Posted on 15 February 2013
Skiers looking for a hassle free way of owning an Alpine property which also generates guaranteed rental income should consider investing in a leaseback property, a type of ownership not available in other countries and which is exempt of VAT.
With a leaseback ski property, the buyer owns the freehold but is obliged to lease the property to a management company which uses it for tourism purposes. Management companies take care of all maintenance and bookings, making it a completely hands off investment. Leaseback owners typically can include in their contract a certain number of weeks’ personal use each year, usually from two to six weeks, split between the winter and summer seasons. The amount of guaranteed rental income paid with a leaseback property, typically 3-5 per cent, will fall in line with the amount of personal use an owner receives.
Leaseback contracts are fixed for a minimum term, usually nine or eleven years, after which the owner may have the choice to assume outright freehold ownership of their ski home – buyers should check these details before committing to a purchase.
When developers in the French Alps build skiing developments, or résidences, such as those in Tignes and Chatel, they will usually allocate a certain number of properties for leaseback purchase with the remainder available for outright purchase. Built for tourism purposes, résidences will usually include communal facilities such as lounge areas, a bar, indoor swimming pool and a spa and wellness centre. Not dissimilar to a hotel, they have a reception area that deals with bookings and general enquiries about the accommodation and resort. Owners of leaseback property typically will be have to pay a contribution towards maintenance charges as well as the tax foncière (council tax).