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Get Accommodated on the Riviera

by | Oct 5, 2021 | Daily life

Finding accommodation on the Riviera is a tricky task and might come by even harder if you’re a foreigner and new to the region.

Here are some tips I’ve gathered from multiple moves across the Riviera, hopefully, some of these pointers will solve some of your issues or help you avoid them altogether!

When to Start Looking to get accommodated on the French Riviera

The French Riviera rental property market swings on a regular pendulum – between September and May, landlords look for a winter tenant and between June and August, rental rates go through the roof welcoming tourists.

If possible, avoid moving during the summer as, not only is it more difficult to find any vacancy, if you do, the price could be triple what you’d normally pay per month.

Also, it might not be very productive to start visiting accommodations 2 months before you’re ready to move. Many landlords are looking for tenants to move in as soon as possible and will rarely wait weeks for you to move in.

Who to Deal with when looking for accommodation on the Côte d’Azur

There are 2 main ways to go about looking for accommodation – you can go through an agency who will look for the apartments for you and you will pay them about a month’s rent if they find you something. Alternatively, you can also search for apartments yourself and deal directly with the landlord to save on the agency fees.

While paying for an agency could add a significant amount to everything else you’d need to cough up in your first month, I have found that they have better quality apartments that were slightly cheaper in monthly rental. They are also privy to apartments that you might not find on the market. Also, with an agency, your rights as a tenant are better protected. If there is a problem in your apartment that the landlord needs to take care of, they’re usually on top of it and ensures that the landlord pays their fair share instead of asking the tenant to pay for the damages. In the big picture, you may end up saving a lot more money than what you paid in the beginning.

When dealing with the landlord directly, it is difficult to pressure them to have something fixed in the time you want it fixed by. It is also difficult to challenge them if they decide not to return your deposit.

Where to Look for Accommodation

If you decide to go with an agency, a quick google search will bring up many you can go with – you can also ask around for recommendations for reputable agents.

If you’re looking to deal directly with landlords, the greatest number of leads I’ve found were on LeBonCoin.fr. Beware of scams on this site though – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Here is a list of Facebook groups where you can find (usually English-speaking owners) posts directly with owners:

Lastly, you may also want to check www.pap.fr (stands for Particuliers à Particuliers – individuals to individuals). I’ve found that their offers for rental apartments to be quite limited but always worth checking out!

What to Look Out For

  • Always ask if there is a lift, most buildings in the Old towns can go up to 6 floors with no lift
  • Check if the rent includes all bills (electricity, water, heating, building charges, etc)
  • If you’re looking at an apartment in a busy part of town, be wary that it can get very noisy during the weekend and in the summer, especially if your window is overlooking a pedestrian road
  • If you have a car, check if there is any parking nearby and be prepared to pay anything between 80€-150€ a month to rent a parking space.

How to Prepare for your Visit

You may end up looking at a lot more apartments or houses than you’d expect to. The market is very competitive and often, it’s the first tenant to put down all their documents and deposit that will secure the house. As such, you should already put together your folder of documents that your landlord will ask you for and I’d go as far to say to bring a copy of this folder to every viewing instead of agreeing to send the documents to the landlord the same day. I have lost more than one good deal because someone beat me to the punch.

Documents you should prepare for each tenant that will live in the house:

  • Identification (passport or ID) + visa if you’re not European
  • The last 3 months’ salary slips or proof of income (3 times more than the rent)
  • Bank Account Details (RIB)

Some landlords, but not all, may insist on these following documents too:

  • Last tax statement (avis d’impôts)
  • Receipts of your last 3 months of rent (quittances de loyer)
  • Work contract, or other proof of income like pensions, savings etc
  • Proof of current address (electricity or internet bill)

Documents needed for Students

If you’re a student, you can use a guarantor who will need to provide all the above-mentioned documents, as well as a signed letter indicating that they are your guarantor.

Finding a guarantor

The usual problem that foreigners run into when moving into their first French apartment is not being able to provide previous receipts of a French residence, any tax statements, and the landlord won’t accept salary slips from a company outside of France. I’ve even heard of many of have tried to pay a year’s rent upfront and the landlord still refused.

To get around this issue, I often recommend using the company Garantme they specialise in guaranteeing people who do not have the above mentioned documents and step in as a guarantor.

I hope this article has been helpful, if you know someone who could use this information, please feel free to send this link to them!

Thank you for reading this blog article, we hope you liked it!

Find more professionals in the region on I Love Côte d’Azur. This blog is powered by Business Club Côte d’Azur.

Josh
Josh

Salut, I’m Josh! I love skateboarding, cooking, photography and learning – even though I was a terrible student back in the days. Moved to France with Robin in 2018 and we have together been working in marketing for over a decade.

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