Looking for a place to rent
There are different ways for searching a place to rent in France. Internet is a good option as there are a substantial number of properties being advertised via it. The largest French site are http://www.seloger.com/, http://www.explorimmo.com/, and even http://www.pap.fr/ (for those who prefer to deal directly with the property owner).
Another avenue is to contact estate agents (agents immobiliers). It is worth using their services rather than dealing directly with the property owner as they are here to help, advise you throughout the transaction and ensure that things are done legally. Moreover, as their activities are strictly regulated by law, you will have someone to turn to if something goes wrong.
With regard to his/her fees, those can be up to one month’s rental (plus TVA). In addition to his negotiation fees, the estate agent can ask to be paid for drafting the renting contract. In such a case, additional fees will then be charged.
It may be helpful to use one of our templates, should you wish to draft your own renting contract or check the one prepared by the estate agent or the landlord.
To fulfil the landlords’ or estate agents’ requirements for letting a property, you will need to put together a dossier to establish the health of your financial situation and convince the estate agent and/or the owner that you are in a position to pay the rent. In this regard, the landlord or his agent will usually require your monthly income to be at least three (3) times the value of the rent. In case of insufficient income, you may be required to give the name of someone ready to be your guarantor (Caution Solidaire): this person, who should normally be a resident in France, will have to provide proof of revenues equal to at least five times the monthly rent and sign a document indicating his/her acceptance to be your guarantor.
Laws and regulation
The following aims to give a general overview of the key practical aspects of property law, which landlords and tenants wishing to let a property in France need to be aware of. It is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law in this area, and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice about any specific problem. Readers are encouraged to take legal advice (Ask a French Laywer).
Lettings in France are governed by numerous and complex rules mainly aimed at protecting the tenant who is regarded as the weakest party concerned. Several statutory regimes coexist and the application of one statute or another is a matter of strict policy and not left to the parties. In other words, a tenant in France benefits from a considerably greater level of protection than is currently the case in the UK or North America, especially when it comes to his rights to stay in the property. As such, the laws protecting tenants apply irrespective of what is contained in the written rental agreement between the landlord and the tenant. They apply even if the agreement is in English and between English speaking landlords and tenants.
However, this protection depends on the nature of the property let (furnished or unfurnished) and on its use by the tenant (as a main residence or a holiday home), e.g. the legislation that protects tenants does not extend to seasonal lettings (les locations saisonnières) or second residences (les résidences secondaires) and until recently non-seasonal lettings of furnished properties were also unprotected, though that has now changed.