Finding Housing in France
Updated: Mar 8, 2022
Congratulations! You're about to receive your visa, and you just bought a one-way ticket to France. That barrier to relocate to France is now finalized. But now what? Now you need to find housing.
Finding housing is infamous for giving headaches to both ex-pats, immigrants, and locals alike. The real estate market in France is fast-paced and you'll need a strong "dossier" (rental application) for agencies or landlords to even, sometimes, consider giving you an apartment visit.
We live in a digital age where sending documents should be as easy as a click away. However, France is a bit more traditional, and it's something that you, as a new ex-pat or immigrant, should know before you pack your things and leave for this beautiful country.
In this article, we will provide you with the necessary information needed to find accommodation in France.
Whether you're a native French person, ex-pat, or immigrant moving to France, you'll need to prepare a strong dossier. A dossier is a rental application that will be sent to agencies and landlords during your housing search and typically after a visit. There are cases where agencies will ask for your dossier before scheduling a visit to weed out the profiles that automatically fit with the agency or landlord's wants and needs. This is common practice in France.
Please be aware! This dossier contains very sensitive and confidential information about you as a person and your financial credibility. This can be a dealbreaker between being accepted to your dream place or not, but always stay safe when sending your dossier to strangers. Blackout your tax identification and ID numbers if you want and be smart when it comes to apartment scams as there are a lot of scammers on the internet. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
To get an indication of the price of housing (let's say Paris), the average is below:
1 room in a colocation (roommate situation): 400-1000€
Studio (no bedroom): 700-1200€
T2 (one bedroom + living room & kitchen): 1200 - 1600€
T3 (two bedroom + living room & kitchen) 1600+€
These are generalized prices, which means that you can find your ideal apartment for less if you do a thorough apartment search.
At EasyStart, we ensure that our clients are aware of this information. We also make sure we have all the necessary documents prepared before doing the apartment search. These documents include (but are not limited to):
A "cover page" explaining (in French) your name, birth date, place of birth, profession/what you do, your monthly salary, if you're on a trial period, and who your guarantors are.
Copy of your passport/ID (passport for non-EU and ID card for EU citizens)
Copy of your visa (if non-EU resident)
Copy of your work contract if you're on a CDI (permanent) or CDD (temporary) contract. If you're a student, you'll need an attestation or some type of proof of being a student from the school and/or convention de stage (internship contract). The contracts must be signed by both parties.
Copies of your last 3 payslips - For those who do not have French payslips, you will need to provide bank statements proving that you have money coming in every month to pay your rent.
Copies of your avis d'impots (tax declaration) of the previous year (Those who aren't French won't have this document. They can provide a tax declaration from their home country)
Copy of your previous housing lease. If not, an attestation d'hebergement from your previous living situation along with their ID.
Copy of your electricity/gas bill from previous housing situation with your name on it. If you lived with someone and did not pay the bills or have your name on the electricity or gas bill, you will need to provide the ID of the person who was on the bill. You can create an attestation for the person to sign here.
French guarantor documents:
Copy of their ID
Copy of their past 3 payslips
Copy of their declared taxes 2020
Copy of work contract
Proof of living situation (electricity or gas bill)
WHAT DO I DO IF I DON'T HAVE A FRENCH GUARANTOR?
Having a guarantor in France is mandatory. But for internationals moving to France, this can be almost impossible to have if you don't have any personal relationships in France. There are a few options available to you if this is the case.
Your company sponsors you
If you're working for a French company, sometimes they will agree to be your guarantor. You will need to ask your Human Resources if this is something they can provide in parallel with your onboarding at your company.
Be aware that not all companies are willing to do this, especially if you're on a trial period at work! However, it's always worth a shot if you're a foreigner moving for your job.
If the above solution does not work for you, the other option you have is getting a private insurance company such as Garantme to act as your guarantor.
Insurance companies such as Garantme will provide a guarantee certificate that you will present with your dossier. You only pay once you sign a lease and the yearly fee depends on your monthly rent budget! For example, if your monthly rent is 700€, you will have to pay a yearly fee of 297€. You can calculate the amount you will have to pay on the link provided above.
The majority of agencies and landlords already know and trust this company that opened up in 2017. Our relocation agents at EasyStart have partnered with Garantme to ensure a higher housing acceptance rate with this certificate.
For those under 30 years old, there is also an option called VISALE that is free of charge. VISALE also acts as a guarantor the same way as Garantme. However, the difference between the two is that one is a private company and the other is provided by a public French organization called Action Logement. Although VISALE is a great free option, be wary that landlords aren't always interested in accepting this certificate because of the long administrative process if there happens to be a problem with non-payment of rent. Private companies like Garantme will be more likely accepted because landlords will get their money back faster.
We understand that the housing search can be a long and tedious process. This is why EasyStart is here to help you with the housing search so that you can arrive in France less stressed and start to enjoy your life in your new country or city!