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In Paris, do unfurnished rents go up every year? So if you sign on for a 3 year lease, will the rent go up every year of those three or does it lock in at the rented rate?
 

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Just some thoughts for you timothyjames... There is usually an easy way to get an apartment, it usually goes through intermediaries like agencies, and it's often much more expensive or full of fees but has the convenience of not having to do any leg work yourself. I don't actually live in Paris yet, but I do have experience looking for apartments in ways that jump off the more comfortable path here in New York and also in other cities and I've been doing some steady research on the Parisian rental scene. So take this for whatever it's worth and anyone should feel free to jump in and put me in my place if I'm wrong.

You can look in pap.fr, FUSAC, the papers, private signs on buildings, wherever, but ultimately if what you want is to deal directly with an owner or landlord you'll have to hit the streets and pound the pavement making appointments for yourself. You will also have to have your finances in good order before presenting yourself to someone renting an apartment. In Paris, the law is on the side of the renter and therefore, a prospective tenant coming from an agency that has already looked into you is far more reliable than someone walking in off the street. Completely understandable, I'd say. This is why they may say that they want to see up to a year of rent locked up in an account. By law, you can take off whenever you want with 90 days notice. So they need to know, for example, that you won't split in the middle of July leaving them with an empty apartment through August when everyone's gone from the city. They can't stop it from happening anyway, but obviously someone willing to lock up a big amount of money for rent is probably more responsible and less likely to disappear.

I think you need to show up to see apartments the way you would show up for a job interview; well presented, with papers in hand, pleasant, showing them "I don't come approved by an agency but I am completely legitimate and I keep my word and I am committed to being a good tenant that isn't a risk." And even then, some of them simply won't care anyway even after showing you the place. The key, I think, is to see lots of places, get a feel for yourself for how the visits go and as always in these things, learn to compromise. It is always the name of the game when looking for your own apartments in any city. Don't set your hopes on anything that isn't an absolute must. And even then, look over your absolute musts and see which ones you can be flexible with. I used to think there was no way I'd live in an apartment in Paris without a full oven and range on top. But I realise that cuts down on a certain number of apartments and I can just buy a double burner somewhere when I get there and get a nice big powerful toaster oven. And I actually DO cook! Walking into a place and saying, "What? There's no stove?" are the kinds of warning signs to landlords or guardiens that you may be more than they want to handle. 'Make it work' becomes the motto when living in cities like this.

Again, I could be wrong because I haven't spent a single day yet walking around looking for apartments, but I think these things will help you find your own place and help you look as ideal a candidate as possible. People living in Paris... PLEASE feel free to tear apart what I've said here. As I said, it ONLY comes from research and lots and lots of reading here and on other forums, not from actually doing it myself. Does no good to give him bad advice, right? :eek:
 

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I should state that in addition to what I said, I do also speak French which is also an essential and somewhat obvious part of making all those things go smoother. ;)

A few things, moving2france...
"there is too much demand for housing in Paris and too little supply - so no one cares" - I'm in New York, and outside of Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, and Moscow there is no city that comes close to the demand for housing in any of these cities. I'm not saying it's not a tough market in Paris, just that from where I was giving my advice to James1983 was from the perspective of a place with one the toughest markets in the world. 6-12 months rent secured in a bank is nothing compared to having to prove to a landlord that your salary is three times the amount of 1 year's complete rent and also having to pay the agent 15 per cent of the first year's rent. And that is for the cheapest apartments. Often, a guarantor won't help, so they'll just ask you to pay the whole year up front. No, none of these are typos. I can't imagine what the condo rental market is like, I'm just talking about the average apartments that people rent. But alas, this isn't about New York.

"You have no choice but to go through english speaking agencies... be prepared to put away 6 months rent in a bank garantie" - from what I've read, and I could be wrong, it's precisely when you DON'T go through agencies that you have to be willing to lock up a year's rent in a bank account as well. I think the moderator had said that to me and I've read it elsewhere since.

Anyway, james found a place and I'm sure he's happy. James, maybe you can tell us what things helped you secure your place?
 
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