09-2006, 22:48 PM
Mmm, that would be a foreign legal system with little chance of recovery of money would it? And they would cover the damage caused by those who rented would they? Good if you can find them but doubt it is that simple!

Why, they don't have courts in France ?? Actually, yes even in France if someone doesn't keep his part of the contract you can take him to court !

And the job of the agent is to actually take a deposit for the property in case there is some damage. As for any other let there are risks and dealing with the tenants yourself won't remove the risk.
Also an agent will have all the details of the people renting the place before the actual let. In the case of foreign tourists renting the place, payment would more than likely be by credit card and that is some security in itself.

The idea of an agent is that he'll look after getting the place cleaned between lets, he'll be there to answer tenant's questions and get problems fixed promptly.
Try and get the shower/toilets etc. fixed in France by yourself when you're in England and at work and your usual local plumber has decided to go on holidays like many do in the middle of August.
If you have a trutworthy friend to do it for free then you're lucky, otherwise pay for the peace of mind.

islandgirl
16-09-2006, 11:11 AM
Hi Jennifer - as a fluent French speaker who has lived in the country I perhaps know more than most about the strengths (and weaknesses!) of the French system. I take my own deposit against damage for my holiday let but nothing is risk free, agent or no agent. I have all the details of those renting my property before the let (how else would I send them the booking form and get them to sign the contract???) I have had people from Germany Holland and Canada renting my place - no problem whatsoever with payments and I dont have credit card facilities - BACs is a wonderful invention! My "employee" is there to look after the place, do repairs and fix anything which breaks as well as to help my guests if they need help. Without someone local who knows and cares about your property getting plumbing fixed would be a nightmare I agree! Hence my point about having someone you work with on a one to one basis. You have sadly misunderstood - it is not a "friend" who looks after the place and cleans it but someone I pay to do so. I trust them to bill for the hours they spend. We have a one to one working relationship and I would argue that that is better than any agency could offer. I do pay for peace of mind - a specific person who looks after the place on my behalf. Agents may have their merits but my holiday let is in such a wild beautiful and sparsely populated place they don't exist. A bientot.

islandgirl
16-09-2006, 11:37 AM
"Am I on a hiding to nothing and have no choice than to deal with the agents, or has someone been successful renting holiday lets long distance?"

If I may just add in response to the actual question the amount of owners in France who advertise in brochures such as "Chez Nous" where guests make the bookings directly with the owners would indicate that it is possible.

Jennifer_M
16-09-2006, 16:34 PM
Hi Jennifer - as a fluent French speaker who has lived in the country I perhaps know more than most about the strengths (and weaknesses!) of the French system. I take my own deposit against damage for my holiday let but nothing is risk free, agent or no agent. I have all the details of those renting my property before the let (how else would I send them the booking form and get them to sign the contract???) I have had people from Germany Holland and Canada renting my place - no problem whatsoever with payments and I dont have credit card facilities - BACs is a wonderful invention! My "employee" is there to look after the place, do repairs and fix anything which breaks as well as to help my guests if they need help. Without someone local who knows and cares about your property getting plumbing fixed would be a nightmare I agree! Hence my point about having someone you work with on a one to one basis. You have sadly misunderstood - it is not a "friend" who looks after the place and cleans it but someone I pay to do so. I trust them to bill for the hours they spend. We have a one to one working relationship and I would argue that that is better than any agency could offer. I do pay for peace of mind - a specific person who looks after the place on my behalf. Agents may have their merits but my holiday let is in such a wild beautiful and sparsely populated place they don't exist. A bientot.

Well if we play the "Who knows best about France" game, let's just say that I'm french like some others here know. :D

Anyway I wasn't saying that it can't work without an agent, I was saying that if - unlike you - a landlord doesn't have a trusted "friend" (I used the word friend but it can just be someone you know, meaning not a big company) to sort out the urgent problems and to hand out the keys, an agent is well recommended.

One of my husband's family members who's English and lives in France actually does the work of cleaning between lets and welcoming new tenants for her English neighbours.
But before she lived there, the neighbours used an agent because they didn't know/trust anyone.

As for everywhere, using an agent or not is a personal choice. If you feel worried about doing it yourself, pay for someone to help.

islandgirl
16-09-2006, 16:52 PM
"Well if we play the "Who knows best about France" game, let's just say that I'm french like some others here know."

well, we're not all perfect are we! :)

The OP asked if it can work. Yes it can. Even at a distance as mine does. By all means use an agent but you don't have to. And that's the answer as we both agree. Entente cordiale?

Jennifer_M
16-09-2006, 19:23 PM
well, we're not all perfect are we!


Nope, but at least people comment on my Yorkshire accent so I don't sound too french. :p



The OP asked if it can work. Yes it can. Even at a distance as mine does. By all means use an agent but you don't have to. And that's the answer as we both agree. Entente cordiale?

Indeed we agree on that. Many English people have holiday/investment homes in France that they let out when not using it (if they ever do) and I'm pretty sure many of them don't use an agent.
But I'd expect that like them they have someone trusted on site for the day to day running of the let.

Pika1971
19-09-2006, 15:26 PM
Well thanks everyone for your advice.

As you say the key to not using an agent is having someone you trust (and pay) to be your point of contact regarding issues of maintenance etc.. and simply arrange for cleaners to have keys and pay hourly to get it cleaned.
With regards to damage I was proposing to hold onto a deposit until I had the OK from the contact in France that all was well.
My real problem with the agent is that they not only want nearly 50% of the rental price, but I cannot use the property myself during the 12 month contract without giving them 2 months notice. I am not adverse to using an agent, but they seem to be taking the p*** a little.
I just feel that through the agent I have nothing much to gain, either financially or by using the apartment myself, but it seems silly to leave it empty for the other 10 months of the year that I don't use it.
A relative of mine has a condo over looking a golf course in Williamsburg, Virginia and he uses a website called ownersdirect.co.uk to market it, and he has had loads of bookings this year with them.
I think I will see if I can find a decent contact in Bourg and go from there.:confused:

islandgirl
19-09-2006, 16:03 PM
Hi Pika part of the fun of having a 2nd property is that you can use it yourself. We block book ours for ourselves at the start of the year. We then let remaining weeks through our own website and are very successful. We have been full from before Easter this year until almost November! Some are repeat bookings too which is really nice. Obviously we pay the bills (elec/coal etc) and we have a payphone in the house for guests to use. We do an "all in" price which avoids the need for meter readings at start and end of let. We take a damage deposit and our housekeeper knows that if she does not ring me within a couple of days of changeover day I will send it back to the guest. 50% plus not being able to use the place yourself sounds ridiculous! Ask around - there may be agencies which just provide changeover cleaners / emergency maintenance - this is all you need. You can handle bookings etc yourself! Let us know what happens and very good luck!

lawstudent
19-09-2006, 21:01 PM
where in France are you from Jennifer M?

Pika1971
04-10-2006, 14:14 PM
Hi islandgirl,
That sounds similar to our plan, and fortunately I have managed to make some contacts in the resort and even found an English guy in the same complex that looks after apartments for other people.
Also there seems to be quite a contingency of ex-pats in Bourg Saint Maurice that are very friendly and very willing to help.
So things are looking up, I just need to sort out a contract; I was thinking that similar to your situation that I would keep a deposit until I got the OK from France that the place is clean and intact, then return the money.
I am going to setup a website to promote the apartment and advertise it on ownersdirect.com, but I have also been approached by someone who runs a local ski holiday company and they are interested in using the apartment too, so things are looking up.
So just got to stop global warming from melting the glaciers and I'll be happy...lol

islandgirl
04-10-2006, 15:22 PM
Hi Pika I am delighted that things are looking up and that you have made some good contacts. Thank you very much for letting us all know. Good Luck for the future!

Gianni
05-10-2006, 13:58 PM
Hi
I own two properties in south of france that I rent every year season and my agency is the "INTERHOME" its one of the best.
Ciao
Gianni

Jennifer_M
05-10-2006, 15:33 PM
where in France are you from Jennifer M?

Sorry Lawstudent, I never saw your question until the thread was updated.

I'm from a city called Metz but I've moved around quite a bit in my life.
Can I ask why you asked?

lawstudent
05-10-2006, 15:50 PM
Je n'ai jamais à ma connaissance rencontré une Messine (sauf ici!) mais j'aime beaucoup ta région et ses vins - un verre de Gewurztraminer pour toi? Santé :)

Jennifer_M
05-10-2006, 16:12 PM
Je n'ai jamais à ma connaissance rencontré une Messine (sauf ici!) mais j'aime beaucoup ta région et ses vins - un verre de Gewurztraminer pour toi? Santé

Perfect french !!
Believe it or not, I'm one of the rare french people who doesn't like wine. But my english husband drinks it for me :D

lawstudent
05-10-2006, 17:52 PM
Believe it or not, I'm one of the rare french people who doesn't like wine. But my english husband drinks it for me :D
Merci, mais quel dommage (sinon pour ton mari!) ... un repas sans vin est une journée sans amour ...