Renting a French Apartment


The Cours Saleya market proved to be the perfect place to go to forget about the stress of trying to rent an apartment here in Nice.  It is a feast for the senses with bright colours everywhere and wonderful scents from the flowers at one end and from the fruit and spices at the other.  After rambling around there for a bit, I felt rejuvenated and ready to take on the French rental market with all of its unforeseen twists and turns.

We know that things work differently here in France.  Every time we do something there are complications along the way, so why is it that we are always surprised by them?  We sold our apartment here and have come back to find another one to rent.  We thought that renting would be an easy option.  Surprise! 

“We can’t rent to you”

The first agency that we called told us that since we did not have income in France that they could not rent to us at all – under any circumstances.  Later, two more agencies would tell us the same thing.  Another surprise and I started to worry.

Une garantie bancaire

The next agency said we needed a bank guaranty (une garantie bancaire).  They explained that we would have to put the equivalent of 1 year’s worth of rent payments into an account which the bank would control.  This money would stay in the bank account as long as we lived in the apartment, only to be paid out to the agency if we would fail to make our rental payments.   Well, that was a surprise.  We would have to tie up quite a bit of money, but if that’s the way it works then what could we do? 


Finally we found an apartment that we really wanted with an agency that would deal with us.  We told the estate agent that we definitely would take it and would turn in all of the needed paperwork (there is always lots of paperwork) and we made an appointment with our bank to set up the guaranty.  And guess what – even though the agency asks for a one year rent guaranty, the bank wants 120% of one year’s rent in the account.  Another surprise, but we were relieved that we would have a place to go when our moving date rolled around.

Not one year, but three

Then our estate agent emailed us to say that she was sorry, she thought it was a guarantee of 1 year’s worth of rent, but in fact, her agency required 3 years worth of rent payments as a guaranty.  Well, that was a big surprise and just seemed ridiculous to us, so we went back to looking for agencies that would rent to foreigners not working in France and that would accept a bank guaranty of 1 year’s rent.

Well, fingers crossed, we have found a place and all seems to be going well.  Hopefully there will be no more surprises – at least until moving day.