How can we cut off utilities at French second home from abroad?

Meter reading need to be taken to close most accounts

Certain appliances that use gas may need to be manually disconnected after you sell your home

Reader Question: We are selling our second home in France but cannot leave the UK to deal with administrative details. Can we sort the final utility readings and transfer to new owners remotely? 

The big problem is gas, especially if equipment, such as a boiler or cooker, is still connected to the network and not part of the sale. 

Someone will have to let the gas technician in to remove the equipment and cap and seal the pipe.

The estate agent who handled the sale, if you used one, is the best bet. 

They are only paid when the sale goes through so they have an interest in ensuring it all goes smoothly and, presumably, they still have the keys.

If the gas was cut off when the house was emptied, the final reading and résiliation du contrat, can be done remotely over the phone or internet, with most suppliers recommending at least two weeks’ notice before the due date.

For electricity, Linky meters mean the final reading and cutting of supply can also be done remotely – you just have to start the résiliation process on the web or by telephone.

Read more: You do not have to pay ‘catch-up’ French energy bills if sent too late

Water is similarly not a problem, with almost all meters outside the house.

The final reading will almost certainly have to be done by a meter reader from your supplier. 

If your meter is hard to access, plan for someone to be present on an arranged date – again, the estate agent is probably the best bet.

You will be able to see from previous bills if the reading is correct. Some water companies take photographs of the final reading before sealing the meter in case of queries.

Closing a telephone/internet account is also done remotely.

Read more: Cancelling contracts in France now easier

As for your question about transferring services to the new owners – it is their worry, not yours.