Every step I went through to live in Paris
Paris syndrome hits hard when it comes to apartment hunting, especially when you realize just how competitive it is to find a decent place to live in the city. If you’re a foreigner here there are so many unnecessary hurdles to jump over and so many obstacles put in place that are borderline xenophobic. In this post I’m going to be sharing with you all the steps I had to go through to find my apartment in the city centre. Brace yourselves, it’s gonna be a long one.
1.) You will need to present the last three months worth of your pay and if your money comes from abroad it’s not valid. Let me explain.
This was definitely the most frustrating part of the process. My money that came from Ireland wasn’t accepted by any agency and neither was that of my family. So as far as they were concerned I was not an eligible candidate to rent an apartment in Paris or in France for that matter because my taxes weren’t being paid here. This rule is just plain stupid if you ask me because even though the currency in Ireland is the euro, just like how it is in France, they wouldn’t accept my money because I had foreign pay stubs. Already we were off to a bad start.
2.) You Will Need A Guarantor
But plot twist, your guarantor HAS to be a resident in France who pays taxes here and who gets paid from a business here. They also have to earn three times the rent that you’re going to pay. So you’ll need to find someone who ticks all these boxes and who also loves you enough to share all their private information with you.
3.) The Visits
To get to visit an apartment you’re going to have to find apartments online and then call the agencies or landlords. If you can come up with a french guarantor and french payslips then you can contact an agency like Foncia, Laforet or Century 21which are the biggest in Paris. Another great place to look is Seloger.com. However if you don’t have any french documents you’re going to have to talk directly to a landlord on PAP.fr which is a website that enables potential renters to talk directly to landlords. Leboncoin is also a great option because it’s like the french version of Craigslist so it’s definitely worth your while trying your luck there.
One thing I’ll tell you from experience is not to cry too much when you don’t get your dream apartment the first time round. For every application you make for a place in Paris there are about ten people behind you who are probably richer and frencher or just “better candidates” (whatever that means) who are also going for that same apartment.
Also don’t be too shocked if some of the apartments look much more run down than they did in their photos. You’re going to have to visit a lot of duds before you find the perfect place and it’s perfectly ok to show up to the visit and change your mind. That’s why you’re there after all.
Another pro tip is to make sure you research the area really well before you visit a place, just to make sure it’s safe. And to avoid scams it’s always good to have a french speaking friend with you. (Unless you are your own french speaking friend of course.)
4.) The Dossier
This is the most dreaded part of apartment hunting. Every agency will ask for a mountain of different documents but it’s a good idea to have your dossier prepared before you start visiting apartments. The people who work in administration hate going through all that paperwork just as much as you and I do, so the sooner you can get your dossier into them, the better. I seriously believe this is how I was able to score a such a beautiful apartment that was so out of my league.
The dossier is the longest and most frustrating part of the apartment hunt but if you can manage to put it together well before you start searching, your life will be so much easier. Trust me.
5.) The Deposits.
I’m adding this section to say that if the landlord is asking you for a deposit of more than two months of rent it’s probably a scam. Always be careful who you’re dealing with and no matter how beautiful the apartment is don’t accept it if the landlord is asking for a deposit of €6000 upfront. Again… speaking from experience here.
So that’s it for the apartment hunting post in Paris. I really hope it helped if you’re thinking of moving here. Pretty soon I’m going to release a vlog on our YouTube channel documenting my struggle with finding a place in Paris.
What’s important to remember here is that even though it may be hard to find an apartment you should never give up. There’s always going to be a lot of nay-sayers and people telling you it’s not possible but I’m here to tell you that it is and that you can do it.
Happy apartment hunting and I’ll see you very soon in our next post!