Paris long term rental advice

Mar 16th, 2019, 08:15 PM
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Paris long term rental advice

Niece will start grad school in Paris this Fall, has to secure housing. Have no experience with long term rentals, do have a deep appreciation for the well developed ability of the French to make any transaction a complicated mess of red tape. Any advice/ experiences/recommendations would be appreciated as I am not even sure what questions to ask beyond:
  1. Since she'll be a student she should have a << bail mobilitÚ>> to reduce fees and deposit, but as I understand it that is only for a 10 month nonrenewable period. Does that mean that to stay beyond 10 months she would need to come up with the hefty deposit?
  2. With furnished rentals, are utilities typically included? If not, how complex is it to establish an account with the utility provider?
  3. What about renter's insurance - where/how does one obtain it, and is it expensive?
  4. I've been told that prospective tenants need to present a portfolio attesting to their worthiness - is this a standardized thing?* What is required?
We'll be spending a week or so in Paris the first part of June to do some boots on the ground apartment hunting. Anyone have an agent/agency to recommend?
Thanks for any help you can offer!
Seamus is offline  
Mar 16th, 2019, 09:05 PM
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A "long term" rental starts with a three year lease. Apparently what you are looking for a student rental. Utilities are not included in the private sector. Most places are unfurnished.

The wisest place to start looking is through the official student services agency, CROUS.

Logement - Crous de Paris
kerouac is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 05:47 AM
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I have signed two, one year leases. For a student, the minimum period is 9 or 10 months.

1. There is no reason why you could not renew a lease as long as you have been a good tenant. You may need to provide a deposit for any lease.

2. You may need to establish an account with the EDF for electricity but it really depends upon the lease. Having an EDF account really establishes you and to obtain one you will need a signed lease and a bank account. To get a bank account you will need a long stay visa and a lease.

3. You do need insurance. It is not terribly expensive, probably a few hundred euros a year depending upon your declared values. Banks offer insurance as well as AXA or MAIF,

4. Perhaps you noticed a bit of a chicken and egg scenario in item #2 above. The simplest way to obtain a lease is to pay it (up to one year) in advance. This solves a lot of potential conflicts and simplifies the process. With the lease you can obtain a bank account, insurance, and electricity (if you need electricity separately). Anyone living in France really needs a bank account; maybe a student could get by without one.

The school should be able to help with all of this but moving to France on your own is a daunting task.
Sarastro is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 08:45 AM
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I also am very surprised that the school is doing nothing to help in this regard, I just haven't ever heard of that. You'd think they'd give some recommendations, agencies, etc. it appears you haven't ever heard of CROUS (the mian office i know is near Port Royal RER stop).

Of course she doesn't really have to have her own apt. I attended two university summer programs in Paris and just lived in a residence hall or foyer. Sure, that wasn't a couple years or whatever, but it was cheap and convenient, and I got to meet tons of people that way, in the dorm and in the cafeteria, etc. She wouldn't need to be buying furniture, linens, getting insurance, etc., and all this stuff. Sometimes minimalism is better, as a student, I really didn't need much but a room with a bed and dresser and desk, and access to a bathroom.

The universities I went to facilitated my accommodations. Although one time when I was only there a few weeks for classes one summer, I did rent a more typical vacation apt rental, of course. If she is a student at a legitimate school (sounds like it), she can apply to live in the Cite Universitaire, they take people who aren't just at the Sorbonne. this is their website with instructions on how to apply and requirements
CitÚ internationale universitaire de Paris - Le Campus des universitÚs de Paris. 5800 logements, 12000 Útudiants et chercheurs, 140 nationalitÚs.

There are tons of insurance companies, here is a website for such geared to students

I did buy rental insurance once in Paris, it was a company the agency had a deal with. It was cheap and they are a wellknown company, I think. It was Aibinet
Christina is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 09:17 AM
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If you don't know what the CitÚ Internationale Universitaire is like, I made a photo report about it: CitÚ Internationale Universitaire de Paris | Any Port in a Storm
kerouac is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 10:38 AM
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Thanks for all the responses!
We want to find a large enough place place to accommodate occasional visits from family and friends. Not palatial, just with a decent sleep sofa or enough room for an air mattress. When she attended summer classes at this school a couple years ago I found her a little studio that was fine for that situation, but since this will be a 12 to 24 month program something else is in order. CROUS is not an option as they essentially provide dorm rooms.
The school provides only the name of an agency, does not really have a student housing service.

Yes, we are are of the somewhat circular logic related to bank accounts, leases, utilities and visas. I have warned her Dad that the French have raised red tape to an art form.

kerouac - yes, I had seen your wonderful photo report. I always enjoy your reports!
Seamus is offline  
Mar 17th, 2019, 11:07 AM
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The CitÚ Universitaire also has studio apartments. However, I think it is a bit unrealistic and maybe even unfair to consider one's niece's residence to be a pied-Ó-terre for family visits. If she is a student, she does not need this sort of complication.
kerouac is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by kerouac View Post
. . . a bit unrealistic and maybe even unfair to consider one's niece's residence to be a pied-Ó-terre for family visits. If she is a student, she does not need this sort of complication.
What I was thinking when mention was made of ". . . occasional visits from family and friends." Surely it would make more sense, logistically & financially to find a student accommodation with utilities included than to put her through all that's involved with a private rental. If the family visits are indeed occasional, how difficult is it to find a convenient hotel? We may not have the whole story but, unless there are extenuating facts not in evidence, why go to all that bother?
MmePerdu is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 03:09 PM
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I 100% agree. She should concentrate on student housing and not jump through all the hoops necessary to rent on the open market. Visiting friends / family should pay their own dime in hotels . . . Just my two cents . . .
janisj is offline  
Mar 17th, 2019, 05:03 PM
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Thanks for the life advice but we have that part covered. Practical suggestions still very welcome.
Seamus is offline  
Mar 17th, 2019, 08:51 PM
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Well, the bigger the apartment, the less likely she is to get a student rental. People with larger apartments prefer to rent to working people who will stay longer than 9 months. Will the visiting family be happy to all stay in a studio apartment?
kerouac is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 09:21 PM
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Thanks, kerouac, I am trying to understand just what "a student rental" means. I think the fact that she will be a student has muddied the waters a bit. Typical student housing (dorm, studette, small studio) is not of interest. She (her Dad, really, as the guarantor) will likely be happy to sign a 12 to 24 month lease. Her experience as a tenant is in Manhattan so she is aware of the need to assure the owner of one's solvency and reliability. As a former landlord (and quite happy to be out of that business!) I understand the desire/need to qualify potential tenants but do not have experience in the Parisian market. Does the <<bail mobilitÚ>> make her a less attractive tenant? If so, it may be better to proceed without that. I suppose paying a year's rent up front may be an option but only if absolutely necessary.
Seamus is offline  
Mar 17th, 2019, 10:20 PM
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The thing about a student lease is that the city of Paris guarantees payment of rent to the owner, even if the student defaults -- so that makes it very attractive to certain owners. However, on the open market, all of the conditions are much more severe. The main drawback of a "bail mobilitÚ" is that it is pretty much the same as renting a hotel room -- the owner can kick you out at any time without notice (would need to state a valid reason of course, but...).

You might want to study the official government website:
kerouac is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 11:51 PM
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If your niece is American, opening a bank account in France, or anywhere in Europe, is very difficult. Nothing to do with French red tape, but with American rules.
I know banks here (in Belgium) flat out refuse American clients - or even new European clients with a Green Card.
I would look into that first.

My daughter was in Paris for 6 months at Alliance Francaise, and the school put her in touch with an agency. She found a very nice small place on Blvd St Michel.
I'll see if I can find the agency, it's a while ago.

Last edited by Tulips; Mar 17th, 2019 at 11:55 PM.
Tulips is offline  
Mar 18th, 2019, 12:26 AM
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Very true about the bank account problem. The FATCA rules have led many banks to reject anyone who is considered a "US person" - citizen, Green Card holder or even just born by accident in the United States without ever having lived there.
kerouac is online now  
Mar 24th, 2019, 09:56 AM
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Finding and securing a long-term rental in Paris is difficult, and especially difficult for someone who does not have the typical French dossier. It can become an exercise in finding someone willing to rent to you. You might try a website like where you may get lucky and find a suitable apartment and a willing owner. I got lucky and found 2 apartments this way.

I recently rented a long-term apartment in the south of France, and it was a soul-sucking experience even though I had a French guarantor.

I agree with the comments about renting a place to accommodate visitors. I would let the student have her own space and let the visitors stay in a nearby hotel.
f1racegirl is offline  
Mar 24th, 2019, 10:09 AM
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Oh, dear, f1racegirl, now you've done it. The OP does not appreciate suggestions he deems not "practical." Visitors staying in a hotel is apparently impractical (post #10).
MmePerdu is online now  
Mar 24th, 2019, 10:47 AM
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Ah, more nasty people crushing dreams about visiting Paris.... Isn't it a shame that reality is quite different from phantasms?
kerouac is online now  
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