Welcome to the city of love, lights, romance, and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But lets not forget to note that Paris is one of the most difficult and expensive cities to find an apartment( in my opinion)! Finding an apartment in Paris takes a lot of research, patience, and having your things in order. For a foreigner the process is much more difficult if you don’t have family living in the country, or don’t fully speak the language. But don’t get discouraged! There are a lot of things you can do to find the best place for you.
Here are some tips that may your life a lot easier when preparing your apartment hunt in Paris…
- Guarantor– In order to rent an apartment you either have to:
– make three times the rent in salary , OR have to have someone who guarantees you
In most cases, especially if you’re dealing with a landlord directly, they will require that your guarantor be living in France, which ensures that if you can’t pay your rent, there is someone who can.
If you go through a rental agency they may be more likely to accept international guarantors, however there is an agency fee.
An alternative to having a guarantor is to set up a bank account with funds that you won’t touch. Typically you would have to have an amount between 6 months’ to 1 years’ rent that will remain frozen for the duration of the rental contract. But again, approving this type of security and even the amount of money required is up to the landlord and is relatively difficult to do if you need to secure an apartment while still abroad.
Just describing this reminds me of the huge headache I got from looking for an apartment when I first arrived.
- Security Deposit – Like most places every landlord will always ask you to pay a deposit. Usually the deposit is equivalent to one or two month’s rent. An important thing to note is that the deposit is in addition to the actual amount you have to pay for the first month’s rent when you move in, so it is important to make note of these things when developing your budget.
- Paperwork Red Tape- French love paperwork, and there is a nice amount of paperwork you will have to prepare when trying to find an apartment.
Most of the time, you will be asked to present the following documents while looking for an apartment:
- Three latest paychecks of your guarantor;
- Latest tax form of your guarantor
- Copy of your guarantor’s passport / ID card
- Copy of your passport
- Proof of enrollment if your studying
In case you cannot find a guarantor, it might help to show that your financial status allows out to pay the rent, although this will often be considered insufficient.
TIP: It is good idea to have multiple copies all of the documents ready, because most landlords will take your documents to review them, and then let you know if they are interested in renting to you or not. It was a bit uncomfortable leaving all your personal financial information with prospective landlords before you have secured a place, but it is pretty much a must.
- Be quick and prepared– Paris apartments are high in demand especially in the fall when many students are moving for the year. Shy away from trying to find an apartment in the month of August, when most of the locals are on holiday, which makes doing any type of business really difficult. Have all your documents ready and when you find an apartment that interest you visit as soon as possible, because there may be lines of other people looking to get the same apartment. When you do go on visits try to establish a rapport with the landlord so they can get an idea of who you are, and remember who you among the many other applicants.
- Housing Insurance– Having renter’s insurance is a must, no matter where you end up living in the city. Most landlords will require proof of insurance before they will rent to you. But don’t worry–insurance is easy and fairly affordable to find online.
- Where to look? – Here are a few helpful websites to use to look for an apartment:
www.leboncoin.com ( Like French version of Craigslist)
www.fusac.fr ( Anglophone magazine with housing ads)
www.appartager.fr ( good place to find flat mates)
www.pap.fr ( all types of apartment ads)
http://www.seloger.com/ ( rental agency listings)
TIP: You can also check out announcements the old school way on bulletin boards at : Skakespeare and Company , The American Church of Paris, and Different University Campuses.
- Alternative Housing Options- If your flexible in your type of living situation, you may want to consider other options like:
Cite Uinversitaire ( offers housing options for students in different houses according to your Nationality)
CROUS- student apartments, there are many CROUS buildings throughout the city that you can apply to live that are often affordable and offer you a studio apartment. I lived in a CROUS building my first year because I did not have the patience to deal with finding an apartment and was more feasible for my budget
Working in exchange for housing:
In Paris there are many options to nanny or do babysitting in exchange of housing with a family or even your own little studio the family owns and will offer to you. You often have your own room in a family’s home, or they have a nearby studio that they rent or own for their nanny.
Solidarity Housing (Logements solidaires):
In Paris there is a program that links students or people that are looking for an alternative living situation to live with an elderly person in exchange for free or very affordable rent. It is a program that provides an opportunity to company to an elderly person who is living alone, help them around their house, and practice French.
In a nutshell it is important to try and get a head start of finding a place before arriving, and coming up with a temporary housing arrangement in between the time it takes to secure a place, just in case things take longer than anticipated.