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Utilities & services

If your reason for buying a house in France is to move there permanently, you may wish to compare the costs of services, utilities and taxes in the country you are leaving for those in France. If you are buying the property as a holiday home, whether to rent out for part of the time or not, then these expenses need to be considered as part of the extra ongoing costs of owning a property in France.

The main expenses (including taxes as explained above) are:

• Taxe d’habitation: See above. Depending on the “commune” (they are not managed in the same way…). Estimated cost: 5/8€ per sq.m/year;

• Taxe foncière: See above. Depending on the commune, and on whether or not the property has a swimming pool. Estimated cost: 6/10€ per sq.m/year;

• Home insurance: It is not only obviously sensible to have your French property insured, but also actually mandatory, under French law, that you have house insurance in place as soon as the property passes into your name. As with most countries, the actual cost of insurance will vary according to factors such as the size, number of habitable rooms, condition of the building, etc. Estimated cost: depending on insured 2/5€ per sq.m/year;

• TV license: covers all the TVs in the house and the demand comes as part of the same document as the taxe d’habitation. Even if you don’t watch French TV, and use your TV for watching films on DVD for instance, if your property has a TV screen (aerial or online) you will be liable to pay the tax. 2017 cost: 138€/year;

• Electricity: If the property is connected to mains electricity, it will be on a metered supply and payable quarterly, or through a monthly direct debit. Estimated cost: depending on house equipment, and whether or not the house has air conditioning: 8/12€ per sq.m/year;

• Gas: If the property is connected to mains gas, it will be on a metered supply and payable quarterly, or through a monthly direct debit. Estimated cost: depending on house equipment: 7/11€ per sq.m/year;

• Sewage: If your French property is in a rural situation, and not connected to mains drainage, you will need to factor in to your ongoing expenses the cost of having your “fosse septique” emptied, usually about once every four years. Estimated cost: 200€;

• Water: Paid to the commune twice yearly, this is the equivalent of the water rates in the U.K. Water is metered, so part of that element of the charge is variable. Estimated cost: 2/4€ per sq.m/year

All in all: 350€ + 30/50€ per sq.m. One might also want to pay a caretaker who would overlook the property on behalf of the foreign owners (monthly fee: from 150€ to 400€) and a gardening service to look after the exteriors (monthly fee: from 50€ to 150€).

Running (yearly) costs usually average around 2 to 3% of the cost of a property – depending on the range of services required. Which, for a 180 sq.m worth 400,000€, the total on the low end of the spectrum comes to 350€ + (180 x 40€) = 7,550€, or 630€ per month.

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