FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The questions and answers below will hopefully cover most areas of concern. However, should you have a question not addressed here, please feel free to contact us and we will endeavour to answer your questions as quickly as possible.

 

1: PURCHASE ISSUES

What happens if we take out the ‘French Commercial Lease’?

Please refer to this separate FAQ: ‘Buying a property under the French Commercial Lease Scheme’.

 Will we be able to cope with buying a property in a foreign language?

It is normal practice in France for a translator to be present at all meetings held at the notaire’s office between you and a developer such as Durantie, in order to translate all that is being said. Normally, one notaire acts for both sides. However, you can also appoint your own notaire to represent only your own interests – and they will split the fixed notaire fee with the original notaire. We recommend a local notaire that is bi-lingual.

What happens with all the tax issues? (Capital gains, Income, Inheritance…etc) ?

Please refer to this separate FAQ: ‘Tax Issues when buying property in France’

Is there a ‘cooling off’ period when buying a property at the development?

Yes. Under French law, a cooling off period of 7 days allows you to cancel your purchase and reclaim your deposit in full.

Can we purchase a property by instalments?

Yes. Click here to view a typical instalments schedule on the Purchase Process page.

Will we have to pay legal costs? And if so, how much will they be?

Click here to read about legal costs on the Purchase Process page.

What happens if we want to sell our property?

You are free to sell your property at any time, and this is something the management company can help you with. The management company will stipulate a notice period, which ensures any rental periods that have been booked (and for which deposits have been paid) can be honoured. However, the management company will try to be as flexible as possible in accommodating your needs.

2: ABOUT THE PROPERTIES & THE DEVELOPMENT

What do we get for our money? 

  • All houses are ‘freehold’ with full and secure titles
  • Your own pool – in the case of most 3, 4 and 5 bed properties, or a shared pool in the case of most 2 bed apartments & houses
  • Every property has its own private landscaped garden – designed by award-winning designer Julie Johnson
  • In non-detached properties, you will co-own a proportionate share of any common areas
  • High-spec, eco-friendly heating and air-conditioning systems
  • Each property is fitted with a spacious Pyram kitchen, with high-end Bosche appliances
  • Each property boasts Duravit bathrooms
  • Each property will be fully-furnished – based on your choice of theme
  • Each property will have soft ‘Tavertine’ floor tiles

What about telephones?

All properties will have a landline telephone, and therefore can have an internet connection.

Are all properties connected via intercom to the management office? 

Yes. All properties will have an intercom facility, giving you a direct line through to the management office in the Country Club.

How much time can we spend in our property?

  • If you purchase the property purely as a rent-generating investment, we can design the rental agreement to allow you to use the property whenever it is not booked.
  • If you wish to recover the VAT paid for your property under a leaseback scheme, you will not be allowed to use your property for more than 182 days each year, and you must have a management agreement in place with the management company.
  • If you decide to buy the property purely as a holiday home, then in order to comply with the planning permit, you can only use the property whenever it is not being used by paying holiday-makers.
  • The property can be used all year round by the owners subject to the agreement of the management company

What ‘service’ companies will we have to sign up to?

You will need to sign up to:

  • EDF – for electricity
  • Telephone – should you require a landline phone. Either Orange or SFR.
  • Local water companies

The management company is on hand to help you organise these contracts.

Will our property have cable TV?

Yes.

What restrictive covenants are there?

The following are restrictions that you will be expected to abide by:

  • Do not engage in any behaviour that causes a nuisance to your neighbours
  • You may not change the colours your property has been painted in
  • No elevational treatments may be changed
  • Your property must be re-decorated approximately every four years
  • Garden landscaping must not be changed, and should be replaced if damaged at the cost of the owner
  • You may not park in the courtyard of your property – although this space may be used for dropping off people or goods
  • No commercial vehicles may park on the site
  • You may not install any aerials or satellite dishes
  • You may not make any changes to the structure of your property, such as adding an extension, without the written consent of the management company
  • You may not add any structures to your garden without the written consent of the management company
  • No business may be run from the property that attracts visitors (clients, suppliers etc)
  • You may not make any changes to the boundary fencing / hedging / walls without the written consent of the management company
  • You may not add any swimming pools or jacuzzis without the written consent of the management company
  • You may not close in any open carports
  • You may not plant any new trees or hedges without the written consent of the management company

Are the owners responsible for insuring their home and its contents?

Owners are responsible for the cost of their own buildings and contents insurance. However, the management company are on hand to help you organise this.

How far is the nearest village?

The nearest village to the Château de la Durantie is Castelnau de Montmiral, only 2.5km away. Castelnau is a beautiful 13th century ‘bastide’ village with a central square and two restaurants, a patisserie, a post office and a pharmacy. In the lower part of the village, there is a small supermarket, a pizza restaurant and a self-service petrol station.

How far is the nearest town?

Gaillac is the nearest town to the Château de la Durantie, at only 13km away. The River Tarn runs through the town, which offers four good supermarkets, a number of excellent restaurants, and a cinema screening both French and English-language films. Steeped in history, the town is arranged around a beautiful central ‘place’ and boasts beautiful churches. On the edge of Gaillac is a small grass airstrip, home to a local flying club. Gaillac also benefits from a lively rugby club with its own stadium – named after ‘Bernard La Porte’ – a recent French national coach.

3: ABOUT THE DURANTIE COUNTRY CLUB

What is the ‘Durantie Country Club’?

Click here to go to the Durantie Country Club page.

How much is annual membership of the Country Club?

For owners, annual membership of the Country Club is included within your management charges. Please click here to read more on the Returns & Charges page.

Do we have to be a member?

Yes. The sales agreement stipulates that you have to be a member of the Durantie Country Club.

What do we get for our money from the Country Club?

Please click here to read all about the facilities and services offered.

Can we invite friends and family to the Country Club?

Yes you can. Your annual membership is based on 2 people per bedroom per house/apartment.

Example: 2 Bed House/Apartment x 2 = 4 people included in the annual club membership

Example: 4 Bed House/Apartment x 2 = 8 people included in the annual club membership

Each owner can invite an additional 2 people at no extra charge. All owners’ additional guests thereafter are by prior arrangement with the club management.

Will we have to pay for leisure activities?

The use of all the facilities on offer at the Durantie Country Club is free of charge within your membership, except for any spa treatments – which are priced separately.

How do we pay for meals and drinks at The Durantie Country Club?

Food and drink must be paid for when you order it from the ‘bistrot’ or bar or any of the other outlets on the development – just as you would at a normal restaurant or bar.

Does the Country Club rent out rooms for private functions and parties?

Yes. The Durantie Country Club will offer private rooms within the château itself and within some of the surrounding buildings, which owners and members can reserve and use for their own private functions. You will be required to pay a pre-agreed daily tariff, and the use of these rooms is subject to availability.

4: MANAGEMENT & CHARGES

Who manages the co-owned parts of the Country Club?

The Country Club will be managed by Headstream (Durantie) Ltd, a locally-based management company.

Who are the management company?

The management company, Headstream (Durantie) Ltd, will be based in the château itself, and will be headed up by Jeanne Boden, the main shareholder and Managing Director of the Château de la Durantie. Jeanne will be supported by a large team of mostly local, bi-lingual people, including gardeners, plumbers, electricians, chefs and concierge staff, all of whom will be on hand to ensure your time at the Château de la Durantie is as hassle-free and rewarding as possible. Jeanne is British and she speaks French fluently – her family have lived in the Tarn for over 20 years.

What is the annual management charge (including Country Club membership)?

Annual charges are as follows:

  • 1 bedroom apartment (shared pool)  €2,900
  • 2 bedroom apartment (shared pool)  €3,200
  • 2 bedroom house (shared pool) €3,700
  • 2 bedroom house (own pool) €4,000
  • 3 bedroom house (own pool) €5.200
  • 4 bedroom house (own pool) €6,500
  • 5 bedroom house (own pool) €7,250

How often will the annual management charge be reviewed?

These charges will be reviewed annually.

What does the annual management charge cover?

A: PROPERTY SERVICES (STANDARD)

  • Full management of the property, both internally and externally, including the pool and garden
  • The organisation of any repairs required to the property, internally and externally
  • The preparation of detailed quotes and reports relating to repairs, prior to the owners’ consent
  • In the event of an emergency, the ‘Management Company’ reserves the right to call upon the services of experts and specialists to mitigate any damage or loss to the property, and always with the owners’ best interests in mind
  • The collation of all information required to prepare the annual accounts for the owner by an accredited accountant
  • The organisation of buildings and contents insurance through reputable brokers and insurance companies
  • The provision of quarterly statements in respect to all charges and costs pertaining to the maintenance and necessary remedial work carried out on the property
  • The organisation of any necessary repainting and refurbishment of the property. This is normally carried out approximately every four years – in consultation with the owner
  • The collection of all maintenance, service and club membership charges for the owner

B: PROPERTY SERVICES (‘PRIVILEGED CHARGES PACKAGE’)

  • The organisation of the payment of all utility bills (electricity, garbage, water) based on an annual estimate
  • The organisation and payment of all local taxes
  • The organisation and payment of all running costs
  • The collection and forwarding of all mail
  • The organisation of all cleaning at the property

C: RENTAL MANAGEMENT

  • The marketing of your property to holiday guests
  • The listing and management of ‘entry and exit condition inventories’ for each rental period
  • The collection and accounting of all rental income, charges, administration fees and costs to the owner quarterly
  • The drafting and execution of the rental contract on behalf of the owner for each rental period
  • The clear communication to holiday guests, via the rental contract, of all the ‘Club Rules’. And the policing of those rules, to the management’s best abilities.
  • Please refer to this separate PDF: ‘Private Rental and Rental Management Schedule’

D: CO-OWNED AREA SERVICES

  • The maintenance of all gardens, pathways, roads, car parking areas and outdoor lighting
  • The organisation and maintenance of sufficient insurance coverage for the co-owned areas
  • The payment of water and electricity charges pertaining to the co-owned areas
  • The production of all accounts on a bi-annual basis.  The co-owner charges will form part of the annual charges
  • Please refer to this separate PDF: ‘Private Rental and Rental Management Schedule’

E: COUNTRY CLUB

  • The maintenance of all club facilities – to good working order
  • The proper staffing of the club – ensuring the full operational functioning of the club and its facilities in relation to the different seasons
  • The organisation of appropriate insurance
  • The organisation of appropriate security for the club

Are electricity and gas included in the management charge?

If you have opted for the ‘Privilege Membership Package’, all utility costs are included based on an annual estimate. Should the ongoing cost of your utilities be higher than this estimate, your management charge will be increased accordingly. Should they be lower, the cost savings will be deducted from the following year’s charges.

How are repairs charged?

The management company will obtain detailed, competitive quotes for any repairs needed to a property, and discuss these with the owners before work is carried out. The owners will always pay for these repairs at ‘cost’. ‘Repairs’ and ‘Maintenance’ are defined as follows:

REPAIRS: The restoration of the sound and functional condition of the property and its equipment. Costs relating to ‘repairs’ are at the owner’s expense.

MAINTENANCE: The preservation of the property and its equipment to ensure its sustainable and operational use. Costs pertaining to ‘maintenance’ are covered by the annual management charge.

Who will clean our property’s windows?

If you have opted for the ‘Privilege Membership Package’, then all window cleaning will be carried out by the management company for no extra charge. However, if you have opted for the ‘standard’ package, you will be required to pay for any window cleaning. The management company will be happy to help you organise this, but will charge you a small fee for doing so.

Who mows the grass, tends the garden, changes light bulbs and deals with tenants?

Click here to read the appropriate section on the ‘Returns & Charges’ page.

Who handles cleaning and laundry?

Click here to read the appropriate section on the ‘Returns & Charges’ page.

Who maintains the individual pools?

Pool maintenance is carried out by the management company and is included in the annual management charge. Any repairs to the pool, or the replacement of parts of the pool, will be charged in addition at ‘cost’ – but only after consultation with the owners. However, in the event of an emergency, the management company does reserve the right to implement repairs immediately so as to minimise further damage to the property.

Who maintains the exterior and interior of my property?

Maintenance of the property is carried out by the management company, as part of your annual management charge. Any additional costs for major ‘repairs’ or the replacement of items will be charged at ‘cost’. The exterior and interior of your property will be redecorated and refitted (where appropriate) every four years, after consultation with the owners, and will be charged at ‘cost’.

Is some maintenance carried out on an annual basis?

Yes. This is to ensure that all properties, and the development as a whole, retain their high-end look and feel, both for holiday visitors and for owners. To this end, the management company will undertake regular inspections of every property.

6: RENTALS ISSUES

Who will market my property should we decide to let it out as a holiday home?

The management company will take care of all marketing of your property for you. There is a charge of 20% plus VAT of the rental income.

What will the annual returns on our property be in terms of holiday rent?

Please click here to read more on the ‘Returns & Charges’ page.

Can we rent another property at the development if we don’t have enough room at our own or if it is occupied?

Yes. Although this is of course subject to availability and rental terms and conditions.

What happens if our home or its contents are in any way damaged by guests during a rental period?

The management company will take a deposit to cover ‘breakages’ by visitors, which will be held in a separate bank account. This is only paid back to visitors when the management company is happy that nothing has been damaged. At the start and end of each rental period, a ‘condition inventory’ is made of the property and its contents, and the garden and pool. The cost of the ‘start inventory’ is covered by the owner, and deducted from any rental income. The cost of the ‘end inventory’ is covered by the visitors as part of their rental agreement. The cost of any damages are then taken out of the security deposit and used by the management company to repair or replace the item. The ‘condition inventory’ will be signed by the management company and you, the owner, and then signed again by the management company and each of your property’s guests.