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Renting furnished accommodation in France: What should your landlord provide?

Renting a furnished place in France can be a good, low-stress option, but it's important to make sure you get what you're paying for. From a quilt to a vacuum cleaner, here is what your landlord must provide.

Renting furnished accommodation in France: What should your landlord provide?
Furnished rental properties in France must include a table and chairs. Photo: Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

Furnished rentals are less common in France than many other countries and generally cover the cheaper end of the market – studios, one-bedroom apartments and house-shares.

If you are a landlord, whether your property is furnished or not makes a difference to the type of rentals you are allowed to offer.

So, what is a furnished property, anyway?

Furniture and equipment

When you rent furnished accommodation in France, you will of course expect, well, furniture. But while some properties you visit will have everything you could ever dream of needing, all ready for you to move in, others will leave you counting the costs of everything you’ll have to buy.

READ ALSO A beginner’s guide to renting property in France

Fortunately, a 2015 government decree defines the things a landlord must provide in order for a property to be considered furnished. These are:

  • Bedding, including a quilt or bed cover
  • Shutters or curtains in the bedrooms
  • Hotplates, an oven or microwave, a refrigerator, freezer or a freezer compartment in the refrigerator which has a maximum temperature of 6C, a sufficient number of dishes for residents to be able to eat, and kitchen utensils. It’s common for kitchens in France (even for furnished apartments, especially in large cities) to be rented without an oven, but if there is not at least a microwave oven then the property cannot be considered furnished
  • A table and seating
  • Shelves and storage space
  • Lights
  • Cleaning equipment – this will depend on the type of housing in question. Landlords must provide a vacuum cleaner for carpeted rooms, or a broom and mop if the accommodation is tiled

If these elements are not provided, a judge has the right to amend a tenant’s lease to specify that the property is unfurnished.

Basic requirements

Beyond the furniture, the property itself must also meet a certain number of minimum requirements.

It should have at least one main room with a minimum livable surface area of 9 square metres and a ceiling height of at least 2.2 metres, or alternatively a total livable space of 20 cubic metres.

The accommodation should not present a risk to the tenant’s health or security. That means doors and windows must be watertight, and any windows’ guardrails should be in good condition. Electricity and gas should be up to modern safety standards, and the main rooms must have sufficient natural light and ventilation.

Landlords must also ensure that there are no pests such as rats, bedbugs or cockroaches.

The property must achieve a minimum level of energy performance, and doors and windows must not let in too much outside air.

The accommodation must also be fitted with the following: a supply of drinking water, heating, wastewater drainage, a kitchen or kitchen area, toilets which are separated from the kitchen, and an electrical system allowing for sufficient lighting of all rooms and the use of household appliances which are necessary for daily life.

For tenants in both furnished and unfurnished properties, the landlord is required to keep the property in a ‘habitable condition’, which means that major or urgent repairs are the responsibility of the landlord. More minor problems re generally the responsibility of the tenant, although it’s best to check your contract for full details. 

Contracts and rental

Tenants of both furnished and unfurnished properties have rights over their rental agreements, while landlords are limited on how much their can hike the rent.

Generally, leases for furnished properties in France run for one year (although they can be extended) and for unfurnished properties three years if the owner is an individual and six years if it’s a real estate company, developer or other professional body. There are also some nine-month lease contracts available for students in France.

The initial time period of the lease agreement will determine the length of the renewal. 

If the initial lease has a rent review clause, the landlord could increase your rent, but the hike can’t exceed the amount set by France’s benchmark rent index (IRL) as published in France’s national statistics body INSEE every year.

To find out if your landlord is trying it on, use the following formula to calculate what the rent hike should be:

(Current rent [including fixed charges] x new IRL effective on the date of increase) / IRL on the date the lease was signed or the previous increase date = indexed rent

Paris and Lille have also implemented their own rent control measures, with more cities set to follow suit.

And even if you stop paying rent altogether, your landlord cannot evict you in the winter, thanks to the trève hivernale.

For more information about your rights as a tenant in France, click HERE.

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MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

While French cities such as Paris are notoriously expensive, there are many areas outside the cities where it is still possible to buy spacious homes for less than €100,000 - particularly if you don't mind a bit of renovation.

MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

We decided to look at where in France you could afford a property on a budget of €100,000, and it turns out there are some bargains to be had.

There are a lot of caveats while searching for property, and many local variables in place, but our search does show some of the areas to concentrate on if you have a limited budget.

We used the Notaires de France immobilier website in August 2022, and we specified that the property should have at least five rooms (including kitchen and bathroom) and a floor space of at least 100 square metres.

We also discounted any property that was for sale under the viager system – a complicated purchase method which allows the resident to release equity on their property gradually, as the buyer puts down a lump sum in advance and then pays what is effectively a rent for the rest of the seller’s lifetime, while allowing them to remain in the property.

READ ALSO Viager: The French property system that can lead to a bargain

For a five-room, 100 square metre property at under €100,000, you won’t find anywhere in the Île-de-France region, where the proximity of Paris pushes up property prices. The city itself is famously expensive, but much of the greater Paris region is within commuting distance, which means pricier property. 

Equally the island of Corsica – where prices are pushed up by its popularity as a tourist destination – showed no properties for sale while the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur – which includes the French Riviera – showed only 1 property under €100,000.

The very presence of Bordeaux, meanwhile, takes the entire département of Gironde out of this equation – but that doesn’t mean that the southwest is completely out of the running. A total of 25 properties came up in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. One property was on the market for a mere €20,000 – but it was, as the Notaires’ brochure noted, in need of “complete renovation”.

Neighbouring Occitanie, meanwhile, showed 12 further properties in the bracket.

By far the most properties on the day of our search – 67 – were to be found in the Grand Est region of eastern France. The eastern part of France overall comes out best for property bargains, with the north-east region of Hauts-de-France showing 38 properties and and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté displaying 25.

Further south, however, the presence of the Alps – another popular tourist destination – pushed up prices in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region which showed just three results.

The below map shows our search results, with darker colours indicating more cheap properties.

Property buying tips 

In order to make a comparison, we focused our search on properties advertised online, but if you have a specific area in mind it's well worth making friends with a few local real estate agents and perhaps also the mayor, since it's common for properties not to be advertised online.

Most of the truly 'bargain' properties are described as being "in need of renovation" - which is real estate speak for a complete wreck.

If you don't mind doing a bit of work you can often pick up property for low prices, but you need to do a clear-eyed assessment of exactly how much work you are willing and able to do, and what the cost is likely to be - there's no point getting a "cheap" house and then spending three times the purchase price on renovations.

READ ALSO 'Double your budget and make friends with the mayor' - tips for French property renovation

That said, there were plenty of properties at or near the €100,000 mark that were perfectly liveable or needed only relatively minor renovations.

You also need to pay attention to the location, as the sub-€100,000 properties are often in remote areas or very small villages with limited access to amenities. While this lifestyle suits many people, bear in mind that owning a car is a requirement and you may end up paying extra for certain services.

Finally remember that government help, in the form of loans and grants, is available for environmentally friendly improvements, such as insulation or glazing.