Moving to Paris?
Administration and Rentals in Paris
Renting an Apartment
Apartments in Paris can be rented furnished or unfurnished, the latter being more common. Contract periods for furnished flats vary, but unfurnished apartments are usually let for a minimum of three years. Please note that if you fail to give written notice three months before your intended date of departure, the lease will automatically be renewed. In some cases, you may only be required to give one month's notice. This should be specified in your lease and/or discussed with your landlord.
Prospective tenants are required to pay a deposit of usually one month's rent for unfurnished apartments. The deposit for furnished places can be much higher, though. The money will be returned to them at the end of the contract period, provided no major damages occurred to the property during their tenancy. An état des lieux detailing the apartment’s state of repair at the beginning of the lease should be signed by both parties.
A Word of Caution
Due to the high demand for rental property in Paris, every suitable space has been converted into studios or apartments, including former servants’ quarters. These chambres de bonnes are usually situated right under the roof of town houses and are smaller and cheaper than normal flats. If you are on a budget and prepared to tolerate certain inconveniences, they could be the ideal solution. However, apart from the lower rent, these places don´t have much going for them.
Look Out for the Additional Costs
In addition to the monthly rent for the property, tenants face a number of other expenses. Apart from utility bills, there are charges for the premises which include the concierge (if there is one), elevator maintenance, garbage collection, etc.
Tenants are also expected to pay the annual taxe d’habitation, a local tax roughly equivalent to council tax in the UK. Home insurance, including personal liability insurance, is compulsory and often a prerequisite of any contract.
The Most Important: A Residence Permit
Residence permits can seem like a complicated issue, but there is nothing to worry about prior to arrival.
Once, everyone in possession of a long-stay visa had to report at their préfecture soon after arrival in order to obtain a carte de séjour. In recent years, though, new visa categories were introduced, most of which serve automatically as a residence permit during the first year of residency. However, as a long-stay visa holder, you still need to register at the Office Français de l’Immigration et d’Integration within the first three months of your stay in Paris.
Everyone whose visa carries the remark carte de séjour à solliciter must get a formal residence permit (carte de séjour or titre de séjour) within two months of arrival. The carte de séjour serves as a sort of ID card during their period of stay and must be renewed every year. In Paris, cartes de séjour are obtained at the préfecture de police, which also has a website with information in Chinese, English, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.
Once you have been legally living in France for at least five consecutive years, you can apply for a carte de résident, which is valid for ten years. EU nationals do not need any form of residence permit.
Every non-EU national who is required to obtain a carte de séjour also has to sign a Contrat d’Accueil et d’Intégration if they come to live in France for the first time. This mutual “contract” between the foreign individual and the French state is meant to ensure that both sides make their best efforts at integration.
For foreigners and expats, this means attending a couple of information sessions and proving their French language skills. If the latter are judged to be insufficient, the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration offers compulsory French lessons. Failure to attend may result in the residence permit being revoked.
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