Once you’re a fully paid up French property owner, you’ll be responsible each year for the taxe foncière. This is the annual tax to cover local services. Bills are sent out by central government around Sept / October of each year, and you’ll be responsible for paying it if you were the owner on the 1st January of that year. If you have bought mid-year, it’s likely the Seller will agree to pick up the bill with you paying a contribution to the cost pro-rata on the day of the final acte de vente. This will be written into the agreement.
The recent good news is that the threats that all homeowners (and businesses) were to see taxe foncière hikes this year will not become reality. Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, wanted to raise 600 million euros from homeowners from 2017, a threat that the public found untenable since both François Hollande and Manuel Valls had previously promised no tax increase before the end of Holland’s term. After strong backlashes from Republicans (thank you Christian Estrosi) on the 16th September Valls backtracked and confirmed there will be no more to pay out come January 2017.
Since either the Right or the Far Right are favourites to take residence in the Élysée Palace come the election result of April 2017, this is a tax we now can’t see increasing anytime soon.
We’re often asked how much is a typical bill for taxe foncière in Nice. We’re afraid it is very hard to be general about it; so much depends on each property. if you were asking us with a gun to our heads, we’d go for a ballpark of 1,000 euros a year. Don’t pull the trigger if you’re surprised though. We’ve seen some as low as 400 euros, and once over 2,000 euros (though the place was stunning by most people’s standards).
The amount the owner will pay is determined by the local council, and very broadly it is assessed by the nominal rent the property might be expected to achieve on the open market. Factors assessed are the square meterage, condition and location of the property, and if previous generations of property owners have not updated the council on any major home improvements, sometimes they can be constantly assessed as a run-down shack, when they are fully renovated and pristine (NB: technically, owners are supposed to inform them of any mayor works carried out). So, realistically, the Old Town is generally lower than the Promenade but as offices get wiser about the rent each areas can achieve by the upsurge of holiday lets, then this might gradually change in the next decade.
It is noteworthy that often the rate of tax varies slightly if the property is a main residence or second home, with second homes being assessed a little lower. We think this only fair. The services would not be used by the second home owner all year round as a main resident would use services, and guests who rent on the short term market should all be paying tourist tax (stay tax).