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Renting in France: The Complete Guide To Your Dream Home

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Renting an apartment or house in France isn’t easy. With a saturated rental market and using foreign documents, it can feel like it’s next to impossible. Let’s look at how to find your home in France. 

Where to look in Paris

Renting in France can be a challenge, especially for those unfamiliar with the process. The rental market is highly competitive in most major cities, especially in Paris, where the demand for apartments far exceeds the supply. 

The rental market in Paris is highly competitive and demanding. Photo by Elina Sazonova.

The rental market in Paris is highly competitive and demanding. Photo by Elina Sazonova.

Paris is divided into arrondissements, for example: 1er (first), 2ème (second), 3ème (third). There are 20 in total. Each area has its own unique charm and you’ll need to assess which one meets the needs of your family best. However, if you are planning to move to Paris, you might also want to consider searching in the near suburbs, where you’ll still be able to access the city, but will enjoy a higher quality of life. Some pleasant suburbs around Paris that are easily accessible by metro are Boulogne Billancourt, Levallois-Perret, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Saint Mandé, Vincennes, and Montreuil. Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Meudon, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Velizy, Chaville, Puteaux, Chatou, and Versailles are a bit further out, but still accessible by the RER train and are also great places to settle down. 

Creating a Rental “Dossier”

Building a strong rental file or “dossier” for renting in France is essential. Because of the high demand for housing, you’ll need to make yours stand out.

Many agencies, as well as private owners, will want to see that you make at least three times the amount of rent, after taxes are subtracted. For example, if the rent is €1,500, you’ll need to show proof that you make at least €4,500 a month after taxes are taken out. This is usually done by showing your payslips, or “fiche de paye.” However, if your payslips come from another country, they might be hesitant to accept them. 

Securing a home in France as an expat can be challenging. Photo by RDNE Stock Project.

Renting in France as an expat can be challenging. Photo by RDNE Stock Project.

Many landlords and agencies will also expect you to have a permanent contract, known as a CDI (Contrat à Durée Indéterminée –  a contract with an undetermined duration). Finding a home with a short term contract or self-employed can be even more challenging. 

They will also want you to have a French guarantor, known as a “garant.” This person will be responsible for your rent payments should you fall behind. Fortunately, for expats, there are digital guarantor services available to provide a reliable solution. Find out more about how our partnerships with both Garantme and SmartGarant can offer this invaluable service to you here.

Additionally, some owners and landlords might also want proof that you paid your rent in your previous location. This is called a “quittance de loyer,” and they will usually request the three most recent documents. 

Landlords are very hesitant to rent due to laws that tend to lean toward the tenant in cases of non-payment, which is why the rental dossier can seem quite extensive. If your documents are in a foreign language or if your file is considered incomplete, you could end up on the bottom of the pile.  

Let us make your French rental “dossier’ and help you secure your dream home during your relocation. Photo by Alena Darmel.

Let us make your French rental “dossier’ and help you secure your dream home. Photo by Alena Darmel.

We can help you navigate renting in France. To ensure your rental file doesn’t get overlooked, let us prepare it for you and handle the translations and complex requirements. With our access to French guarantors and our knowledge of the French rental market, securing your dream home in France can be a reality. Contact us today to get started on your relocation.

Further Reading

Discover everything you need to know about how to get a French guarantor.



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The French Way is a relocation and expat support agency located in Paris helping expats to make the most out of their relocation to France at any stage of their life. Contact us today and we'll be happy to help!

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