There is nothing new about renting out holiday accommodation but the sharing economy and the technology that drives it has given more people the chance to turn their empty home or an empty room into a bank boost.
In cities and large towns, people look at renting out spare rooms to people passing through but many of our readers have beautiful homes in beautiful locations that may sit empty while they go off on their own holidays – yet they could return to a nice return from visitors keen to avoid bland hotel rooms.
Having property in France could be a major part of people’s retirement planning – not only as a place to retire to but also as a place to rent out and fund part of the retirement – with tenants (or guests, in the language of Airbnb) paying the mortgage in the meantime. It could also fund other needs, such as a child’s university fees and living expenses, or if you are only offering it for a few weeks while you take a cruise then it could even pay for the cruise.
Offering a property for short-term lets can be very profitable in tourist areas with a study by MeilleursAgents.com showing that a house needed to be rented out for just 10 or 12 days a month to match what could be gained from having it rented on the legal minimum 12 months.
An added advantage is the short-term rental visitor would usually be booked through an agency... with the rent paid up front and all the guest’s contact details confirmed before the rental starts.
A holiday lease is for three months maximum, so there should then be no problem, as with long-term rentals, of tenants not paying rent and living on in the house all winter during the trêve eviction ban.
While renting out a room or two is relatively simple – there may not even be a need to get up early to supply breakfast – once people start to look at renting out their holiday home in France they have some decisions to make.
To make it easier is the fact that if the property would otherwise be empty for several months of the peak holiday season there would also the potential for substantial earnings...
Looking at Airbnb, Holiday Lettings or French site Abritel – French people take many more holidays in their own country than they take abroad – will give an idea of likely earnings, bearing in mind that the property will not be fully booked.
In our photographs above we have looked at properties in Normandy, Dordogne, Chamonix and Paris and prices for lets this month vary widely from €56 for a night in Normandy to €96 in Dordogne – while walkers aiming to conquer their own Mont Blanc in Chamonix can pay €1,027 for a week.
Paris, being Paris, sees this flat with its Eiffel Tower view booked solid until the end of September, when a week in the capital will cost €2,678.
This is not all profit and, apart from the mortgage, there will be costs involved.
One is that regular lets mean someone has to manage the property, clean it and prepare it for a new guest to arrive.
Property management agencies can do that in tourist areas although it may be more difficult in a small village to find someone to manage a property.
With today’s employment situation that may not be such a problem and may even be a business opportunity for someone ready to step in.
Preparing a property also means looking at it from a visitor’s eye – would you rent it from among the choices in your area?
Does it have today’s essentials of wifi and a SmartTV with Netflix?
Would you sleep on a fold-out bed?
Does it have the outside space that city-dwellers demand – and, if not, how can you make it more welcoming?
Once you have your property the way you want it, then you need bright photos to show it at its best and – again borrowing ideas from Airbnb and the rest – bright ideas for the best way to sell it in your ad.
After that it is a case of getting your first guests and enjoying the proceeds.
Gayle Roberts, of Nice Pebbles holiday lettings agency, said her own example sums it up: “I rented my home for €250 a night while on holiday and spent €50 a night on a five-star hotel in Morocco... I earned €200 a night while I slept.”