Top Tips on Setting Up and Running a Gîte in France
Here are some tips for renting out your second home in France, from setting up a business to saving money on your empty home in winter…
We’re fastidious about recycling and conserving energy in our main home, how can we make our holiday home more environmentally friendly, especially when guests are staying?
Environmental concerns are a priority for many, and French holiday rental property owners are no exception. The demand for eco-friendly rental properties has increased dramatically, so it makes sense to adapt your offering. Here are some simple and inexpensive ways to make your vacation rental property more environmentally friendly.
- Encourage guests to shop locally by providing information on local markets and canvas totes or straw baskets for groceries.
- Invite guests to recycle. Place one or two bins next to waste bins and clearly label them – cardboard, paper, plastic, glass. In addition, you’ll need to update your digital guestbook to include recycling instructions.
- Replace your incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs because they consume less energy and last longer.
- Use the readily available eco-friendly cleaning products that can be found in supermarkets. Choose refillable soap dispensers over disposable plastic bottles.
- Install water displacement devices in toilets, tap aerators and upgrade your showerheads to reduce water consumption by regulating water flow.
- When the time comes to replace your appliances, choose options that are energy-efficient and repairable.
Should I turn off the water when my holiday home is empty in winter?
If you are anticipating your property to be empty for a period during the winter months, it is a good idea to turn off the mains water supply and drain the pipes. This will minimise the risk of your pipes freezing, bursting and potentially flooding your property should there be a severe cold spell. This simply involves locating the mains stop valve for your property, turning this off and running your taps until almost dry. Do check however that you do not have central heating or boilers that require water operating during this period. Your property manager would be able to advise and assist you on this as well as monitoring the property as part of their regular checks.
What administrative steps must I take to set up my second home in France as a holiday rental?
It is not enough to have a beautiful house to qualify for the opening of a gîte, you will also need to respect the French law’s administrative procedures in order to offer short-term accommodation. First, check if your property is a co-ownership (copropriété). There may be a ‘habitation bourgeoise’ clause that forbids its commercial use, preventing seasonal rentals. Contact the mairie nearest to your property to learn about your responsibilities. No matter the rental length, a declaration is required or could result in a €450 fine. Municipalities with a tight rental market and many seasonal rentals may have more restrictions. To run this type of business you must register for a SIRET number with INSEE Sirène. Don’t forget to inform your insurance agent and check that your civil liability insurance covers tenants injured on your property. Remember too that seasonal rental income is subject to tax and social charges and must be declared in France.
Carmel O’Connell is a Director at LBV Property Management Tel: 0033 (0)5 62 29 26 62 lbvfrance.com
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Lead photo credit : Barney Moss
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