Finding an apartment in Paris
20 arrondissements, millions of people and a metro network of over 300 stations and 14 main lines. Greater Paris is an urban juggernaut yet offers so many beautiful and quiet corners. The metro network touches now more and more the suburbs and somehow always applies “Where a Métrostation, there's Paris“. This unwritten rule is also a criterion for many home seekers, because staying near the Eiffel Tower or in a walking distance to the Louvre remains an unfulfillable dream for many people.
Life in Paris is costly and the regular search for accommodation in the city by providers such as Airbnb has become even more difficult.
Although the suburbs are attractive, not everyone wants to settle down there, in the “banlieue“.
The Parisian disctricts
Tips for finding accommodation in Paris
In general, living in Paris has something masochistic about it: For 30sqm, one can expect to pay upwards of € 1,500, and musty apartments on the sixth floor without a lift are said to be “charming“. Many expectations of living high above the rooftops like Amelie are dashed by the reality of the high cost of living. In the trendy Montmarte the streets are not the only things that are steep...
If you want to find a flat in Paris, you need to compromise. Not just on where to live, also to accept high costs for low quality. If you have high expectations, in Paris you need to adjust them.
Before moving, many also ask which districts in Paris should be avoided. There is no general answer to this question, because, as in any big city, common sense helps to avoid some critical situations. Nevertheless, the lively Barbès-Rochechouart can certainly not be compared with the chic 16th arrondissement.
Without suitable finances, it can be difficult to find a decent apartment in Paris. Roughly, your net income should be three times the cost of rent including service charges.
This is made even more difficulty by the application process. Testimonials like the following are common:
“I have been in Paris for two months and work full-time (declared). It seems to me absolutely impossible to get an apartment. Every time I submitted / sent all the documents [..] I've run out of ideas.“ (Source: Facebook group “Germans in Paris and the surrounding area“, 10/2018, shortened text)
Especially in Paris submitting a valid application (“dossier“) is required for most rentals. A typical dossier requires proof of identity, recent pay stubs, the proof of a French bank account and many more information, sometimes a filled-in questionnaire. Despite the SEPA procedure, bank accounts from another country are rarely accepted.
In short, what should the application folder contain to find an apartment in Paris?
In addition to providing financial information, it is often necessary to list a guarantor in your dossier, especially for students or if one's own income is not so attractive. Depending on the personal situation, the guarantor also has to provide the same documents to prove his financial situation.
Nevertheless, landlords are increasingly taking out insurance against loss of rental income (“assurance loyer impayé“ or “garantie loyer impayé“), making a classic guarantee superfluous. Looking for an apartment without proof of income or a permanent employment contract can be an obstacle to obtaining a lease.
Basic documents for almost every applicant:
- Copy of the identity card or passport
- Proof of a French bank account
- Proof of current address
- The last 3 rental documents or confirmation that you are the owner
- Last tax notice
Additionally important for employees:
- Copy of the employment contract
- Proof of income: The last 3 salary statements
Important for self-employed:
- Proof of self-employment (for example business registration)
- Proof of income: The last 2 balance sheets or proof of financial resources
Important for pensioners:
- Pension evidence
- Proof of income: The last 3 pension payments
Important for students:
- Certificate of registration
- Copy of student ID
In many cases, full or certified translations into French are not necessary. It is often sufficient to highlight important points in foreign-language documents, e.g. relevant names and amounts.