Taking the stress out of apartment hunting in Paris

Published:  24 Mar at 6 PM
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The romance and sheer beauty for which Paris is famous worldwide doesn’t quite make up for the stress of finding a suitable apartment.

Paris is a favourite for expats from across the world for so many reasons, but your dream can get very slightly tarnished once you’ve begun searching for an apartment. Expats choose the world’s most romantic city for many reasons, including its charm, quirky districts, delicious cuisine and sheer glamour, but apartment hunting in the city can cause unending stress unless you’ve researched the French way of doing things.

The first problem is the high demand for rental apartments in Paris, especially for long-term stays. Whatever your plans, booking suitable accommodation is best done at least three months before you plan to arrive,.Leaving it to the last minute could mean you’ve missed the opportunity of a lifetime and also signifies to landlords that you might well change your mind.

Rental charges in the city are calculated by the size of the accommodation offered, with some districts’ price per square metre costing double and more than in other, less fashionable locations. The most expensive is the 1st Arrondissement (district) at around 30 euros per sqm, but costs reduce to around 22 euros in the 19th Arrondissement. It’s fine to live in a cheaper area, as long as its transport options suit your proposed lifestyle.

One essential thing to remember in order to avoid an expensive mistake is that some reasonably-priced Paris apartments have very high maintenance charges, a fact your real estate agent perhaps failed to mention. Garden maintenance, water charges, elevator maintenance and cleaning service charges can make a huge difference when piled on top of a seemingly affordable rental charge.

Using Paris’s public transport network is far cheaper than the cost of running a car, but it’s of little use if there are no Metro stations or regular buses close by your new apartment unless you’re a dedicated cyclist able to make use of the convenient Velib bike stops! If you can’t live without four wheels, you’ll find your choice of apartments is shrinking fast, as very few offer parking spaces as part of the rental. It’s possible to rent a parking spot nearby, but extremely expensive.

French bureaucracy is infamous in the expat world, and extends as far as rental contracts. Documents required include your passport, bank details and insurance certificate plus, dependent on your status, three recent payslips, an education enrolment certificate or even a guarantor. Financial requirements include an apartment deposit, security deposit and insurance covering potential risks as well as rentals in advance, but it’s all worth it to live in this unique city.

Source: The Local
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