Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Redwards

moving to france

Recommended Posts

Hello

I am asking a question of you hardened franco/spaino/files   (not the right phrase but hey ho)  I have just seen an article from an estate agent, that as long as one buys a french (EU) property in the EU before the dreaded March date next year then your EU rights may be protected.  

This seems too good to be true hence my question to all you more experienced french property owners. Can this be holiday home or do you actually have to move to to france?   Whilst the latter would be my preferred option, we cannot achieve this in the deadline unless one of us decided that was our place of residence, or is not as easy as that?  

Any practical comments are gratefully received 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there any chance of providing a link to that article, if it was online, so I can read the details. It's the word 'may' that makes all the difference and I'd be interested to see if it was written from a French perspective or by a British agent selling property in France before answering your question because there are number of factors at play. Ed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The OP's question is impossible to answer as I don't really understand it.

What EU rights might be protected?

As "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed", none of us has the slightest idea of what fate has in store for us post-Brexit - if it actually happens.

If there is a "no-deal" outcome, God alone knows what that will mean.

As Ed has said, the opportunity to read the agent's precise words might help us to deduce something, but it is unlikely. We expats may be seasoned, but we don't yet know how our goose will be cooked.

Given the schism in the Tory party, no-one, including Mrs May, has any idea of what the final outcome will be.

Edited by Jardinier

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Redwards said:

Hello

I am asking a question of you hardened franco/spaino/files   (not the right phrase but hey ho)  I have just seen an article from an estate agent, that as long as one buys a french (EU) property in the EU before the dreaded March date next year then your EU rights may be protected.  

This seems too good to be true hence my question to all you more experienced french property owners. Can this be holiday home or do you actually have to move to to france?   Whilst the latter would be my preferred option, we cannot achieve this in the deadline unless one of us decided that was our place of residence, or is not as easy as that?  

Any practical comments are gratefully received 

First of all, I can only speak about France (as opposed to Spain or elsewhere).

With regards to a 2nd home here in France, I teally rather doubt whether Brexit will make that much difference.  Local taxation already penalises those owners to some extent (not much, in truth), and ‘B’ isn’t really going to change things.  Its not as though the French authorities are going to be confiscating British-owned property!

As for people planning a full scale move to France, I’d have to say that this estate agent is probably right.  The biggest risk has always been that the British Govt would say that paying for healthcare would cease once Brexit happened.  It would appear (?) that there’s no danger of that for those already established, however it was always likely (if not, probable) that the shutters would come down at or around the time of Brexit formalisation.  That risk has significant financial implications.

Lets put it this way - if it was me and I had a permanent move to France in mind, I’d be wanting to effect it before the end of 2018.  BTW, you wouldn’t need to have actually purchased a property by that date, just be fiscally resident. 

Everything that I’ve said applies to retirees in receipt of a UK State Pension.  Anybody not in that situation (and I’m greatly simplifying things here) will either be in employment here in France and paying the French equivalent of NI contributions & income tax, or be under UK retirement age and having to buy (at no small expense) state & top-up private healthcare cover.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please may I just add that, to complicate matters further, whatever "deal" might be achieved between the government and Monsieur Barnier, it has to be approved by the 27 other national governments, and I think by some regional parliaments as well, and in addition by the European Parliament itself - an institution which is doing its best to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and of UK citizens in the EU?

What are the chances of agreement being forthcoming from all those places?

I have no idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The site was French property guide.     I am sure them mean fully relocate to France but I was just hoping we could have a foot in 2 camps for I suspect the outcome of whatever is agreed will not suit me who likes the current freedom of movement allowed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the moment with everything up in the air as it is Brexitwise, with nobody knowing for certain what is five minutes round the corner.  What might apply now might be completely different tomorrow, next week, Christmas or after March.  I follow the series Escape to the Chateau and the DIY offshoot where people are doing up old chateaus.  The reason a lot of them are abandoned is due to them being immmense money pits,  I see loads of them on urban exploration sites that I follow on Facebook.  Some of these old chateaus are the most stunning architecturally with the most beautiful wall and paintings all crumbling and peeling away.  Yet there are loads of Brits sinking a lot of money into them intending to use them for business.  Wish them luck, obviously, but to be honest, these places swallow up money like no-ones business, and after March next year then this will possibly impact on them even further.  I just wonder how many will be still there next year this time after all the effort they are putting into restoring these lovely houses. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Redwards said:

The site was French property guide.     I am sure them mean fully relocate to France but I was just hoping we could have a foot in 2 camps for I suspect the outcome of whatever is agreed will not suit me who likes the current freedom of movement allowed

The following link may provide you with some more information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_residence

If what you are hoping to achieve from such a purchase is dual UK/EU resident status then I think you might have problems. If you are looking to change nationality then there are various tests to go through, as there are in the UK. If you want to pay tax in France then you will need to be resident for more than a certain number of days per year (I think it actually counts as nights spent in the country as my sister-in-law is Swiss, works in Switzerland, takes home a Swiss salary but lives just over the border in France and pays tax there). Ed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 08/06/2018 at 20:47, Redwards said:

I have just seen an article from an estate agent, that as long as one buys a french (EU) property in the EU before the dreaded March date next year then your EU rights may be protected.  

Can this be holiday home or do you actually have to move to to france?

The above edited down to the nitty gritty.

The EU rights that you presently have as an EU citizen will be lost unless there are agreements between the 28 countries.

Whilst you will almost certainly be able to buy French property after Brexit (in whatever form it takes) you may not have freedom of movement, so travel will be just slightly more taxing as it would resemble travelling to a non-EU country right now - though there has in the past been talk that both sides will require visas, and they will cost, of course.

On a house in France, you would have to pay the two local taxes. It may well be that if the French house is a second home, the taxes may be higher than on a primary residence. There are rules and regulations about renting out such a property. You need to spend 183 nights a year in France to be tax-resident here. If/when you are fiscally resident in France, all income, derived from all sources anywhere in the world, has to be declared to the French taxman. All bank accounts in foreign countries have to be declared, too. If your pension(s) is/are taxed in the UK, then the French tax authorities will allow a "tax credit" so that you are not taxed twice on the same money. (This is unlikely to change post-Brexit).

Have you considered your health cover? If you're resident in France, working and paying in to the system, you'll probably be covered by the "Sécu" (social security). You would still need a "top-up" insurance. If you're officially retired in the UK, then the DWP pays your contributions to the French health system via a form known as an S1 - an EU document. Post-Brexit, this system may or may not continue. Both sides have, as I understand it, agreed to this in principle, but the proof of the pudding ... If you move to France, don't work but are not officially retired in the UK, then you will have to fund ALL your health care until you do reach retirement age - that is, both the 'top-up" and a primary policy which would replace the portion that the DWP would normally pay.

To obtain French nationality, you need to have lived in France (i.e., permanently) for at least five years. Over 60, there is no requirement to take a language exam, but the interview at the préfecture (which for myself and people I know lasted for approx an hour) is conducted exclusively in French. All Brits who don't have French nationality are currently being advised by both UK and French governments to obtain a Carte de Séjour Permanent (which, despite its name, is valid for ten years). It is quite acceptable to have UK and French dual nationality. (Other countries have different rules).

At present one of the struggles going on, a little behind the scenes, is for UK nationals living in one EU country to retain freedom of movement to move to another EU country. Without special agreement, this right will be lost after Brexit. It concerns a surprisingly large number of people who reside in a country for a specific job and then have to relocate to exercise their skills elsewhere.

What other rights are you concerned about, Redwards?

Finally, might I recommend to you that (if you haven't done already) you sign up to one of the fora aimed particularly at British immigrants to France and at those who aspire so to be? There are lots of people on those, all keen and indeed proud to relate their experiences and pass on hints and tips. However, do be careful! I have read some arrant nonsense on those, written by people who think they are fully conversant with all things French. After over fifteen years here, I would advise reading all such material, and then finding out the real facts for yourself by going to the relevant authorities who in my experience, when approached with a smile and decent bit of French, are very helpful and accommodating. (I live in the SW - it's generally thought to be a bit different up north!) When I hear Brits moaning and whingeing about French red tape, it's often (but not always!) down to a failure to communicate properly on one side or the other.

Whatever you decide, good luck!
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Jardinier said:

The above edited down to the nitty gritty.

The EU rights that you presently have as an EU citizen will be lost unless there are agreements between the 28 countries.

Whilst you will almost certainly be able to buy French property after Brexit (in whatever form it takes) you may not have freedom of movement, so travel will be just slightly more taxing as it would resemble travelling to a non-EU country right now - though there has in the past been talk that both sides will require visas, and they will cost, of course.

On a house in France, you would have to pay the two local taxes. It may well be that if the French house is a second home, the taxes may be higher than on a primary residence. There are rules and regulations about renting out such a property. You need to spend 183 nights a year in France to be tax-resident here. If/when you are fiscally resident in France, all income, derived from all sources anywhere in the world, has to be declared to the French taxman. All bank accounts in foreign countries have to be declared, too. If your pension(s) is/are taxed in the UK, then the French tax authorities will allow a "tax credit" so that you are not taxed twice on the same money. (This is unlikely to change post-Brexit).

Have you considered your health cover? If you're resident in France, working and paying in to the system, you'll probably be covered by the "Sécu" (social security). You would still need a "top-up" insurance. If you're officially retired in the UK, then the DWP pays your contributions to the French health system via a form known as an S1 - an EU document. Post-Brexit, this system may or may not continue. Both sides have, as I understand it, agreed to this in principle, but the proof of the pudding ... If you move to France, don't work but are not officially retired in the UK, then you will have to fund ALL your health care until you do reach retirement age - that is, both the 'top-up" and a primary policy which would replace the portion that the DWP would normally pay.

To obtain French nationality, you need to have lived in France (i.e., permanently) for at least five years. Over 60, there is no requirement to take a language exam, but the interview at the préfecture (which for myself and people I know lasted for approx an hour) is conducted exclusively in French. All Brits who don't have French nationality are currently being advised by both UK and French governments to obtain a Carte de Séjour Permanent (which, despite its name, is valid for ten years). It is quite acceptable to have UK and French dual nationality. (Other countries have different rules).

At present one of the struggles going on, a little behind the scenes, is for UK nationals living in one EU country to retain freedom of movement to move to another EU country. Without special agreement, this right will be lost after Brexit. It concerns a surprisingly large number of people who reside in a country for a specific job and then have to relocate to exercise their skills elsewhere.

What other rights are you concerned about, Redwards?

Finally, might I recommend to you that (if you haven't done already) you sign up to one of the fora aimed particularly at British immigrants to France and at those who aspire so to be? There are lots of people on those, all keen and indeed proud to relate their experiences and pass on hints and tips. However, do be careful! I have read some arrant nonsense on those, written by people who think they are fully conversant with all things French. After over fifteen years here, I would advise reading all such material, and then finding out the real facts for yourself by going to the relevant authorities who in my experience, when approached with a smile and decent bit of French, are very helpful and accommodating. (I live in the SW - it's generally thought to be a bit different up north!) When I hear Brits moaning and whingeing about French red tape, it's often (but not always!) down to a failure to communicate properly on one side or the other.

Whatever you decide, good luck!
 

Brigitte is absolutely correct when she says no-one knows what will happen after Brexit as nothing has yet been negotiated.It could be a soft modification or a huge change for Brits living in France.The French authorities are not going to pay for people who they don't have to pay for.I think the health insurance issue could be very awkward for the British living in France.It could prove to be very costly for those Brits who stay when the UK leaves the EU.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're correct, too, Imprimerie.

If the health cover from the UK stops, there will be many Brits across the EU who will have no choice but to return to the UK. I would, in that case, feel sorry for both the NHS who will have to deal with these extra folk, and for the folk themselves, who sadly in many cases will find in the UK health provision that is rather worse than the one they will have left behind. And that is no criticism of the wonderful staff who do their best to make the NHS work, but of those at the top who finance and manage it.

Those returning Brits will also need somewhere to live. They may not have been able to sell their properties in their host country and even if they have, may not have the necessary funds to purchase in an expensive UK market. Any social housing available? Well, last I read was that there are already one million people in the social housing queue. And if I understand correctly, returnees need to be resident for six months in the UK before any benefits are payable.

Meanwhile, back in the host countries, in counties like the Dordogne which receive a great deal of tax income from Brit homeowners, there will suddenly be a loss of taxpayers, who are also customers of the local shops and tradesmen. Damage to local economies, then.

I haven't mentioned any potential failure to index-link pensions, which would obviously add to British immigrants' problems. (I don't like the word "expat", as it implies a degree of discrimination). It is possible: the UK government is finding itself more and more strapped for cash, and the economy is struggling.

So I truly hope that local, regional and national governments are thinking seriously about the consequences of their decisions. Hopefully, it won't come to the scary scenario I've deliberately painted here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, imprimerie said:

The French authorities are not going to pay for people who they don't have to pay for.I think the health insurance issue could be very awkward for the British living in France.It could prove to be very costly for those Brits who stay when the UK leaves the EU.

There’s virtually nothing above that I would quarrel with - Jardinier summarised the situation concisely.

All I’d say Imprimerie, is that the French are ambivalent about it.  The UK currently pays for ‘entitled people’ (as described by Jardinier) and the only issue is whether that continues.

I have always taken the view that ‘incumbents’ will continue to receive their healthcare benefits, but that there might well be a ‘cut-off’ for new arrivals.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gardian said:

I have always taken the view that ‘incumbents’ will continue to receive their healthcare benefits, but that there might well be a ‘cut-off’ for new arrivals. 

Yes, that could be what the various leaders might call a compromise.

However, if newcomers have no health cover from the UK (which pensioners will have paid into during their working lives, and therefore, one would think, have a right to receive when it's their turn) there will be many fewer immigrants from the UK to the EU. This will mean a glut of housing in the rural and coastal areas where Brits have tended to congregate in Spain and France particularly, and consequent upon that a fall in house prices in affected areas, and indeed some houses may never be sold.

In the meantime, when the house owner dies, his/her beneficiaries have to pay the tax on it (sold or not) in France, at least. (There is a tax-free allowance of €100 000 per inheriting child, I believe). But it's complicated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Jardinier said:

You're correct, too, Imprimerie.

If the health cover from the UK stops, there will be many Brits across the EU who will have no choice but to return to the UK. I would, in that case, feel sorry for both the NHS who will have to deal with these extra folk, and for the folk themselves, who sadly in many cases will find in the UK health provision that is rather worse than the one they will have left behind. And that is no criticism of the wonderful staff who do their best to make the NHS work, but of those at the top who finance and manage it.

Those returning Brits will also need somewhere to live. They may not have been able to sell their properties in their host country and even if they have, may not have the necessary funds to purchase in an expensive UK market. Any social housing available? Well, last I read was that there are already one million people in the social housing queue. And if I understand correctly, returnees need to be resident for six months in the UK before any benefits are payable.

Meanwhile, back in the host countries, in counties like the Dordogne which receive a great deal of tax income from Brit homeowners, there will suddenly be a loss of taxpayers, who are also customers of the local shops and tradesmen. Damage to local economies, then.

I haven't mentioned any potential failure to index-link pensions, which would obviously add to British immigrants' problems. (I don't like the word "expat", as it implies a degree of discrimination). It is possible: the UK government is finding itself more and more strapped for cash, and the economy is struggling.

So I truly hope that local, regional and national governments are thinking seriously about the consequences of their decisions. Hopefully, it won't come to the scary scenario I've deliberately painted here.

Living and working in the Vendee(I and my familly have had French nationality since 2002 ) it seems that those Brits living here are oblivious as to what the outcome of a hard Brexit could do to their lives.Why don't they wait and see before making decisions which may have to be reversed.We may have to wait at least another year before the full effect of Brexit is known.

Edited by imprimerie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are three Brit couples in our village. Two husbands have acquired French nationality, their wives are applying for a Carte de Séjour Permanent. The third couple we have kept in the loop, advising them, referring them to appropriate websites, etc. However, they do seem to prefer burying their heads in the sand and wishing it would all go away.

A hard Brexit is looking more likely as each day passes. I have seen one prediction that the pound would be worth 60p (I presume they meant the equivalent in centimes), but even if it settles at parity, this would be a very big blow to many Brits living in France who depend on pension income from the UK. I presume it's a similar story in Spain - or perhaps worse, as I imagine that the average age of Brit residents in Spain is greater than in France, and we all know that the older we get the more resistant we are to change and to making the effort to deal with it.

We've had storms down here recently and two days ago the couple who have their heads in the sand had a huge poplar tree blown down, demolishing a the small building that houses their pool pump and ending up lying across the swimming pool. I went with the mayor to see if we could help, and they were so depressed. The Brexit thing is certainly weighing on their minds. They are starting to feel that it's all too much for them to deal with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for such detailed and thoughtful comments.  I suspect the full impact will not become clear until after the event whenever that is.   I guess we as a couple are scuppered now and its too late to move, which is a shame as we feel more European than English these days and thats with me not being political at all.  Its the way of life and how people live and interact that appeals 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If we had a government and not a shower it might be possible to predict what might happen. What we have is the Tory party which has been a shambles since 1992 showing no signs of growing up and a leader of the opposition so hamstrung by juvenile opinions he has expressed over the years that he contributes nothing. I feel very sorry for Brits living in Europe as much as I do for French folk who have been used to working here.  I feel especially sorry for those who left themselves no bolt hole in the shape of property  here - given the depressed property market in France they'll have fat chance of coming back to the UK even if they want to.   But the plain fact is that it would have taken a crew rather more statesmanlike and, dare one say, intelligent to navigate a way through the best part of fifty years worth of treaties and agreements in ten years leave alone the few months that our Prime Minister impersonator gave herself. No wonder she seems to have pretty well disappeared from public view. No wonder the civil service have clearly thrown in the towel. The answer to the OP is simple no one (and I suspect this is nowhere more true than in the case of the Foreign Secretary) knows. And that sadly applies to virtually any political question you care to ask - about Domestic policy too (scarily).

Edited by Millsy
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Millsy said:

 I feel very sorry for Brits living in Europe as much as I do for French folk who have been used to working here. 

Your thoughts are appreciated Millsy, but I’m sure that most of us  (not all, of course) are quite philosophical about things. 

This is where we have chosen to live and (accordingly) you have to take the ‘rough with the smooth’.   Although I count myself as a fervent ‘Remainer’, I strongly suspect that the effects for us of the dreaded ‘B’ will be liveable with.  Not much choice really.

For the UK?  Less sure, but lets not start that debate eh?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some Brits living in Europe for whom it is reasonable to feel sorry, Millsy: living on pensions paid in sterling who have already seen a substantial loss of income after the collapse of the pound, for example. Those same people could see their revenue fall quite a lot further. If their pensions produce even fewer euros and their health cover from the UK fails, they have only one solution, really, and it's a very poor one. It's really not a solution, but an imposed course of action.

I think Mrs J and I can manage unless the pound falls to very low levels. We moved all our savings to France some time ago, with a view to covering ourselves for nursing home care if/when the time comes. It may turn out that we have to draw on those savings just for living expenses before that time arrives. An interesting possibility then arises: our children can be billed for our health care in a nursing home.

I cannot foresee me ever returning to the UK to live. As Gardian says, you just have to accept what life throws at you. Politically, I'm totally with Millsy. What's happening in the UK seems total madness to me. However, I've got my eggs in another basket now and it's not really for me to comment, though I still pay the majority of my income tax in the UK, unfortunately, and on those grounds believe I should still have a vote.

Redwards, estate agents over here (especially those catering especially for British buyers) have been saying that there has been an increase in the number of Brits buying property in France recently, in order for people to get out of the UK before next March. Personally, I feel that such a purchase is a big gamble. Could it just be sales talk?

Of course, if the pound were to lose another 20% in the near future, that would make a substantial difference to the sterling valuation of property, making a purchase right now more attractive - if there were no other considerations, that is. On the other hand, if after March 2019 house prices in rural areas tumble due to an exodus back to the UK, it may be wise to defer a purchase till then.

My own opinion, on reflection, is that if you buy well within your means and if you have substantial savings in the UK which you can transfer to France to cover shortfalls in sterling income until your demise, and if you are prepared to live simply, then your overall quality of life would likely be better in France than in the UK, especially given the expected downturn in the UK economy in the short to medium term. But there is that big risk factor of health cover ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...