New changes to mortgages and insurance
A proposed new law is expected to bring in three changes related to mortgage rules and insurance, which would all benefit those taking out loans from later this year.
The bill has been adopted by a mixed parliamentary committee, and must be signed off by both houses of parliament in readings later this month. It is highly likely to be passed following agreement in the mixed committee.
The first change involves loan insurance.
When taking out a mortgage in France, it is necessary to at the same time take out loan insurance.
Currently, households can only change their insurance plan or insurer within the first year of taking it out, or, after that, once a year on the date the contract was signed.
The proposed new law will open up the possibility to change the insurance at any point.
This is expected to come into force from July 1 for all new insurance contracts, and from September 1 for any existing contracts.
A second element of the proposed law scraps the requirement for people to complete a health questionnaire for all mortgages under €200,000 per person (as long as they are taken out before a person’s 60th birthday).
Finally, people who have recovered from cancer in France are, under the proposals, set to soon be able to ‘forget’ about the disease in relation to giving details to insurers, or when applying for mortgages or other loans, after five years of recovery.
This means they will not face higher premiums or refusals as they may do now because of their former illness. Currently they must wait ten years after recovery before the declaration requirement is dropped. .
You can read more about this in our article here: Recovered cancer patients in France set to have easier access to loans
Five websites to find an ‘odd jobs’ person near you
With spring approaching soon, many homeowners may be thinking of making some small repairs or renovations to their property.
This could mean requiring the help of a handyman (or handywoman). This profession is known as un homme (une femme) à tout faire in French, or otherwise un bricoleur (une bricoleuse), though this latter term also refers to members of the public who do DIY in their own home.
In France, there are several websites that can help put homeowners in touch with a nearby person who can carry out household odd jobs. This is linked to what the French now call le jobbing, referring to people who are willing to help the public with various small one-off tasks at home at short notice.
Here we list five sites de jobbing to find the right person for your job:
This online community has around 600,000 members either offering services or seeking services.
It allows users to post announcements offering their skills, be it in taking care of animals, sports coaching or handyman/woman jobs. Other users can view these announcements to see if there is anyone who matches with their needs. You can narrow down the location of your search by city or department
À Mon Service
This site helps you find professionals in various different fields. One option is for handyman/woman jobs (bricolage). Select this option in the search bar, insert your address, and you can view the profiles of the different professionals available in your area. You can then book their services on the same platform.
This website brings together over 40,000 professionals, including plumbers, electricians and painters and decorators. It allows you to post a ‘project’, specifying what type of job you want done, and then it puts you in touch with someone who can do that task in your area.
This is another well-known site for finding a handyperson. In a similar manner to other platforms, you post an announcement detailing the type of job you want carried out, and then find the matching professional. It claims to have over 200,000 professionals listed on its site and guarantees a response within 24 hours.
The platform claims to have 24,000 active professionals who have completed 786,000 jobs around France. You fill out a form detailing the type of job you want done, get an estimation of the price and duration, and then post your announcement. Professionals near you will then propose their services to you.
How to access financial aid for age-related home renovations
In 2021, 26,800 households in France received financial aid to help adapt their homes to cater for old age, including installing accessibility features and renovating bathrooms, the Agence nationale de l'habitat (Anah) reported.
The financial aid for these renovations is called Habiter facile. It could be used towards converting a bath to a walk-in shower or getting a stairlift installed, for example.
This aid is limited to people with low or moderate income. For example, for a couple in Ile-de-France, annual income must be lower than €37,739 to benefit. For a couple elsewhere in France, the annual income must be lower than €28,614 to benefit.
See a more detailed breakdown of the income limits here.
The homeowner must also meet the following criteria:
- The house is more than 15 years old
- The homeowner has not received an interest-free mortgage loan (PTZ) in the past five years
- The homeowner is committed to living in their home as their main residence for at least six years after the work is completed
People aged over 60 who have mobility problems can benefit from financing to cover from 35 to 50% of the cost of their work (capped at between €7,000 and €10,000) depending on their income level.
Find out more about the aid at this link here
Lettre de résiliation - why it could be important when selling
A letter terminating a rental agreement (known as a lettre de résiliation in French), is a standard letter written by tenants to landlords to notify them that they are moving out.
This letter can be very important for landlords wishing to sell their property.
A woman recently posted a message on a Facebook group for property owners in France saying that she was on the cusp of selling her property when the buyer asked for this letter, which the woman had lost.
She wanted to know if buyers have the right to demand this letter.
The answer is yes. In fact, buyers must ask for a copy of this letter. It allows them to ensure that the conditions of the termination of the rental agreement were properly respected, and if necessary, to protect them from possible future disputes with the former tenant.
If the tenant can prove that the rental agreement was not properly ended, they can demand that the sale of the property be nullified.
If a landlord loses this letter and wishes to sell their property, they will have to track down their former tenant and ask them to provide a copy of this letter.
Tenants often leave their contact details or new addresses with landlords before moving out.
Maximum rental price of properties must be displayed in announcements
A new rule set to come into force on April 1 will mean that in areas of the country subject to rental controls, all property adverts will have to include the maximum rent prices possible in the area.
There are 28 urban areas in France that are subject to rental controls (known as l’encadrement des loyers).
These are: Ajaccio, Annecy, Arles, Bastia, Bayonne, Beauvais, Bordeaux, Draguignan, Fréjus, Genève-Annemasse, Grenoble, La Rochelle, La Teste-de-Buch-Arcachon, Lille, Lyon, Marseille - Aix-en-Provence, Meaux, Menton-Monaco, Montpellier, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Saint-Nazaire, Sète, Strasbourg, Thonon-les-Bains, Toulon, Toulouse
All rental announcements in these area, via estate agents or individuals, will from April have to include:
- The base rent of the proposed property (rent excluding bills / additional costs)
- The maximum amount the rent can be (as set by prefectural decree)
- Any additional rent that could apply when the maximum amount is reached due to certain characteristics of the property (such as location or luxury features)
It should be noted that certain areas in the zones subject to rental controls are exempt from the controls.
Bonus property news
The latest quarterly report on property prices and trends in France was recently published by the official network of notaires.
This property information is the fullest available as it takes into account property sales and pre-sales across France rather than data from individual estate agents (however the data presented mostly relates to non new-build properties).
You can read our coverage of this report, including how Brexit is affecting sales, and where prices have increased and decreased the most for non-new builds, in our article here: Latest notaire data: Where are property prices rising most in France?