Long terms lets in Burgundy
Before making a life changing decision, such as moving to Burgundy, have you thought about ‘testing the waters’ and finding a property to rent? Or, if you know your heart is set on a Burgundy welcome, why not take the time to breath in some Burgundy air in between chateaux hunting?
There are several possibilities when looking for a rental property.
Probably the easiest option is to contact local gite owners who will be more than happy to negociate their prices for a long term lett, particularly during the low season from Autumn to Spring. This is the ‘easy’ option because first of all the gite is furnished so you won’t have to bring your kitchen sink with you when you move in!
And secondly, private house owners are usually only interested in tentants with a strong financial background and who are very convincing when they say that they will be staying in the house for numerous years! Since the demand for rented accommodation is very strong in Burgundy, particularly in and around towns, you may have stiff competition from the locals!
However, gites tend to come complete with on-site owners, so depending on how ‘social’ you are this might not exactly be your cup of ‘Burgundy wine’.
If you prefer to look for private rented accommodation, its worth knowing that unfurnished housing comes with a 3 year rental contract but tenants can give 3 month’s notice if they wish to terminate the contract. Houses tend not to be superbly decorated though. So don’t be surprised if you need sunglasses to enter the house since many seem to be covered from floor to ceiling in delightful 1970’s brown and orange flower power wall paper! And don’t be surprised either if the kitchen only consists of a cupboard and a sink!
Alternatively, you can look for furnished accommodation but this tends to be only studios though. When accommodation is furnished the rental contract lasts for 1 year and the tenant is only obliged to give one month’s notice to terminate.
Your first point of call, should be the “petites annonces” (Small ads), a good source to find these is in the free papers normally on the counter of small convenience stores, like the co-op and bar-tabacs. L’Hebdo and the Paru Vendu papers, usually have a good selection of accommodation.
You’ll find that in France there is a system of categorising a house or apartment. It is described in terms of F1, F2, F3 etc for apartments and T1,2,3 for houses, what this means is the number of rooms the property has excluding kitchens, toilettes and bathrooms. Other words to look out for are the condition (etat), bon, tres bien etc. You must also be wary of charges, which are added on top of the rent for things like water, etc.
Estate agents usually have a large selection of rented accommodation but be prepared to pay an introduction fee. The Burgundy Grapevine is another good method, asking in mairies, bars etc.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on the noticeboards of the supermarkets as they display small ads.
Once you’ve found a property you like then be prepared to answer all sorts of questions from your prospective landlord as to your plans, finances and your situation. They also may want to see a bank statement and ask you to provide a guarantor. The deposit varies but will normally be either one or two months rent in advance. If you’re still not put off after this then provided you’ve satisfied the landlord as to your ability to satisfy the monthly payments then you’ll have a house!
© Jacquie Boulton-Bridoux