Looking for an apartment in Paris... is a hassle. A lot of demand, too little supply. Not to mention you always - well, almost - need rent guarantors.
First of all, where to look for apartments?
My three favorite ones, that gather ads from many agencies:
Pro tip: enable the alert emails so that you get an email as soon as one ad is posted, or digest emails.
Also, don't forget about agencies' websites. To mention a few:
Arranging a viewing
My tip is to always try to phone them. If no one picks up, them text the person who posted the ad if they wrote their phone number. As a last resort, email them.
In short, the email should look like this:
- State who is looking for an apartment (yourself and your gf/bf?)
- Is the apartment still on the market? If so, when can you see it?
- Your job(s) (CDD, CDI, trial period?), your position(s) (software engineer for instance) and your salaries. Indicate whether you have guarantors or not.
- Leave your phone number just in case
Once you've arranged a viewing, you should prepare the documents you are going to have to hand in along with the questions you want to ask.
In Paris, landlords usually expect people to know what documents are required. However, this might drastically vary from one to another. Here is a list of must and optional ones. If you are extremelly well paid you might not need rent guarantors:
- Copies of your ID and your rent guarantors' IDs
- You last three payslips (and those or your guarantors)
- Last tax notice (avis d'impôts)
- Your work contract (or student certificate if still a student) and your guarantors' work contracts or some proof from their employer
Optional but often required
- Three last rent receipts (quittances de loyer)
- Guarantors' land tax (taxe foncière). More on this here
- Guarantors' residence tax (taxe d'habitation). More on this here.
- Sworn statement from your guarantors stating they are your guarantors (attestation sur l'honneur)
- Last EDF bill or sworn statement that you'be being hosted by someone (meaning you live at someone's place)
- Proof of insurance for houses (assurance habitation)
- Proof of residency for your guarantors
However, never hand in your bank details before officially signing the apartment lease. Some agencies or landlords ask you to hand in these documents during the viewing. But most of the time, sending them over email is fine. Ask beforehand just in case.
Questions to ask during the viewing
Here are a few questions I used to ask:
- Does it come with a refrigerator? Oven/stove, stovetop or range? Washing machine or connections for one? Dishwasher?
- Are windows double glazed?
- Is the neighborhood quiet and safe?
- How much is the brokerage fee? (if not renting directly from the landlord)
- How much is the deposit, if any?
- What is included in the utilities? Water, electricity, gas, heat, trash removal, Internet access, ...?
- If there fiber optic Internet?
- Are there window roller shutters?
- How much is the electricity consumption per month? How bad is the insulation? (ask for the building energy performance metrics)
- When is the apartment available?
- Is the apartment eligible for APL (Aide personnalisée au logement)?
Keeping track of the apartments you've found and the viewings you've done
I recommend that you create an Excel file to do that. Here is an extract of mine:
- Title of the ad
- Price per month
- Number of rooms
- Address (if known)
- Floor (lift?)
- Square meters
- Furnished or empty?
- Double bed?
- Washing machine or connections?
- Energy perfomance
- Availability (date)
- Last email sent date + time (and replies and outcome)
- Last phone call date + time (and outcome)
- Date of arranged viewing + time
- Phone number of the broker/landlord
- Viewing date and time
- Additional information
That's it! Hope this helps.