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Everything posted by Eslier

  1. You have been given very good advice. "n" is the new high speed specification which, although it hasn't been officialy endoresed yet is already being distributed by a number of top manufacturers as "pre n". One of the best routers is the Netgear DG834N and you can buy online at: http://www.materiel.net/ctl/ModemRouteurs_ADSL/23142-DG834N_MIMO_270_.html The big advantage of Netgear products is that the software supplied, even with the French versions, comes with an English language option and if you need to you can download the user guide instructions in English from the Netgear US website.  They are very easy to install and very reliable.  The new 802.11n versions will give you much greater signal coverage. If you need to get the maximum benefit of wider coverage and faster speeds then you can also buy 802.11n wifi cards for your computer / laptop. You will still see a benefit however even if you are still using a 802.11g wifi card in your computer. If you are buying a new computer then some manufacturers have already started to ship units with wifi-n. Toshiba, for example, have laptops with this already onboard.
  2. Yes, Orange will provide a simple ADSL connection but they don't make it obvious. Current prices are as follows: 1mB:  €24,90 pm 8mB:  €29,90 pm 18mB:  €34,90 pm The old 512k sagem adsl modem that used to be supplied by Wanadoo (now Orange) will work fine up to 1mB but you may need to check to see if it will cope with higher speeds. If not, then just buy your own adsl modem / router to do the job. The easiest way to sort it out is to go into your local France Telecom shop. Be sure to make it very clear that you do not require a Livebox.
  3. All too often the case I'm sorry to say.  We have four properties and have a similar expectation for cleaning standards by guests.  I would say it's about an equal three way split: one third of guests making a real effort to clean up; one third of guests making a gesture at cleaning that we can just about accept; and one third making little or no effort at all and leaving the house mucky. As to whether or not to make a deduction from the security deposit, well, I suppose that depends on how mucky they leave it and what you are charging for the gite rental. Our six bed house was left fairly dirty last week but as the guests at this time of year are paying almost £2000 per week for it, it seems unreasonable to argue about a few extra hours of cleaning.  We've only charged guests once for extra cleaning - and that was earlier this summer - and in this instance the house was left in a really disgusting state. It was so bad you wonder how they even lived in it that way, but they must have realised what they had done as I haven't heard anything back from them since I told them I charged their c/card for about £70 ! We do offer guests an optional cleaning service, which takes place on the Friday before they leave, and is carried out by a local agency. Those guests that really don't want to do the work themselves at least have the option of paying someone else to do it - and some do.
  4. Winter schedules are usually published around mid September.
  5. The trouble is that there is so much misinformation flying around on the ex-pat jungle drum network, as is demonstrated by ltf's incorrect beliefs.  The best way for anyone to ensure they are doing things properly is to seek the advice of a French firm of accounts who (most importantly) have experience in this area. For anyone in the north west area of France I can thoroughly recommend (and others on this forum have already recommended this firm in the past): http://www.account-revision.com/missions-uk.html  (This link is to the English version of their website)
  6. [quote user="ltf"]Working on the basis of them operating as a micro bic - surely if they have an income of 20,000 euros, this would be well over 50% of their income (once you have taken off the approximate 68% abattement). Unless they had a turnover of around 65,000 euros from the gites, of course. [/quote] No - it is the gross turnover figure which counts.  As I said before, to "take home" around 20k€ they would need to aim for a turnover in the region of 30k€ and this is the figure (60% in this case) which is used to determine whether one needs to register as a business. This amount, in any case, would require registration even if it was less than 50% of income.
  7. Yes, you shouldn't find it too difficult once you know where you will be living.  If you ask around the various forums you will get recommendations. Accountant fees in France are much less than you would expect to pay for a similar service from a UK accountant.  Your accountant will take care of all the business registration matters for you and this will also get you straight into the French health system without the need for uk "E" forms etc.
  8. [quote user="Patmobile"]I agree with pretty much all that Eslier says, except that you should not have to register as a business.  Since you have a reasonable income already, your earnings from lettings will be allowable as earnings from a non-professional activity.  In other words it's a sideline. [/quote] Not so I'm afraid.  If your expected earnings are 23000€ or more (September 2006 figures) OR if the income is more than 50% of your total earned income then you must register as a business at the Chambre de Commerce.  In this case both of those conditions apply so registration is obligatory whichever way you look at it. [quote user="Patmobile"] The French tax system offers you the opportunity to take this Micro-Bic option and pay a very reasonable amount of tax on your non-professional earnings from letting furnished gites, up to a ceiling of a bit over 70,000 euros (I forget the actual limit).  I think this started as a concession to the farming community who once owned nearly all the gites.  The record keeping required is minimal, the declaration is very simple, and best of all, they let you keep most of your money. [/quote] The "micro bic" is a "tax régime" and not, as it is commonly misconceveied to be, a form of business registration.  Once you have registered your business you will have the option to elect the most efficient tax régime for you.  This may well be the micro (current turnover limit 76k€ for a gite business with 32% of turnover becoming taxable ) but it is also quite possible that you could be much better off in the réal régime. This is where the advice of a good French accountant will be invaluable.  There are many people who are drawn to the micro because of its simplicity when they could find themselves paying out much less under a the réal where all costs (a lot more than you might think), can be offset against income and capital investment (set-up costs and renovations etc.) can be written off over a period of years.  A good accountant will save you far more than you pay him or her!
  9. It sounds like you've already made  some good assumptions and are asking the right kind of questions.  I prefer to work backwards so let's assume that your aim should be to have around 40,000€ pa to live off which should give you a reasonably comfortable life as long as you don't want to make too many trips back to the UK. So, as you already have 20k€ income from your pensions, you only need to earn another 20k€ from your gite lettings. In order to make a profit of around 20k€ you really should be looking for a letting income of about 30k€ which should be achievable if you have the right properties in the right location. At this sort of income level, you will need to register as a business so don't forget you will need to budget for those nasty cotisation payments etc. but this shouldn't be prohibitive. Location is all important in your search for the right property. Anything within an hour's drive of any of the ferryports will provide you with the greatest number of weeks rentals but failing that, look in popular tourist areas which are well served by the low cost airlines. Gite holidays in France are no longer a cheap holiday option and so many of those people coming here these days are coming because they choose to and want something of a higher quality than the traditional rural gite.  You can look for bookings from many nationalities but it is the Brits who will pay the most to rent a good property. A single large house which sleeps up to around 14 or 15 people, which looks something special in photographs, has a heated swimming pool, quality furnishings and plenty to do for children could earn you your 30k€ rental income all on its own if marketed properly (do not underestimate the amount of money you will need to spend on marketing). Your best bet is to find somewhere which is already up and running. Only consider places which can show you accounts detailing income and expenditure over a three year period and beware of that greatly overused word "POTENTIAL" which usually means "we have tried to make a living out of this and failed but you might fall into the same dream trap that we did" A good starting point for finding gite complexes for sale would be http://www.francepropertyshop.com/ or http://www.gitecomplexes.co.uk/ Good luck.
  10. Congratulations ! Don't make too many plans for early next year however. When we did the same as you a couple of years ago we were given a completion date of February 2006.  In fact it ended up being 20th July by the time it was handed over.  Well worth the extra wait however, but we were very glad we hadn't taken any bookings to let it for last summer.
  11. Mr O'L was on BBC Breakfast yesterday morning explaining that as BAA are increasing landing charges at Stansted by almost 100%, it will be cheaper for RA to keep some of its planes on the ground.  He was also complaining about the security fiasco at Stansted and the delays caused to passengers and flights - having seen this for myself on several occassions this year I can sympathise with his point of view as one now has to allow at least an hour to get through security there.  Let's just hope he wins his battle with BAA (and the UK government start to show Ryanair some respect) and normal service can be resumed as soon as possible.
  12. Sounds like you've been let off - or it would have been 90€ on the spot !
  13. There is only ONE way that you can legally bring a cat from the UK to France.  (The old export certificate which Dave talks of was discontinued some time ago). To enter France, you need an EU Pets Passport (this is the ONLY document you need and is the ONLY document which will legally allow your pet entry into France at this time. To get this, you need to have your cat microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies.  There may be a wait (I think it is three weeks) before the passport can be issued after the rabies jab, but your pet most definitely does not have to have a positive blood test result to leave the UK and enter France. In many circumstamces you will find that the paperwork isn't checked upon entry into France but it is more likely to be checked by the ferry/train/plane operator before you travel (as they would be liable for the costs if the pet is refused entry into France). You may need to point out to them that you are on a one way ticket and will not be returning to the UK - in which case you may even get away without having to "scan" the microchip. If you ever want to bring your cat back into the UK however, under current legislation, then it would need to have the blood test and receive a positive result. The cat cannot re-enter the UK until a period of six months has elapsed from the date that the blood sample was taken.  In view of the timescale attached to this condition, it is strongly advisable to have the blood test done anyway - just in case unforeseen circumstances give need to you having to return to the UK. You can, however, wait until you arrive in France and have this done by a French vet (which may well be significantly cheaper than in the UK) and the details can still be entered into your UK issued EU Passport. It can all become very confusing because, quite often, even DEFRA give out wrong advice and UK vets regularly give out wrong advice - or if one wanted to be cynical, one could suggest that they prefer to recommend the course of action which nets them the biggest fee ! If you still fell you need any further help and advice then I can reccomend this company: http://www.cani-excel.com/pet_passport_helpline.asp which will help you out with confirmation of any regulations that are giving you cause for concern.
  14. Ecossais, I can assure you it IS true, with the exception that Baz quite correctly pointed out.  They don't publicise it (presumably because of the agreements they have with the phone network companies) but it has made a huge impact on the amount of stock they need to keep.  I recently purchased two new phones with T-Mobile sims and was able to put my existing Orange sims straight into them and they worked fine. It was during this visit to a CPW store in London that the store manager explained the new policy to me - he also claimed that CPW are the only company currently doing this.
  15. All PAYG mobiles sold by the Carphone Warehouse in the UK are now sold "unlocked" regardless of which network sim is sold with it. This is by far the cheapest way to buy a mobile , despite the fact that you usually have to buy £10 credit for the payg sim card that comes with it. You can use up the credit, if you wish, and then just put you other sim straight into the phone. If you are paying by cash then they may need to see some id and may need to put down any old UK address (not important what it is - just use your last address or one of a relative). If you pay with a card then much simpler and this makes them happier for some reason.
  16. The trouble is, La Roche, that there is such a lack of knowledge on the part of so many people on this subject that even if you speak to policemen, people at the dvla, insurance companies etc. there is a very good chance you'll find someone who just makes up an answer - as you have already discovered.  Those of us who have been around for some time on this and other forums have learnt that the advice given by Sunday Driver is about as definitive as you will get. His explanations are always spot on with regard to the explicit legal situation, and I would strongly recommend that you start from the basis that he is right ! Whether, or not, you choose to do everything to the letter of the law is, of course, a different matter altogether. One might even suggest that, in France, it seems to be a national obsession to work around the law!   If you look around you will see lots of UK plated cars in France which have been driven around happily by their owners for some years without a problem. It does seem, however, that things are starting to change and there may well be a big clamp down on these illegal cars and their drivers soon. The other thing about living in France is that legal things are often more reactive than proactive. It is quite likely that insurance companies will insure your car and gendarmes turn a blind eye to your lack of UK road tax all the time everything is ok. If you are unlucky enough to have an accident however, you could find that everyone wants to take a much closer look all of a sudden. If, at that point, they decide that you are driving an illegal car and therefore without legal insurace the consequences could be very severe.
  17. Concrete covers are readily available at builders merchants, Gedimat, Point P etc. (but not brico stores)  You should find it is a standard size.
  18. I took my Stihl strimmer to the local dealer last year for a service and also to replace the petrol feed pipe which was split.  I was delighted when he only charged me 22€ for the service and repair !
  19. Fishing is a popular sport in France but, as with any business, you will need to be well financed and do lots of research to be able to make a living from it.   There are some strange issues regarding access which can apply to lakes and this is something you will need to research in detail should you find something you would like to buy.  In genereal, I believe, if the lake is fed from a water source (river, stream etc.) then there are automatic public rights to fish in the lake - even if the lake itself is privately owned. There are however plenty of private lakes where this isn't a problem so it's just something to look out for and to ask the right questions of the right people about. Generally speaking, in order to make a go of things you need: enough  cash to buy the property you want (much more than the TV programs will have you believe) twice as much cash as you think it will cost for any renovations etc. enough cash to get your business up and running including lots more than you though of for marketing enough cash to cover small business losses for the first two years by the time you've paid all cotisations enough cash for the family to live on for two years. If you've got all that covered, have bought the right property in the right location (location is everything), have come up with a good business plan, and keep to your budgets then you've got a good chance of making it work.  If after two years your business still can't earn you an income then you've made some bad decisions somewhere along the line and you'll probably end up selling at a loss and moving back to the UK. In short, if you've got somewhere around £350k to £400k in cash available to you, then you stand a good chance of making it work providing you make some good business decisions. Less than that amount and it will be much more difficult but not impossible.
  20. There is only one document needed for travel from France to the UK. The blue EU Pets Passport.  It must: be up to date with a valid rabies jab,show details of the blood test being taken and the results, show that at least six months has elapsed since the date of the blood test, have no gaps in the validity of the rabies jab since the date of the blood test,show details of the flea tick and worm treatment that must have been administered between 24 and 48 hours prior to travel (scheduled departure time).All entries must be certified and stamped by a vet. For travel from the UK to France only the first bullet point above applies.
  21. Your pets will need, in this order: 1) microchip 2) rabies jab 3) an EU Pets Passport Assuming you're not intending to transport them all in one go then, if you spread it over three trips, you won't need to worry about the maximum of three rule as no one will know or care. If you aren't intending to return to the UK then you don't need to have the blood test done after the rabies jab (although you might need to make this clear to your UK vet).  It is a very good idea to have it done anyway but you can sort this out after you arrive in France if that is easiest. You never know when curcumstances might mean you need to return to the UK so it is better safe than sorry by having the blood test done. You can return to the UK six months after the date of the succesful  blood test. Each blood test will cost you around 70€ in France or probably more in the UK.
  22. Eslier


    When TB left Downing Street after the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, we went to RAF Northolt and took a private jet to Durham so he could make his big staged theatrical announcement in Sedgefield. After he had smiled for the cameras and delivered his dramatic piece he then got back on the private jet and flew back down to London. My questions are: Who payed for the not insubstantial cost of the private jet - the Labour Party, TB himself or the good old tax payer ?   How many trees has he planted to offset the carbon impact of these flights ? Why couldn't he have simply made the announcement (it was hardly news anyway as it had already been leaked days before) from Downing Street ?  A live video link to Sedgefield would have served the prupose of keeping his constituants happy and been much cheaper !
  23. If you've already had a quote for £1200 the that sounds like quite a good deal to me.  By the time you hire a van, pay for the crossing/tunnel, pay for the diesel, pay the tolls and buy a few drinks and a meal for whoever you get to help you, then it will probably end up costing not far off this amount anyway. If you want to do it yourself then it may be more cost effective to take a cheap flight over to London, hire a van there and make the return trip. At least then there won't be any problems with returning it to the same depot and you should be able to get a cheap return on the ferry or tunnel.
  24. Depending upon your circumstances, the Taxes d'H and Fonc. may be the least of your worries as far as outgoings are concerned. A lot will depend upon whether this is your only or main (more than 50%) source of earned income. If it is, then you will have to register your business (usually as an entreprise individuelle) at the local Chambre de Commerce.  Even if it isn't your main source of earned income, if the expected income will be more than 27000€ then you will still have to register.  Once you have registered, which you will have to do probably before you start trading - i.e. before you start advertising - you will start to receive regular demands for cotisations - health, social security and pension. Later on you will also receive demands for social charges and Taxe Proffesionelle. In your first year you can expect to be paying out at least 3500€ on these cotisations regardless of your level of income. Depending upon the tax régime that you choose and whether you make a profit or not (only if you are on the réal - on the micro you will pay tax on 32% of your income regardless of whether you have made a profit or not) you will also receive a tax bill sometime the following year. If you do well in your first year then you will be rewarded by your cotisations increasing significantly in your second year.  It is possible to defer cotisations for the first two years but then don't forget that these amounts will still have to be paid in years 3 and 4 on top of the cotisations for those years so maybe not too good an idea ! If you have another main sorce of income and the earnings from the b&b / apartments is less than 27k€ then it will all be much easier and you won't need to register. You'll only have to declare your earnings on your tax return each year. Registering a business is a fairly simple matter but it is well worth getting professional advice from a French accountant first to make sure you make the right choices, particularly with regard to choice of tax regime. Most accountants will save you more than their annual fee. You will also need to get a Class I or Class II license from your local douanes office to enable you to serve coffee (Class I) or table d'hote evening meals with wine included (Class II). The license is usually either issued free or just for a nominal charge, and is issued on the spot if you visit in person. My advice would be to draw up a business plan with cashflow projections, consult an accountant to check out your expected liabilities and see how it all works out. As Quillan has said, it is perfetly possible to earn a living from a good b&b business but you will find it hard work. Please let us all know what you decide to do. Good luck.
  25. This thread has been moved to "other topics" due to the fact that it didn't have anything to do with swimming pools !
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