Finding accommodation is a crucial step in relocating to France.
There are various ways of finding new accommodation:
- Relocation agencies: Firms that specialize in helping skilled employees and their families relocate to France. Their role is to facilitate a family’s move to France. The services they offer range from obtaining the official documents required (visa, work permit, residence permit, etc.) and searching for accommodation, to finding schools for children and employment for spouses, as well as helping with learning the local language.
- Apartment hunters: Professionals who specialize in searching for apartments and houses. After an in-depth interview to determine the needs of the individual or family, apartment hunters search for an ideal home on their behalf.
- Real estate agents: When a property owner chooses to use an estate agent, the fees are shared between the owner and the future tenant. To find an estate agent, you can contact the relevant trade associations.
- Specialist websites: These sites list the accommodation available on the market. Searches can be performed based on certain criteria (location, apartment size, rental price, number of bedrooms, etc.). The most popular websites are:
Gathering information about a property
Property rental advertisements posted by agencies must provide future tenants with the following information:
- The surface areaof the property and its location (city and neighborhood).
- The monthly rent, together with any supplementary rent and service charges, followed by the words “par mois” (per month) and, if applicable, the words “charges comprises” (services charges included).
- The amount of supplementary rent payable, if applicable.
- Service charges, if applicable.
- The security deposit
- Whether the accommodation is furnished or unfurnished.
- The agency feespayable by the tenant.
It is also recommended that future tenants ask how much housing tax the previous occupants paid
A private landlord has the right to ask for information on their future tenant’s financial situation. For information, you may be asked to provide the following documents:
- Photo ID (identity card, residence permit, passport or driver’s license).
- Your last three rent receipts, or a proof of address, or a declaration by the individual who is housing you, or your most recent property tax notice, or a title deed for your primary residence.
- A copy of your employment contractor any other document proving that you are in employment.
- Your last three pay slips or, if you are self-employed, your last two balance sheets.
- Your last or penultimate income tax notice.
The landlord can also ask you to name a guarantor who will cover any debts that you may subsequently incur. This guarantor may be a private individual (family member, friend, etc.) or a legal entity (bank or other organization) located in France. The guarantor must also supply information regarding their solvency (financial resources, expenses, etc.).
Lease and legal disclaimer included in the rental agreement
A property rental agreement must be drafted. It must contain information on:
- The parties to the agreement:Landlord’s contact details, name of the tenant(s), agreement start date, duration and terms of renewal.
- The accommodation:Surface area, description of the accommodation, type of lease, whether work has been done on the property since it was last rented.
- The rent payable, including all service charges, the rent payment date.
- The security deposit, which cannot be greater than one month’s rent excluding service charges for unfurnished accommodation and two month’s rent for furnished accommodation.
As a general rule, the lease period for an unfurnished apartment is three years. If the lease reaches its expiry date and neither the landlord nor the tenant give notice to terminate the rental agreement, the lease is automatically renewed for three years.
In the case of furnished accommodation, the lease period is one year. The lease is renewed automatically if neither the tenant nor the landlord give notice to terminate the rental agreement.