For expats moving to France, the process of finding a suitable home and renting a property with ease will be central to the success of their expat assignment.

Most new arrivals enlist the help of a real estate agent to assist them in sourcing a home that meets their requirements. Not only do these professionals have access to a greater number of properties, they also have an intimate knowledge of the local property market and will certainly make the whole process more straightforward, especially for those with limited knowledge of the French language. 

Choosing a rental property in France

Expats looking to rent property in France will have to consider a number of factors before they begin their search, including location, size of the property, type of property, length of available rental period as well as additional running costs associated with the property.

Wherever possible it is best to view the property before moving in. Many expats stay in temporary accommodation while looking for a more permanent rental property. For those who want to secure a property before moving to France, it is best to correspond in writing with a landlord or estate agent and also keep a close record of all correspondence.

When looking for rental accommodation be sure to visit a number of properties before simply settling on a place. This allows expats to get a good idea about average rental prices they can expect to pay for various types of property. 

Signing a lease in France

When expats have found a suitable property it is important to ask the landlord to provide a condition report on the property before signing a lease. The cost for this report will usually be shared between the landlord and tenant.

Leases in France are generally for a year, but expats may be able to negotiate a six-month contract with the landlord. Expats must be sure to read their lease agreement carefully before signing any documents. The lease will stipulate any additional costs renters will be required to pay over and above the monthly rental fee for the accommodation.  

Tenants are required to pay a rental deposit, which cannot be more than one month’s rent for an unfurnished property. However, in France, there is no limit on the deposit required on a furnished rental.

Most expats use the services of an estate agent, for which an additional agency fee may need to be paid. Whether this is paid by the landlord or tenant is open to negotiation. In the big cities like Paris, where property is in high demand, the chances are the renter will be made to pay these fees. 

Utility costs in France

Expats renting property in France will find that there are also costs involved in connecting utility services. Generally, renters are responsible for making the necessary arrangements to have the electricity, gas, telephone, internet and water connected. A good landlord and even an estate agent will often assist with these processes, but it’s best for expats to do their research and be involved in the process, so they can ensure they are getting the best deal to suit their personal needs.

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