What happens next?
Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, we consider the possible implications for those who live or own property in France
BUYING PROPERTY IN FRANCE
It is important to remember that Brits visited and bought property in France long before the UK was part of the EU, and there are no reasons to believe that they will no longer be able to do so.
Furthermore, citizens from non-EU countries including the USA, Australia, China and Russia buy property and live in France without problems. So there is no reason why the same rules won’t apply to Brits. The existing process is the same for Brits buying property in France as it is for non-EU residents and the French themselves.
British buyers are an important element of the French property market and it is unlikely that France will want to damage this by making it too difficult for Brits to buy property.
LIVING IN FRANCE
One of the fundamental principles of the EU is the right to live and work anywhere within the EU without having to apply for permission to do so, and for the next two years, or however long the withdrawal negotiations last, Brits will continue to be able to move to France.
Following the UK’s exit from the EU, there will be no automatic right to live and work in France. It is possible that British expats will have to apply for an EU Blue Card – Europe’s answer to the US Green Card – or carte de séjour in order to live and work in France.
It is important to remember that London is often referred to as France’s sixth city due to the large number of French people who live there, so this is not a one-way street. It would therefore seem likely that a bilateral agreement between France and the UK will be reached. If the UK remains part of the EEA (European Economic Area), then it will most likely have to accept the principle of free movement and therefore nothing will change.
The UK’s decision to leave the EU should have little effect on the tax a British expat in France has to pay. The double tax treaty between France and the UK is separate from EU regulations so should not be affected, and if the UK decides to remain part of the EEA then tax treatment would not change because the same rules apply to EEA residents as EU