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Higher taxes, 90/180 days rule… why we are selling up in France

Connexion readers explain why they’ve decided to quit France due to Brexit changes

The hassles of Brexit have driven some second-home owners to sell up in France Pic: defotoberg / Shutterstock

Several readers have told us that they now plan to sell their French second homes due to the restrictions of the 90/180-day rule. 

Most recently, we received emails from Norman Linton, 70, who lives in the Caribbean but spends his summers in his apartment in Cannes, and a British reader with a home near Villeréal, Lot-et-Garonne, who asked not to be named. 

The latter said he has put the property on the market after 12 years, as he wants a second home that is available for the whole summer period and has no need to visit in winter. 

“The only restriction that would have worked for us is 180/360,” he said. 

Mr Linton, who is self-employed but semi-retired, also said that the 90-day limitation is the “final straw”, coming on top of higher taxes and other inconveniences such as “new forms to fill in” and “banks not wanting your business unless you are a French resident”. 

He said: “It is no longer cost-effective to own the apartment and we will be selling it. 

“We have owned our beautiful apartment for 20 years and would spend our summers there when the Caribbean is hot and humid. 

Our annual running cost is about €20,000, including management fees, taxe foncière and d’habitation, insurance and utilities. 

“We have never rented it out. 

“In the last few years the French government has decided that the taxe d’habitation will no longer be paid by those who actually habitent [live] in France and use its medical services and schools, etc. 

Instead, they will increase the rate on those who do not habite in France or use these services. It is extremely unfair. 

“The 90/180-day rule is the final straw. It means that if we spend 90 days in our French apartment in the summer, we would be unable to spend any time in the rest of Europe. 

“For example, this April we spent a week in Portugal followed by a 12-day cruise to Rome and then a week in Rome. 

This will now cut into our allowed time in France. 

“I can’t understand why the EU thinks it’s a good idea to prevent people coming to Europe to spend money there.”

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