How France is making renting property (a bit) easier

How France is making renting property (a bit) easier
Finding a place to rent in France isn't always easy. Photo: Thomas SAMSON / AFP
Finding somewhere to rent in France can be difficult for foreigners who are unfamiliar with the French system, which requires all future tenants to compile an intricate list of documents - a dossier. 

To simplify the process, the French government has created an online platform where prospective tenants can upload their dossiers for landlords or agencies to access.

What is a dossier?

A dossier consists of several documents, from tax returns to proof of residence, that future tenants must have at hand to show the landlord or agency.

You need to have this prepared before you begin your property hunt, as some landlords or agencies – particularly in Paris – will not even allow you to view a place until they have seen your complete folder of documents.

For students and new arrivals in France this is particularly difficult as they will not have many of the documents required and will often require a financial guarantor – who many agencies insist is French.

READ ALSO: Nine things to expect when renting an apartment in France

How will the new system work?

Called dossier facile, which translates as ‘easy folder’ or ‘easy file’, the new online system provides landlords and agencies with direct access to the dossiers of those interested in a place.

While tenants still need to collect the same documents as in a traditional dossier, they won’t have to print out dozens and dozens of examples to bring to viewings, and there is a standardised set of necessary documents. 

Tenants

To create a dossier, go to dossierfacile.fr (link HERE) and start filling out the information.

All you need to sign up is an email address, there is no requirement of being a resident in France in order to use the service.

Prospective tenants will be asked for:

  • Proof of ID (eg passport)
  • Tax returns. However you may select that you are still attached to your parents’ tax returns or that you have been in France for less than a year.
  • Justificatif de domicile. That’s ‘proof’ of your current residence, which can be utility bills. If you don’t have bills in your name, you can upload an attestation sur l’honeur (the French document when you “declare on your honour”) that you are living with your parents or being housed for free. 
  • Justificatif de situation professionnelle. Proof of current work situation. What exactly this is depends on whether you’re employed, a student, on a short term contract etc, the system describes it for you.
  • Justificatif de ressources. Proof of income. This is for landlords to see that your stated amount of resources is documented. Many landlords set a minimum percentage eg that the rent is no more than one third of your total monthly income

If you have a financial guarantor, you will be able to upload their information to the platform too. Guarantors are generally required to provide the same list of documentation.

All these documents will be verified before the dossier is validated.

Landlords

Landlords can use the dossier facile to organise viewings and check the dossiers of those interested in renting the property.

READ ALSO: Five things to know about renting out your holiday home in France

Seeing as the platform verifies the documents uploaded by prospective tenants, it will be easier to avoid fraud.

For more information about the new system, go to the government’s website HERE.

In good news, once you have secured a place to live, you have lots of rights as a tenant – Renting in France – Know your rights

French vocab

Le dossier – the collection of paperwork you need to show landlords

Une pièce – room. This is not the same as a bedroom (une chambre) so an apartment of une pièce is a one-room studio apartment, not a one-bedroom apartment

Une cuisine séparée/cuisine ouverte – kitchen in a separate room or an open plan living/kitchen area (in some cheaper apartments this basically means a sink and hotplate stuck in the corner of the living room)

Mètres carrés – metres squared. Since we’re metric all apartments are measured in square metres and in Paris in particular it’s not unusual for someone to ask you combien de mètres carrés? if you mentioned your apartment. They’re basically asking you how big it is.

Ascenseur – elevator/lift. Is this isn’t mentioned in the advert, assume the building doesn’t have one

Climatisation – air conditioning (dream on)

Charge – the building charge. This can vary from €50 a year to several hundred, so you will need to factor it in to your financial calculations

À louer – to rent. If it’s for sale the sign will say à vendre

Meublé/non meublé – furnished/unfurnished. Unfurnished apartments are the most common, particularly non studios. 

Propriétaire – landlord or owner

Locataire – tenant. If you are in a shared apartments your flatmates/roomates are your colocataires or colocs.


Member comments

  1. I don’t think I would be comfortable giving all that information to a stranger before I’d at least met them in person or had some kind of guarantee that they were genuine. The potential for identity theft and fraud is mind boggling.

    1. It seems to me that you send a link once your dossier is validated, so you don’t have to send it before you’re confident about the person who you’re sharing your information with.

  2. Yes I realised that when I took a look at the site. Problem is that many private landlords are asking for these documents before they’ll consider even a viewing. Demand is such where I live that they feel emboldened to ask what they like.

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