Renting an apartment

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Renting an apartment


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Old 29th March 2012, 04:01 PM
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Hello everyone!

My husband and I are trying to figure out what we need to do and get in order before leaving the US in order to facilitate getting an apartment lease in France.

My husband has documents proving his French income from last year and he also has 2 upcoming work contracts in France. Can these help us get an apartment or will we still need to pony up a year's worth of rent? We can do it, but obviously we'd prefer not to if there's another way to prove ourselves. We'd prefer not to have a guarantor since we don't want to involve anyone else. We also have references from the UK if that would help.

Also, if we DO have to pay a year up front, how have people been handling that logistically? Right now, most of our money is in our US bank account (although we still have an active UK account.) Should we open a French bank account and then have someone from the US wire us our money into our French account (once it is open)? We want to do whatever will be easiest.

When we moved to the UK we paid 6 months rent upfront via US debit card. It was a nightmare though because while I had cleared the amount with my bank (called to tell them it wasn't fraud and they lifted the transaction limit) but they had neglected to contact visa (the card's cosponsor) to tell them to lift the limit. It was a big fiasco that resulted in me and all of my luggage spending all day in the letting agent's office trying to get my damn card to go through. NEVER AGAIN. Any suggestions, anecdotes, etc would be greatly appreciated! Cheers!

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Old 29th March 2012, 04:18 PM
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Unfortunately, most landlords and rental agents are fairly unimaginative and pretty much insist on the 3 months of back payslips (i.e. the last 3 months, not just any 3 months) or paying 6 to 12 months up front.

One approach some folks use is to take a short-term "vacation" rental for 2 or 3 months on arrival, and then use that time to look for long-term accommodation. By the end of the 3 months of "temporary" housing, you should have the necessary 3 pay slips and you can find a long-term place with somewhat less hassle.

You're going to need to establish a French bank account when you get here anyhow. (Many landlords insist on setting up the rent as an automatic debit from your local account.) Just don't close out your US bank account, and check before you leave on how to best set up and authorize a wire transfer to your French account.

They normally won't let you do international wire transfers online, but with some pre-arrangements you may be able to set things up and then "authorize" the actual transfers as you need them. And besides, you'll need your US account when you go back to visit. Also, hang onto your US credit cards - they come in handy. You can just change the billing address to your address in France.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 29th March 2012, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
Unfortunately, most landlords and rental agents are fairly unimaginative and pretty much insist on the 3 months of back payslips (i.e. the last 3 months, not just any 3 months) or paying 6 to 12 months up front.

One approach some folks use is to take a short-term "vacation" rental for 2 or 3 months on arrival, and then use that time to look for long-term accommodation. By the end of the 3 months of "temporary" housing, you should have the necessary 3 pay slips and you can find a long-term place with somewhat less hassle.

You're going to need to establish a French bank account when you get here anyhow. (Many landlords insist on setting up the rent as an automatic debit from your local account.) Just don't close out your US bank account, and check before you leave on how to best set up and authorize a wire transfer to your French account.

They normally won't let you do international wire transfers online, but with some pre-arrangements you may be able to set things up and then "authorize" the actual transfers as you need them. And besides, you'll need your US account when you go back to visit. Also, hang onto your US credit cards - they come in handy. You can just change the billing address to your address in France.
Cheers,
Bev
Thank you, Bev! I figured we might get stuck with the upfront payment but never hurts to ask, right? I don't guess they'd let US payslips count would they? My husband will continue to work 19 weeks a year in the US. He is paid monthly and that will continue. As soon as we arrive in France he will change his tax withholding in the US to reflect France as our primary place of residence (although for tax purposes we are going to fail the residency test the first year.) I guess that is a problem for another day. (sigh)

We will definitely be keeping all of our US accounts. My husband will have a small apartment in Houston since he has to be here for his operas. Even when we lived in the UK we kept everything alive here. We want to protect our credit history and he is still paid here.

We are thinking we will transfer our US money to my mother and have her do the wire transfer as herself from the US in case she needs to sign something, etc she will be there to handle it. I want to look into transfers via the XE website-I have heard you can get a better exchange rate that way but I need to explore it further.

Also, on an unrelated note, I read somewhere that you can only register as an auto-entrepreneur if he earns less than 30K EUR. If that is the case should he go for Entreprise Individualle straight away?


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Old 29th March 2012, 08:57 PM
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What sort of visa are you going to France on?

The landlords want French payslips basically because those are paid into a French bank account, from which the landlord will take your rent payments each month. The US payslips do him no good because the money is over in the US.

Your tax situation is going to be very complicated, you know. If hubby will be 19 weeks in the US a year, he won't qualify at all for the FEIE - needs to be a bona fide resident outside the US for an entire calendar year or 12 consecutive months with no more than 30 days back in the US. France, on the other hand, considers you tax resident in France with 183 days a year physical presence in France. You definitely want to figure out the tax side of this arrangement before you go much further.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 29th March 2012, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
What sort of visa are you going to France on?

The landlords want French payslips basically because those are paid into a French bank account, from which the landlord will take your rent payments each month. The US payslips do him no good because the money is over in the US.

Your tax situation is going to be very complicated, you know. If hubby will be 19 weeks in the US a year, he won't qualify at all for the FEIE - needs to be a bona fide resident outside the US for an entire calendar year or 12 consecutive months with no more than 30 days back in the US. France, on the other hand, considers you tax resident in France with 183 days a year physical presence in France. You definitely want to figure out the tax side of this arrangement before you go much further.
Cheers,
Bev
Competences et Talents. Our visa appointment is tomorrow. I have reason to believe we will get it.

This year I know we won't meet the residency requirement, but next year and subsequent years he will definitely be able to meet the 183 days. We'll definitely hire an accountant in France to sort this year out. We want to be totally legit even if it means lots of pain this year. I'm guessing other people go through this when they apply for the visa after 1/2 the year has passed. (?) We've been in contact with his employers in France and they seem genuinely keen to help us get the social security issue worked out, etc. We're in contact with someone from the Mairie's office who handles social security issues/payments and cotisations. We're still in the process of sorting it all out.

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