There are three different ownership structures for the joint ownership of a French property.
Several persons can own a French property “en indivision” or through a company called SCI (Société Civile Immobilière). An SCI is a type of French company (société) that is constituted for the ownership and management of real estate (immobilière).
While this company will have a distinct legal identity from that of its shareholders, it has no separate fiscal identity. For this reason it is said to be 'fiscally transparent'.
Where an SCI is used for the purchase of a private home, the owners become then non-paying tenants or occupants of the property owned by the company.
The company may also hold more than one property in it, including main and second homes, as well as properties for letting. However, an SCI is not a commercial company, e.g. it cannot be established for trading purposes.
Nevertheless, it is possible to let out an unfurnished property held by an SCI as this is not considered to be a 'commercial' activity, but one that falls within the definition of une activité civile.
There are also certain types of SCI that can be established for the construction and sale of property.
Many French and international buyers choose to buy a French property through an SCI because of its advantages, such as:
- To facilitate purchase of the property by multiple, often unrelated, persons;
- To provide stability and continuity in the ownership and management of family property;
- To facilitate the transfer and ownership of property;
- To avoid the constraints of French inheritance laws;
- To get tax advantages;
- To protect the family home from business creditors.
Please contact us for more information re the advantages of setting up a SCI
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