Furnishing your rental apartment

IMAGE: The lounge of a furnished apartment in Paris

Apartments have to contain a specified list of items in order to meet the legal criteria of ‘furnished’

If you are purchasing your apartment as an investment – i.e. on a buy-to-let basis – the first thing you will need to decide is whether to rent it out as ‘furnished’ (meublée) or ‘unfurnished’ (vide). In France, there is a significant difference between the two, as tenants typically have greater protection when renting an unfurnished property as their main residence.

A standard contract for an unfurnished property is a minimum of three years – but while the tenant is permitted to give three months’ notice within this timeframe, the landlord cannot serve notice during this period except in exceptional circumstances. Once the existing contract comes to an end, if the owner wishes to end the arrangement, they are legally bound to give six months’ notice.

On the other hand, furnished properties have a standard minimum contract of one year and the tenant only has to give one month’s notice at any time. If the landlord wishes to terminate the contract at the end of the agreement, they have to provide three months’ notice.

In order to avoid any confusion between furnished and unfurnished apartments (and landlords trying to pass one off as the other to suit their own needs), the government recently introduced a law on what constitutes a ‘furnished’ apartment.

Legal definition

The government’s legal definition of what qualifies as ‘furnished’ dictates that the property must have a bed with duvet or blanket, shutters or curtains in the rooms, an oven or a microwave, a refrigerator, a freezer (or, failing that, a refrigerator equipped with a freezer compartment), a table and chairs, crockery, kitchen utensils, storage shelves, lighting and general household equipment such as a vacuum cleaner.

As the landlord, you will be expected to provide a full inventory of the items at the start of the tenancy, along with a property condition report (L’Etat des Lieux).  This forms part of the legally-binding tenancy agreement.

So, now that you know what needs to be included in a furnished apartment, the fun part can begin by shopping for it all! If you need a helping hand on that score, here at VINGT Paris, we have dedicated in-house experts on design and deco, so just let us know if you’d like to take advantage of this service. Alternatively, we have lots of helpful information on our website, with details of our trusted deco partners, a list of recommended addresses and plenty of ideas and inspiration to help get you started.