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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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For members


So you want to Airbnb your French property during the Olympics?

The 2023 Rugby World Cup in France and the 2024 Paris Olympics have got many people wondering about whether they could earn some extra cash renting out their homes to sports-mad tourists - but it's important not to fall foul or local rules on registration and taxes.

So you want to Airbnb your French property during the Olympics?

There’s no doubt that both big sporting events have the potential to be a holiday-let money-spinner – especially the Olympics when 10 million people are expected to come to Paris during the Games.

If you own property in France – either a main home or second home – you are entitled to rent it out on a short let – whether that is arranged directly or via a rental platform such as Airbnb. But there are things you should know – such as whether you need to register with local authorities, and pay tax on your earnings.

Register your home with local authorities

Most towns and cities in France now have a registration procedure for any person who wants to rent out an entire property as furnished accommodation for tourists (as opposed to renting your spare room while you remain in the property).

Under French law, homeowners can sub-let their main residence as a short-term let for a maximum of 120 days a year and must seek permission from the local authority to do so. 

So anyone wishing to list their French property on Airbnb will likely need to first register it with the authorities and include it on your Airbnb listing before you start hosting – check with your mairie for the exact requirements in your area.

This procedure is free and only takes a few minutes to complete

NB: If you’re a tenant, you will need written permission from your landlord if you plan to sublet your rented property, otherwise, you’ll get into legal bother and could face a big fine, as well as being made to hand over any earnings to your landlord.

If you’re renting your property in Paris, you can’t legally sublet at all – this doesn’t mean that people don’t do it, of course, but be aware that if you’re renting something as a sublet you have very few rights since it’s likely an unofficial sublet. 

Likewise, if you live in social housing, furnished tourist rental is strictly forbidden: as well as financial penalties, you can have your rental contract terminated. So, don’t do it.

Second homes

A second home for Airbnb-registration purposes is classed a place where you live for less than four months a year. You can rent it all year long provided you’ve declared your rental activity to the city. Some cities and neighbourhoods require permission to use your secondary home as a tourist rental. You can get permission for change of use from your local city hall.

Some areas with a housing shortage have stricter local rules – for example it is illegal to offer a second home in Paris for rent on the popular site. Do so, and you risk a fine of €50,000 per room.

Renting a room

If you intend to rent out a room in your property while you remain on site, this is not considered “furnished tourist accommodation”.

You can therefore rent a room in your main residence without any time limit. But you should still register it with local authorities.

Local regulations

In fact, it is important to be aware of local rules, which may add additional layers of bureaucracy – Paris is particularly strict (Airbnb said it automatically limits rentals on its site to 120 days in central Paris and the government has announced plans to fine the site for publishing listings not properly registered with the local authorities). 

READ ALSO Paris ‘rent police’ crack down on illegal holiday lets in city

The Airbnb website has a handy breakdown of the rules for numerous French towns and cities, with links to local regulations here.


Taxable earnings

Income from renting property on Airbnb may be declarable and taxable as micro-BIC income – which means you’ll need to properly register your Airbnb ‘business’ and get a Siret number. Handily, Airbnb offers a guide to what taxes you need to consider if renting out a property in France. It’s here (pdf).

As a general rule, income from holiday letting your property should be declared for tax, but income from occasionally renting out part of your main residence is exempt from tax and does not have to be declared as long as the amount earned is less than €760 per year.

Don’t think, however, you can get away with not declaring your income. Airbnb sends rental details directly to the taxman, which will be cross-checked against your declarations. 

If you’re a second-home owner and live in another country you will likely not make the annual income tax declaration in France – however, if you start to earn money by Airbnb renting your property this means that you now have income in France, and may therefore have to begin making annual tax declarations in France.

READ ALSO Who has to fill in the annual French income tax declaration

Taxe de séjour

Income tax is not the end of it. Numerous French cities have an agreement with Airbnb to collect the tourist tax – taxe de séjour – which means that Airbnb properties in the capital are now classed under the rental category of furnished lets or meublés touristiques non-classés

That, in turn, means that Airbnb adds up to €4.40 per person per night to the cost of a stay. Taxe de séjour levels for towns and cities across France are available here, but this tax is dealt with entirely by Airbnb.

Added tax on second homes

Many areas popular with tourists are suffering from a housing shortage for locals. In a bid to combat this, a number of communes have taken advantage of a law that allows them to impose a surtaxe de la taxe d’habitation which can amount to an extra 60 percent on part of the tax.

READ ALSO Local authorities in France get power to crack down on Airbnb rentals