Renting an Apartment in France (Involves Killing Trees)

We just spent all day in Chambéry looking at apartments, and I think we’ve finally found one. We’re going to call the agence in the morning and head back to Chambé tomorrow to turn in our dossier (i.e. mountain of paperwork). If for some reason we don’t get it, we do have 2 alternate apartments in mind, one of which we know no one else currently wants. So I think the search is almost over. I still have no idea what day we would be moving though. And then we’ve got to get the electricity/water/internet set up and buy appliances (French kitchens rarely come with an oven or fridge… or even cupboards…)

So what does a dossier involve? Originals and photocopies of:

– ID cards (and student ID, if applicable)

– last 3 bulletins de salaires

– work contracts specifying type and length as well as date of hire

– last 2 tax returns

– last electricity bill (the infamous facture EDF)

– last 3 quittances de loyer (or Taxe Foncière if you currently own instead of rent)

– proof of insurance Multirisque Habitation

– last attestation d’Allocations familiales

– RIB

Of course, you also need ALL of this same paperwork for the garant/cautionnaire (co-signer), who should be a family member. And if you have no family in France, you’re screwed. It’s not impossible to rent an apartment in France without a French garant, but it makes it much harder.

Hopefully I will have good news to report soon. Wish us luck!

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  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com/ Andromeda

    I gave them all that paperwork, but then Ben’s mom said she would only be garant for him, so now the bail’s just in his name, and I have wasted another dozen pages for worthless copies, sigh.

    Good luck, I hope you guys get it!

    Andromedas last blog post..CAP Patisserie

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com Andromeda

    I gave them all that paperwork, but then Ben’s mom said she would only be garant for him, so now the bail’s just in his name, and I have wasted another dozen pages for worthless copies, sigh.

    Good luck, I hope you guys get it!

    Andromedas last blog post..CAP Patisserie

  • http://parlezvouskiwi.net/ parlezvouskiwi

    You have got to be joking! We are going to be in the same boat as you in September, apartment hunting in Toulouse. I actually can’t believe all of the documents you need. Phwooooar!!

    Hope you get a nice place! :)

    parlezvouskiwis last blog post..cutest french girl fairytale

  • http://parlezvouskiwi.net parlezvouskiwi

    You have got to be joking! We are going to be in the same boat as you in September, apartment hunting in Toulouse. I actually can’t believe all of the documents you need. Phwooooar!!

    Hope you get a nice place! :)

    parlezvouskiwis last blog post..cutest french girl fairytale

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com/ David

    Parlezvouskiwi,
    Toulouse is not as insane as some other places could be in France.
    I lived for years in Toulouse, had three apartments there, I had dozens of friends with dozens apartments, I have never heard about having a “dossier” there.
    Actually, I thought this thing existed only in Paris. Apparently, not…

    Also, (and that may make a difference) I never rented through an agency.

    Davids last blog post..Three Thoughts/News for the Day…

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com David

    Parlezvouskiwi,
    Toulouse is not as insane as some other places could be in France.
    I lived for years in Toulouse, had three apartments there, I had dozens of friends with dozens apartments, I have never heard about having a “dossier” there.
    Actually, I thought this thing existed only in Paris. Apparently, not…

    Also, (and that may make a difference) I never rented through an agency.

    Davids last blog post..Three Thoughts/News for the Day…

  • http://emmygration.blogspot.com/ Emmy

    I had to jump through hoops to get on the contract of our rented house. I didn’t want it to be just J on the contract and there are a couple of systems for people who dont’t have a garant in France, one of which is the locapass. My landlady suggested this for me but then refused when she realised she had to pay 1% of the rent as payment for having the assurance of getting the rent money. Charming. In the end J’s brother offered to be my garant. Not ideal, but hey, I’m on the contract.

    Emmys last blog post..Kin Ball

  • http://emmygration.blogspot.com Emmy

    I had to jump through hoops to get on the contract of our rented house. I didn’t want it to be just J on the contract and there are a couple of systems for people who dont’t have a garant in France, one of which is the locapass. My landlady suggested this for me but then refused when she realised she had to pay 1% of the rent as payment for having the assurance of getting the rent money. Charming. In the end J’s brother offered to be my garant. Not ideal, but hey, I’m on the contract.

    Emmys last blog post..Kin Ball

  • http://parlezvouskiwi.net/ parlezvouskiwi

    Ahhh thank you David, good to know! :-)

    parlezvouskiwis last blog post..i may need a name change

  • http://parlezvouskiwi.net parlezvouskiwi

    Ahhh thank you David, good to know! :-)

    parlezvouskiwis last blog post..i may need a name change

  • http://leahenfranceparttrois.blogspot.com/ Leah

    Ah, I remember the galere well as it was just a few months ago! Good luck, it’s chiant, but it’ll get done and you’ll be tranquille soon enough!

    Leahs last blog post..Appart Hunting 101…Agence Style

  • http://leahenfranceparttrois.blogspot.com Leah

    Ah, I remember the galere well as it was just a few months ago! Good luck, it’s chiant, but it’ll get done and you’ll be tranquille soon enough!

    Leahs last blog post..Appart Hunting 101…Agence Style

  • http://maladroite.wordpress.com/ Katie

    Ugh, no fun! I just signed a bail for my new place starting in June last night, and I think I’ve found the coolest propriétaire in the universe, because he didn’t ask to see a single paper. Not one!

    Katies last blog post..Crest Whitening

  • http://maladroite.wordpress.com Katie

    Ugh, no fun! I just signed a bail for my new place starting in June last night, and I think I’ve found the coolest propriétaire in the universe, because he didn’t ask to see a single paper. Not one!

    Katies last blog post..Crest Whitening

  • http://laprochainefois.blogspot.com/ Cathy

    i’m hoping I don’t have the same experience as you…! actually, i’m more worried about finding a nice roommate. i wouldn’t mind doing heaps of paperwork if it meant not living alone!

    Cathys last blog post..semi-edible earrings

  • http://laprochainefois.blogspot.com Cathy

    i’m hoping I don’t have the same experience as you…! actually, i’m more worried about finding a nice roommate. i wouldn’t mind doing heaps of paperwork if it meant not living alone!

    Cathys last blog post..semi-edible earrings

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com/ Zhu

    I wish you luck!

    French bureaucracy is such a pain… renting a place in Canada is much more straightforward.

    But you are lucky, renting is Paris almost involves DNA tests! :lol;

    Zhus last blog post..Immigration: The Sponsorship Category (3/10)

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com Zhu

    I wish you luck!

    French bureaucracy is such a pain… renting a place in Canada is much more straightforward.

    But you are lucky, renting is Paris almost involves DNA tests! :lol;

    Zhus last blog post..Immigration: The Sponsorship Category (3/10)

  • Nadine

    Oh how I feel for you with the paper-work for the dossier. We have rented twice, through an agency, simply because we couldn’t find anything through a particulier. And as was mentioned above, your dossier isn’t that bad, they could ask for even more paper-work. We had to submit our marriage and birth certificates, and were lucky that they even accepted us, other agencies turned us down because we didn’t make 3x the (at times unreasonably high) rental amount after taxes (if we made that much, we wouldn’t be wasting it on paying rent to an agency!!!), and couldn’t have a garant. The *nice* lady told us how bad she felt, and how much she understood our predicament that we couldn’t rent a decent apartment. I don’t think she understood how tempted I was to slug her.
    Ahhh I do hope your apartment is nice and you can just enjoy living there!

    PS: Be careful with Locapass, we have yet to get our security deposit back, they are rude, they don’t make it easy to contact them ect ect.

  • Nadine

    Oh how I feel for you with the paper-work for the dossier. We have rented twice, through an agency, simply because we couldn’t find anything through a particulier. And as was mentioned above, your dossier isn’t that bad, they could ask for even more paper-work. We had to submit our marriage and birth certificates, and were lucky that they even accepted us, other agencies turned us down because we didn’t make 3x the (at times unreasonably high) rental amount after taxes (if we made that much, we wouldn’t be wasting it on paying rent to an agency!!!), and couldn’t have a garant. The *nice* lady told us how bad she felt, and how much she understood our predicament that we couldn’t rent a decent apartment. I don’t think she understood how tempted I was to slug her.
    Ahhh I do hope your apartment is nice and you can just enjoy living there!

    PS: Be careful with Locapass, we have yet to get our security deposit back, they are rude, they don’t make it easy to contact them ect ect.

  • Pingback: Finding an Apartment in Paris | Miss Joy's Revue

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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