Finding the right accommodation in Paris as an American
Finding the right accommodation in Paris is tough for Americans, as laws in France heavily favor local tenants. Besides, there aren’t enough houses and the market is too saturated, which means landlords can be extremely picky about who they rent to. Before anything, Parisian landlords will usually require potential tenants to provide the following:
- A photocopy of their ID or a passport/visa for foreigners
- Copies of their last three paychecks
- Receipts of three rent payment from their previous rental
- A copy of their employment contract or attestation
- A bank account statement
- Previous tax filings
As a foreigner, you might also be asked to have a French guarantor, which can be a challenge if you’re yet to make new friends here. But don’t worry. We prepared this guide to make your search for the right apartment as hassle-free as possible.
Consider the various options available
Like most cities, there are plenty of accommodation options spread across various neighborhoods in Paris. Before you make a decision to settle in a locality, we recommend giving it a test run to see how suitable it is for you. For example, you can choose to rent an Airbnb to get a feel of the area before deciding if you’d like to call it home.
If you prefer apartments, you can either choose monthly rentals in Paris (known as meublé) or unfurnished ones (non-meublé). Unfurnished rentals are cheaper but you need to supply your own furniture, stove, and electrical appliances. On the other hand, furnished apartments cost more but they will save you the hassle of purchasing and installing these expensive pieces.
Compiling your dossier
You will be required to fill out one or more forms and present documents about yourself. As we said earlier, most landlords and rental agencies require you to provide documents such as your ID, details of your French guarantor or garant, and copies of your last three paychecks. If you are dealing with the owner directly, they may have different requirements.
The hard part is finding a French guarantor, especially if you are new to France with no family or close friends to help you out. Fortunately, you could use a paid service, such as GarantME.fr, to serve as your guarantor.
When moving into a Parisian rental apartment, the standard requirements include a security deposit (equivalent to rent for two months) and the taxe d’habitation, a housing tax imposed on the occupier on the first of January each year. The taxe helps to fund local social services, sports and cultural facilities, roads, schools, and landscape maintenance within the neighborhood.
Parisian housing laws also require all tenants to have insurance before moving in. The rates will depend on the size of the apartment and the rental period. Generally, you can expect to pay between 10-15 euros per month for a 40m2 apartment. Depending on your guarantor, more financial assurances may be needed.
Remember to ask the landlord about any additional charges such as whether heating and water are collectively or individually charged?
Signing the lease
Once you’ve found a place you like and are done with the rental agreement, you can go ahead and sign your lease or bail. If you use GarantMe, all that is needed is for them to approve your terms before signing the contract with your landlord. Once you’re done signing the lease, send over the security deposit and move in.
Preparing to move in
You’re not done yet. Before moving into your apartment, you might be asked to pay for a few things. For starters, you need to sign up with an electricity company. There are plenty of electric companies to choose from, but most will require you to provide the Point de Livraison (PDL) of your apartment. You also need to choose an Internet/TV/phone operator.
That’s it! The process of renting an apartment in Paris can be long and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle after all. Be sure to sort out all the necessary paperwork before arriving in Paris, and above all, be patient.
For first-timers in France who have not made any contacts yet, do not lose hope because many Parisian landlords are independent and can often be lenient enough to accept a parental guarantor from your country.
Finally, you’ve worked hard enough to find this apartment, so make sure to be the “dream tenant”. Avoid making too much noise, respect the furniture, and keep communal areas clean.
Still stuck? Leave a comment below and we’ll be glad to help.
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