France coronavirus lockdown: Can I still move house?
The rules and regulations about moving house in France during the second coronavirus lockdown
The French Interior Ministry has urged people to delay moving home during the new (second) national lockdown in France wherever possible - however, you can still do so if you have no other choice, according to La Chambre syndicale du déménagement following Prime Minister Jean Castex's press conference on October 29.
On moving day, whether you are staying in the same department or moving to a new one, you must have all necessary documentation in case you are stopped by police, particularly if you are moving to a different region of France.
- lease or deed of purchase for your new address;
- any rental contract for your new address;
- proof of business travel requested for companies (this can be supplied by your removals' company);
- A sworn affidavit explaining why you must move and the protocols you will put in place (an example of the affidavit for moving can be found here);
- An exemption certificate (Attestation dérogatoire de déplacement) and write "Déménagement" as your reason for travelling.
Moving house cannot be used as a reason for making round trips to furniture stores, the Transport Ministry has warned.
Removals firms must respect Covid-19 protocols and be equipped with masks and hand sanitiser, and ensure social distancing wherever possible. "Companies have organised themselves to deal with the virus with measures to protect employees, customers and the entire environment related to moving," said Thierry Gros, president of the Chambre syndicale du déménagement.
Families must also limit the number of people interacting with removal staff both in the property being vacated and the new home, according to France Televisions.
Moving house with the help of family and friends is not recommended, due to the ban on gatherings of more than six people under lockdown and the difficulty of maintaining social distancing.
"The principle of confinement is to limit movement and regrouping," according to the Ministry of Transport, in a report by Huffpost. "You can therefore move with those who move with you (within the same home). Otherwise it should be with a professional."
Delaying your move
If you are a rental tenant and need to delay moving because of lockdown, you must inform your old and new landlords as quickly as possible. The legal notice period for breaking a lease cannot be extended, but lockdown can be considered a case of force majeure, according to France 3.
It prevents you leaving a premises on or before the set date, and should allow you to work out a temporary agreement with both landlords.
If you are buying or selling a property, you can sign a preliminary or full sales agreement if all the signatories agree to do so, while also respecting social distancing rules and other health protocols.
Minister of Housing Emmanuelle Wargon said notaries will put in place the paperless procedures and systems that were used during the spring lockdown, eliminating the need for face-to-face meetings. However, if one of the two owners is unable to move, then a solution that suits all parties will have to be agreed.
Moving to France from the UK
Europe's internal borders remain open but, in all cases, the French government requires all foreign nationals over the age of 11, particularly those coming from countries where Covid-19 is actively circulating, to have the results of a RT-PCR test taken less than 72 hours before entering the country.
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises against all but essential travel to France, including Corsica, based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks.
The full list of rules for travellers coming to France from the UK can be found here.