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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm an American student who will be moving to Bordeaux in September to study at Université Bordeaux Montaigne. I'm in the process of finding housing and need some advice on renting from an individual. Ideally, I'd like to reserve my housing before I arrive in Bordeaux, since I don't plan to arrive until the week before my classes begin. However, I'm a bit nervous about reserving something without seeing it in person. I've found a room for rent on Lokaviz for €345 a month. I've been emailing back and forth with the landlord and I haven't had any reason to doubt the legitimacy of the offer. I've looked through her profiles on several social media websites and didn't find anything to suggest otherwise. In order to reserve the room, she is requesting that I either email or mail her photocopies of the following documents by May 31st:

- "la photocopie de votre pièce d’identité recto-verso et celle de votre garant"

- "la photocopie de votre carte d'étudiant"

- "les trois derniers bulletins de salaire de votre garant"

- "le dernier avis d'imposition de votre garant"

- "votre dernière quittance d'eau ou d'électricité datée de moins de 3 mois"

- "Merci de compléter la fiche candidat locataire figurant en pièces jointes"

If she accepts my "dossier," she requests that I send the following by August 1st and August 15th, respectively:

- "Un chèque de Réservation de 345.00€(que j'encaisserai à votre entrée dans les lieux) à envoyer le 01.08.2015. ou par virement bancaire si nous n'avez pas de compte en France"

- "Une attestation d'assurance multi risques habitation mentionnant l'adresse du logement à savoir : (address here) à souscrire dès le 15.08.2015."

I'm hesitant to email her copies of all of these personal documents (especially the passports). I'm also hesitant to transfer her the €345 deposit before seeing the room. Should I be concerned? Is this a standard procedure for reserving a rental before arriving? As for my guarantor, I asked her if my parents (who are U.S. citizens) could serve as my guarantor; she said that they could.

Thanks in advance.
 

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How lucky you are - Bordeaux is such a beautiful city! I am sure you will have a wonderful time studying there.

Lokaviz appears to be a reliable organisation - part of the CROUS structure - and the papers requested by the person letting the apartment seem reasonable. Rather than send them by e-mail it might be wiser to send them through the post, in any case you have to send the cheque by post.

If you have any problem when you arrive get in touch with the CROUS of the university and they should be able to help you.

Good luck!
 

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Vérité speaks the truth :)p): Asking for all of those documents is SOP here. Nobody can steal your identity with copies. The €345 is the security deposit.

If the agency is legit (which it seems like it is), I would jump on this. Renting in Bordeaux is probably not as crazy as Paris, to be fair, but it is usually very hard to find an apartment with foreign guarantors anywhere in France (they are harder to find in the event that you don't pay the rent), so finding something in advance and through CROUS is a real boon. Honestly, I would normally never recommend that anyone move anywhere sight unseen, but student lodging is pretty straightforward. If you hate it, you would at least have a place to live while you look for something else.
 

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Yes, as everyone has said so far, that's standard operating procedure here. But you're very fortunate that your landlord-to-be will allow you to use your US based parents as garantors. Most insist on someone local (with a local bank account).

Just one word of caution - "student housing" can be pretty basic. Don't expect much and you won't be disappointed. (In fact, you may even be pleasantly surprised.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Go for it - student accommodation fills very quickly and Bordeaux is firing and has become extremely popular. If it doesn't suit, you can look for something else once you are here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks

Thank you all for your replies! I know someone who lives in Pessac who just informed me that he is willing to visit the apartment for me, so that will provide some peace of mind. Thanks again!
 

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Rather than send them by e-mail it might be wiser to send them through the post, in any case you have to send the cheque by post.

Good luck!
Apart from the cheque, why would it be better to send the ID and so on by post? I would certainly email them. Then they're there instantly, which might be important in case of any queries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Apart from the cheque, why would it be better to send the ID and so on by post? I would certainly email them. Then they're there instantly, which might be important in case of any queries.
I am going to email them for this reason. Plus, I will be paying the deposit by bank transfer since I don't have a French bank account, so I won't be mailing a check either.
 

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I am going to email them for this reason. Plus, I will be paying the deposit by bank transfer since I don't have a French bank account, so I won't be mailing a check either.
Yes you are both right, just being overcautious. If you have a personal email for the landlady, then of course that's the best route.
 

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I am chiming in just to add another voice, yes the dossier stuff is standard.

I put down a deposit and signed a lease (e-signed it and scanned it) before seeing it in person. And for me, it looked in person how it did through the videos and stuff so, there you go. I had someone take video for me. So I think your friend visiting is a good idea. But yes...I took that plunge without seeing it in person. It defies our usual logic to do that...but....moving abroad, there's a certain amount of "educated" risks you have to take. And it sounds like you've looked up on her etc.

Someone else might know a loophole...the only thing that looks tricky to me is her wanting you to have insurance...you said you don't have a French bank account yet? I was told the insurance companies typically want you to have a bank account in France first. Maybe there are some who take you without that. In my experience, 90% of things here require you to have a French bank account before you can do anything else. (That's an arbitrary number...my point is, almost everything!)

So you need address first, then you can open bank, and then you can do everything else. I think with HSBC you might be able to open it from US, which could possibly meet her May 31 deadline...I didn't go that route though. It might be worth asking if she as any advice on that (unless you already have it all figured out!)

So I say tricky, as in might be hard for you to find...but not that it shows her being sketchy.

So yeah, seems on the up and up.
 
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