Toolkit: Flat Hunting
Flat hunting anywhere in the world can be a real nightmare for all. France, and especially Paris, is no exception to this rule and for students or tourists coming from abroad, it makes life even more difficult. However, if you follow our handy tips, it may just make the flat hunting experience a little less stressful.
Finding the perfect flat is all about patience and persistence because it will usually take some time – in some cases several weeks. In terms of timing, July through to October tend to be the worst months for it with landlords on holiday and students returning to Paris for the start of a new academic year. We recommend, if possible, to try and find your flat between March to June as this is often the best time for flat hunting.
Once you have decided when to come to France, it is important to start planning about a month or so before your arrival by doing some online research. You should start thinking where you would like you like to live and become familiar with the area – is it a safe neighbourhood? Are there any metro or bus stations nearby? Are there supermarkets/bars/restaurants nearby? And just before leaving home, we recommend printing off any documents that may be useful when signing a contract. Think about bringing a copy of your bank details, proof of identity, proof of employment/studying status and proof of sufficient resources, as landlords will demand a dossier (application file.)
Whilst prior research is important, it is more likely that you will find a long-term flat upon arriving in France because it is very important to meet the landlord and see the flat in person. As a result, it is quite common for people moving to rent an AirBnB or stay in a hotel/hostel for a couple of weeks. The most popular ways to find a place to live in France once you’ve already arrived include:
- Online – There are plenty of websites and groups on social media that are used specifically for buying, selling and renting property. We have included a selection of our favourites below.
- Bulletin boards – If you are coming to France to study, check to see if your university keeps a bulletin board where people may post places for rent. If you’re in Paris, some people have found places via the American Church in Paris.
- Real estate agencies – This is often a more expensive option as agencies tend to charges fees for their services. However, it is a quick, safe and reliable method.
As mentioned, flat hunting isn’t an easy experience in France but keep searching!It’s interesting to note that the French say trouver un appartement, which translates as “to find a flat”, instead of chercher un appartment (“to look for a flat”). Perhaps this is a sign of positivity for all of us that when you’re flat hunting hunt, rather than just looking for a flat, you will FIND one eventually!
Click HERE for more handy language toolkits to help you with life in France.