Finding an apartment to rent in Paris

Finding an apartment in Paris can be a time-consuming process. French laws very strongly favour the tenant, so landlords only want to rent to people they are certain will be good tenants and will be able to pay the rent. Landlords aren’t allowed to evict tenants between October to March, so you can imagine how nervous a landlord might get. Also, there is a shortage of apartments in Paris and it is not uncommon for group viewings to take place, so you may have to compete with many other viewers.

Before you even start looking for an apartment, you need to establish where you want to live and what your budget is. You will to an extent be limited by your salary, as most landlords expect your net salary to be three times the rent. As for location, you will need to do your research to find areas that suit your requirements, but the 6th, 7th, 8th and 16th arrondissements tend to be "expat-heavy" and they are closer to the international schools and the American Hospital.

Next, you’ll need to assemble your all-important "dossier". Putting this together can seem like a daunting task but landlords will not look favourably upon an incomplete dossier and therefore probably reject your application. Your dossier should include:

  • Identity card (carte de séjour or passport)
  • Last year’s avis d’imposition (similar to the P60 in the UK and the Form 1040 in the US)
  • Last three pay slips
  • Current contract of employment
  • Last energy bill
  • Last avis d’echeance (rent bill)
  • Relevé d’Identité Bancaire - RIB (A document from your bank with your account details)
  • All of the above for your guarantor

Yes, your guarantor. While it’s not necessary for all apartments, it does help. If you don’t have someone who can sign for you, some employers have programs and offers to help. Once your dossier is complete, you can start the actual property search.

If you are going it alone, useful websites are and, where you can search using different criteria. Don’t rely entirely on their automatic alerts as it has been noted that they miss properties. Check the listings at least once a day, and if you find something that looks good, call right away. The market moves very quickly and you will often find that the apartment has been taken if you wait a day. Also, you can also try going directly to agencies and seeing what they have on inventory.

You’ll probably have to visit a few apartments to find the right one, and it’ll feel like a full-time job for a while but when a landlord accepts your dossier and you’re sitting comfortably in your apartment, you’ll know that all the effort was worth it.

Alternatively, Celsium's local housing specialist can do all of this for you, providing you with guidance on the right areas for you, researching suitable properties, compiling a viewing itinerary, accompanying you to viewings and negotiating and making an offer to the landlord.

If you would like to find out more about how Celsium can support your homesearch in Paris, please get in touch with us using our contact page.


Source: (Megan McGuire 15 Feb 2015)