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Long term letting - do it at your peril


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Hi Penofmyaunt here. Bizarrely, although I am getting updates on this thread sent to my e-mail address, when I tried to log in, it told me that there was no such address registered so I've had to set up a new account.

In response to Garonne, you are partly right. I don't agree that no French landlord would take anyone without 3 years avis d'impots as we managed to rent quite easily without. Most letting agents wouldn't consider you without them but it mainly because up until recently, that was the requirement for getting insurance for non-payment of rental. We tried to get it but were turned down because our tenants had recently arrived in France so didn't have them.

This has now changed and this organisation will insure landlords providing their tenants meet their pay-to-rental conditions. Unfortunately it was too late for us but I would urge anyone considering long term letting to take it out.


That said though, , three years of avis d'impots will not stop a tenant trashing your house. To be honest, a reference from a previous landlord is more important than any avis d'impot as that covers far more than just ability to pay.

Sub-letting is permitted, providing it is written into the rental agreement, however, we did subsequently discover that a tenant cannot sub let a property for more than the amount of the principal rent so using that criteria, the contact is probably nul and void but that's for the Greffier to decide.

We did, of course, contact CAF as soon as they stopped paying. I have to be honest and say there weren't that interested. They sent us a form for the tenants to fill in a plan d'apurement, which of course they didn't do, but apart from that there was little interest in questioning why a family with such a large income needed allocation de loyer. The allocation was always paid directly to them rather than us anyway so either way, we didn't see any of it.

On a slightly positive note, neither the ex-tenant nor her solicitor showed up for the convocation so our lawyers believe that the juge will now uphold the original order but then of course, we still have to get the money out of them.

Looking back, I think we did everything we could have done in the circumstances. We had a proper French agreement that was checked out by a solicitor. The agreement covered everything, including non-payment of the rent and damages, outlining what we could do in the case of either, interest that could be charged, etc. We weren't to know that when it came down to it, the agreement wasn't worth the paper it was written on. I seemed to spend a ridiculous amount of time saying to our lawyer 'but the agreement says...' and each time he said it was unenforceable.

Whatever happens though, we have lost our house, my childrens' inheritance and most likely the chance of ever owning our own property again because of these people. It's a high price to pay for falling foul of such a flawed system. Meanwhile, they are still moving from rental property to rental property across two different departements with ease because none of their French landlords have ever asked for a reference.
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Our combined hearts go out to you as we had a similar experience with an English couple from Portsmouth. NB, they know who they are, so if they are reading this, GOOD! Without going into too many gory details, they absolutely trashed our apartment too : even the toilet seat was ripped out of the mounting ; there was stagnant water in the plastic box in the fridge ; gouges out of the enamel in the bath {how on earth does one do that}!? So to cut a long story short, we also ended up having the Huissier track them down, take them to court, where the Tribunal awarded us over €10,000.-- in damages. However, €500 was deducted from this amount by the Huissier as he had such difficulties getting them to pay up. It was a very nasty, salutory experience but we did actually go on to rent out a different property later [we couldn't bear to live in the above and sold it shortly after it was renovated]. This was a to French family with four children and a dog = we had grave reservations, but they were clean, paid on time, left the house in good condition etc. which really restored our faith in human nature. But this doesn't help your situation and we therefore really feel for you. Sorry it had to happen to you.

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