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Bail mobilité: How France’s short-term rental contracts work

If you're after a short-term rental in France you might be offered a 'bail mobilité' (mobility lease) - here's how these work and whether they're a good deal.

Bail mobilité: How France's short-term rental contracts work
A placard reads "Studio for rent" in Montpellier. (Photo by PASCAL GUYOT / AFP)

The bail mobilité is a relatively recent invention in France. It was created by the Elan law in 2018 and is a rental contract intended for people who have a temporary need for housing due to their professional activity – whether that be a work transfer, temporary posting, or status as a student. 

In order to qualify, the tenant must show proof that at the beginning of the lease they are in one of the following approved situations: enrolled in professional training or higher education, completing an apprenticeship or internship, on a temporary posting or having received a work transfer, or working as a volunteer as “part of a civic service.”

You can find more specific information about these situations on the French government website HERE

This essentially means that if you are visiting France for an extended period of time for tourism purposes, you likely would not be able to rent using a bail mobilité. This might be a source of confusion for those who see these lease arrangements advertised on websites such as Airbnb (more on this below). 

There are some rules that lodgings listed as “mobility leases” must follow. They must always be furnished rentals – meaning they are required to provide the tenant with specific items such as bedding, dishes, and other things. You can learn more HERE.

READ MORE: Renting property in France: Should I go for furnished or unfurnished?

Next, the lease itself must be between one to ten months. It cannot exceed ten months. Additionally, mobility leases cannot be renewed. If the tenant and landlord want to renew the rental, it will have to be within the context of a standard furnished rental contract.

With a mobility lease, the owner is not allowed to ask the renter for a security deposit (dépôt de garantie). However, they do have the right to request a guarantor (un garant, or sometimes referred to as a caution). 

In terms of the actual lease itself, it must include certain documents, similar to a standard furnished rental contract. The lease must include an inventory of fixtures (état des lieux), the technical diagnostic file (this includes the energy rating, for example), and if the property is located in a condominium or apartment building, then the regulations concerning common areas. 

The tenant retains the right to move out at any time during the lease – as long as they give one month’s notice to the owner (or the real estate company if the accommodation is managed by an agency). Typically, this is done via registered letter (lettre recommandée) with acknowledgement of receipt.

On the other hand, the landlord cannot terminate the lease before the end date (unless the tenant does not respect their obligations, such as paying rent). 

When it comes to determining the rental price of a dwelling listed under a bail mobilité, the landlord can set the rent by their own standards, as long as the lodging is not located in a zone tendue (housing shortage area) and therefore is not bound by local rent caps. However, rent cannot be revised during the lease and it should be listed within the rental contract.

Finally, if the property is being rented to more than one person (a colocation), the lease cannot require the roomates to have a “solidarity clause.” This is a part of the lease that would outline the requirement of the co-tenant(s) to pay the rents even if another co-tenant gives notice and moves out. Typically, this would also outline when that expectation for the other tenant(s) to cover remaining rents would end. 

Common questions about mobility leases

First, the bail mobilité is often confused with the “secondary-residence lease.” The two differ primarily due to the fact that a mobility lease can constitute a primary residence, depending on the duration of the lease.

The next common question regarding mobility leases is whether it is possible to rent one via an online rental platform, such as Airbnb. The short answer is – yes. However, as mentioned before, the bail mobilité is only available to specific groups of people.

Renting with a mobility lease absolves the requirement to pay the ‘tourist tax’ (taxe de séjour) in certain cities – as it is a residential lease and not a tourist accommodation. The tourist tax is automatically added to Airbnb charges, but in certain French cities such as Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nantes, Lille Nice, Strasbourg, and Marseille, booking with a mobility lease automatically exempts the renter form paying the tourist tax. 

READ MORE: What are the rules on renting out French property on Airbnb?

In other parts of France, people signing mobility leases via Airbnb may be charged a tourist tax, but this can be refunded by request at the local town hall. 

Additionally, renting a property under a mobility lease exempts the owner from having to do a “change of use” declaration with the town hall, as the property will technically continue being used as residential accommodation, rather than touristic. This authorisation is mandatory for furnished tourist accommodation in many French cities.

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TAXES

What’s the penalty for failing to file France’s new property tax declaration?

French tax authorities recently issued a new required property tax declaration, here is what you need to know about the potential penalty for failing to file it.

What's the penalty for failing to file France's new property tax declaration?

French tax authorities have threatened to issue fines of up to €150 for those property owners fail to fill submit the new compulsory tax return.

Property owners in France have until June 30th, 2023 to file the new return, which specifies whether the property in question is a primary or secondary residence.

How much is the fine?

It is set to a fixed amount of €150 per property according to the French Public Service website.

Under what circumstances could I be fined?

You can be fined if you fail to submit the declaration prior to June 30th. You can also be fined if the declaration is found to be erroneous, incomplete, or missing information.

When could the fine be issued?

The fine would only be issued after June 30th – the final date to file the tax declaration – if tax authorities do not receive the form by the deadline.

How can I fill out my declaration?

If you live in France and already make your annual tax declaration online then this process should be fairly easy – head to impots.gouv.fr, log in and then click on Biens immobiliers (“Real Estate”) in the menu bar along the top of the website.

You will then be directed to the “Manage my real estate” service of the site which will then list the property or properties in your name, and you can fill out the déclaration d’occupation for each, stating whether it is your main residence or a second home.

The Local has put together a guide to the new tax declaration and how to fill it out here.

READ MORE: France brings in new tax declaration for property-owners

If you have any questions or difficulties in completing the declaration, you can contact the help phone number at 0 809 401 401 – keep in mind that the operator may only speak French, so if you are worried about your language level you may want to ask for assistance from a proficient French speaker.

You can also reach out to the tax authorities using the secure messaging system on the Impôts.Gouv.fr website. The page “J’ai une question sur le service Biens immobiliers” (“I have a question about the Real Estate department”) will allow you to send messages and ask questions, albeit in French.

You can also find the location of your local tax office here

The new tax declaration applies to anyone who owns property in France – whether it is their main residence or a second home – including those who live in another country. If you do not own property and only rent your home, then this does not concern you.

Keep in mind that the tax return is not an extra tax, it’s simply an extra piece of paperwork that has to be filled in, known as a Déclaration d’occupation, and this declaration is concerned with whether the property is your main residence or a second home.

The document will be required this year because of recent changes to the property tax system. There are two types of property tax in France; taxe foncière which is paid by the property owner and taxe d’habitation which is paid by the property occupier. If you own your home home, traditionally you paid both.

READ MORE: UPDATE: New French property tax declaration – your questions answered

However, taxe d’habitation is in the process of being scrapped for most people, and now only high-earners and second-home owners pay it. The problem is that the tax office don’t have a record of whether a property is used as a main home or a second home and therefore don’t know who to send bills to – hence the new declaration.

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