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Housing in France
It can be difficult to find a suitable flat in France, it will often take some time to find what you are looking for.
The principals accommodation options, ranging from short to long-term are:
1. Hotels and hostels: usually the easiest place to stay while looking for somewhere to live.
2. Residence (apartment) hotels: it is usually more expensive if you plan to stay for more than 3 months.
3. Student accommodation: it is usually cheap solution but must be organized long time in advance.
4. Sharing a flat or house: it can be a good way to improve your language skills and get to know new people.
5. Renting a room, flat, or house: the solution for most people.
6. Buying a flat or house: the most economic solution if you are planning to stay in France for more then 5 years.
Whether you're looking for an apartment or just a room: local knowledge is key.
There are infinite ways to find a rental property:
- by word-of-mouth;
- advertisements: Lots of newspapers and local magazines have a property section (the most popular sources are: De particulier à particulier (in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese), FUSAC (in English and French) and Le Figaro (in French only)
- Real estate agencies (Agences immobilières)
The rent contract must be signed by both the tenant and landlord. There should be two copies, one for each party. A normal contract will include the following:
- start date and duration of the rent period (typically, rental contracts run for three years);
- use of the rent space (private, professional, mixed);
- rent amount, in addition to terms of payments and revisions;
- additional charges (list) and taxes that the tenant has to pay to landlord;
- deposit (most landlords ask for a caution deposit of two months rent);
- contract termination terms.
French law requires a tenant to be insured against the damage to the property (assurance d'habitation).
There are two local taxes: taxe fonciere (property tax) and the taxe d'habitation (house fee). They are connected to the property cadastral value and depending on the location and the prestige of the building. The rate is determined annually by the various local governments.
The TAXE D'HABITATION is paid by the person occupying the property, it is not due only if the apartment is inhabitable, then must periodically declare its state to tax system (in case of rent must declare the name of the occupant). The TAXE FONCIERE is paid by the landlord or seller.
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