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Old 26.02.2013, 15:18
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owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Hello,

I'm considering renting an apartment in France just a stonethrow away from Geneva and would appreciate your thoughts on the following situation. The owner advertised an apartment as an unfurnished apartment in France, and I expressed interest. However, now she says if I want to have the apartment I must take it under a furnished flat contract as she's planning to put a few items in the apartment. I honestly don't need furniture, and the apartment is clearly not furnished (the stuff she's putting in the apartment are some token junk stuff which I really don't want and don't need - she tells me I can store it in the storage room in the cellar if I don't want it). When I told her I wanted to rent the apartment under a standard unfurnished flat contract, she told me that the apartment is registered with the French government as a furnished apartment, and so she can only rent it out as a furnished apartment under a furnished apartment contract. Any thoughts on this? What should I do?

Greengrass
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Old 26.02.2013, 15:20
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Sounds like she's trying a little scam, but I would try some French ex-pat forums, they would probably have a better idea on French letting regulations.
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Old 26.02.2013, 15:27
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Thanks Paddy. Do you know of any French expat forums where it might be good to post this?
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Old 26.02.2013, 15:57
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Well, not necessarily. If it's registered as a "holiday let" then it's furnished and then actually she has more power to kick you out than if it were a regular flat.

The problem with holiday flats/lets is that the contract is of a limited time and I think not (legally) renewable.

It sounds like it's not deal you want to get into and clearly you need more information. But not sure it's a straight out "scam".

You need to inform yourself about the rules for holiday lets if that is in fact what this is considered.
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Old 26.02.2013, 16:17
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Hi Mia, I wouldn't mind a holiday let if that's what she advertised it as. But, in fact she advertised it as a long-term unfurnished apartment with an option to rent with minimal furniture at the same price. But now she says renting it as an unfurnished apartment is no longer a possibility and renting the apartment "furnished" (albeit there is basically no or scarcely any "furniture" ie. a tiny beaten old refrigerator which is about to fall apart) is mandatory. Her explanation is that it's registered as a furnished apartment with the French government. Would appreciate it if anyone could explain how it works with apartments in France - owners have to register them with the government as holiday lets, furnished, unfurnished, etc?
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Old 26.02.2013, 16:46
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Basically the gist if that if it's a furnished apartment, it's a different type of contract to a "regular" long term unfurnished apartment. It's easier to kick someone one for not paying if they are under a fixed contract for a furnished apartment.

But I have no idea how/if rentals are registered with the government.

I'm sure you can find the rules online. If not you can try searching/asking on expatforum.com under the France forum.
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Old 26.02.2013, 18:31
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

I have just contacted the perfect person for this. Now, can you read French?
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Old 26.02.2013, 18:35
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Who is this person? Yes, I can read French. You can write me offline if you like if there is a specific name.
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Old 27.02.2013, 07:49
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

It's become clear why the owner wants to rent the apartment as furnished - apparently in France, the owner pays less tax on a furnished apartment than on an unfurnished apartment (and can also collect two months rental deposit, instead of the one month deposit on an unfurnished).

Basically she wants things in the papers to be for a furnished flat so will do a furnished flat contract. But she tells me, there will be minimal furniture in the apartment, so when my shipment arrives I can stash everything in the cave/storage room. So it will essentially be unfurnished which is what I need for when my shipment comes in. And she will have her tax break.

I don't know. The "furniture" she's going to put in the apartment is basically throwaway stuff - none of it is new, quality or something that I can really use. I have a large shipment coming in. I will need the cave/storage for my own unused furniture items. She doesn't seem to have an awareness that I am paying monthly rent for full access to the cave and that in expecting me to store this stuff there, she would be encroaching on my access.

To be frank, the misleading and dishonesty bother me. I prefer for things to be transparent, done properly and correct. I do not feel comfortable with this making things appear a certain way in the papers for the owner to have a tax break while the reality is something different.

It is a nice apartment, although the major primary factor is the Geneva housing market. It is a difficult housing market and if it wasn't such a difficult housing market, I probably would pass on these circumstances. At this point though, I do need to move into a nice place. The Geneva housing market being how it is and owners being aware of this, perhaps we have to settle for whatever is doled out to us. Any thoughts?
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Old 27.02.2013, 07:55
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

If I remember well, the other benefit of renting furnished is lower renter's protection. Tenant protection in France is insanely protective.
Comparison table here :
http://www.paruvendu.fr/immobilier/I...-inconvenients
(in french).
NO advice to give. It is mostly the landlord's risk but as explained, tenant protection is lessened.
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Old 27.02.2013, 08:04
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Hi

If you feel uncomfortable, which I would too, and you cannot trust her then don't rent this apartment. Its not worth it and if its like this now, how is it going to be then later? Maybe look around further to see if there is something else (which you probably already did) but do not force yourself into this as you have VERY valid points.

Good luck! I hope you find something very soon.
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Old 27.02.2013, 08:30
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

My thoughts is that she obviously tries to save money where ever possible. I doubt you'll be exempt from her tricks. I say She'll be trying to get you to cover any cost possible should anything break and you'll have a massive fight on your hands to get your full deposit back. She'll try to do you for the smallest scratches and dents. I wouldn't trust her and wouldn't be comfortable living there
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Old 27.02.2013, 08:50
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

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To be frank, the misleading and dishonesty bother me. I prefer for things to be transparent, done properly and correct. I do not feel comfortable with this making things appear a certain way in the papers for the owner to have a tax break while the reality is something different.
I think there's quite a simple solution to this - if she's prepared to pass on some of her significant savings to you then it may be acceptable, gievn that you've said you're not too worried about notice periods etc. I'd ask her, for example, to waive the 2nd month deposit, as well as demanding a significant rent reduction. If she's not prepared to budge, then she's clearly unreasonable as well as dishonest, so walk away.
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Old 27.02.2013, 10:27
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Go with your gut instinct and walk away. As others say, if she's being dishonest with this, there will be more to follow. It would be sad to see you back here in a month's time with a new thread about how you should have followed your gut...
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Old 27.02.2013, 11:09
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

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It is a nice apartment, although the major primary factor is the Geneva housing market. It is a difficult housing market and if it wasn't such a difficult housing market, I probably would pass on these circumstances. At this point though, I do need to move into a nice place. The Geneva housing market being how it is and owners being aware of this, perhaps we have to settle for whatever is doled out to us. Any thoughts?
I think you've summed it up nicely. Basically the market favors her doing things the way she wants.
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Old 27.02.2013, 21:39
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Thanks to everyone for the thoughts and suggestions. Today, the owner told me that her boyfriend is an accountant and that he calculated that if she rents the apartment as a furnished flat, she would get 1,100 euro after tax of the 1,590 euro rent. But if she rents the apartment as an unfurnished flat, she would only be able to keep 800 euro after tax. So, she absolutely must rent the apartment as a furnished flat! (Nevermind the fact that the apartment is basically unfurnished).

At this point, I figured if this is going to officially be a furnished flat and she's going to get a tax break because of it, I had the right to ask for some decent furniture. So I asked her if she would put in a regular presentable bed (not the throwaway makeshift mattress currently there), so that at least there could be a useful piece of furniture there that I could actually use. She told me I was asking too much.

I asked to be able to see a copy of the contract so I can know the terms and conditions before I can decide, and she told me she has asked the insurance to "validate the contract" before she can show it to me and that she'll show me the "finalized contract validated by the insurance" after I decide. I'm not sure what this all means re the insurance validation of the contract. Any clarification and thoughts on this and what's going on would be appreciated.
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Old 28.02.2013, 14:57
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Again, no advice, but I seem to remember that once the owner misrepresents a tenancy agreement, you will be able , once in, to have it re-qualified and benefit from tenant protection while the landlord will benefit from taxman's attention. So if you are in the mood for adversarial relationship, that could be an outcome.

I am French so I know these things happen. Luckily , I don't live in that country.

More details here on what furnished means :

http://www.pap.fr/conseils/location/...-meublee-a1413

Required : bed or convertible sofa with bedding, table, chairs, lighting, shades or curtains. Equipped kitchen and kitchenware.
Every room must be furnished according to its intended use. No empty room.

and here for your landlord if the lease is requalified. She can read french.
http://www.pap.fr/conseils/location/...-en-vide-a1416

Last edited by pabcbc; 28.02.2013 at 15:01. Reason: typo and more details
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Old 28.02.2013, 22:31
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Re: owner wants to rent an unfurnished apartment under a furnished rental contract

Pacbc, thank you for the information.
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