We visited a flat today. This was the third flat visit in 3 weeks, or to be more exact in 27 days!
Honestly I have never thought that renting a flat in a big French city would be so complicated and come with so many issues. Here, it is extremely hard to get a rental, but once you are in it is hard to kick you out. Thus, somehow finally it makes some sense for the whole rental process to be complicated, I admit. The owners mostly go through agencies to manage the flats for them and – unlike in Hungary – the agencies ask for 1 month’s rent from both the tenant and the owner. Maybe I should study to become a real estate agent in France.
Also they ask you for a massive collection of papers, proof of your salary, and I have no idea what else, but the agents have been shuffling massive amount of papers and pushing it towards us when we said yes to the second flat we visited (which the owner gave to somebody else finally). The owners here have a flat insurance (obligatory) and the tenants are also obliged to get one – unlike in Hungary, where you take an insurance if you want. The deposit is one month of rent, which is less than at home, where they like to take 2 or 3 months of rent as a deposit. Surprisingly, you as a tenant also have to pay taxes to the municipality for renting a flat. The real estate tax is also the burden of the owner, as you have to pay when you own, but also of the tenant, as you have to pay when you rent. Ivo has told me that if you own your flat and you live in it too, you have to pay both these taxes but I simply just cannot believe this is true. For us it is even harder as we do not have official jobs at the moment, even though we have some income from renting our Budapest flat. So nobody likes us as a possible tenant. It will be nice to win the flat rental race from this situation!
So the flat we visited today was 65 m2 and had two small bedrooms and a living room. It was in a recently built (28 years ago), bigger house with flats on the third floor. Amazingly enough the owner itself advertised it and welcomed us there today at 2 pm. He was a nice older guy with modern glasses and a bit absent minded. The living room was spacious and had lots of light and a balcony with a big glass door. There was lots of built in storage space, which is great and a poorly furnished, old kitchen, which is not so great. Still, this is a wonderful apartment for us, no matter what, as the location is excellent and there are many built in wardrobes, which means that we would need to buy less big furniture. Oh yes, the flat is completely empty, it is without an oven, a washing machine and a fridge. Totally empty. No curtains either.
So, we said yes! The owner, unfortunately did not welcome this outburst of joy without conditions, even though he was extremely happy when he lad learned that we were married. He seemed to see marriage as a proof of seriousness. Hahaha. Actually there were 3 more contestants competing for the same prize, so he said that he had to show them the flat too, as he had promised them to do so and he would give us an answer until Friday evening. Very gentlemanly of him, however I got a bit upset as in Budapest normally the first one, who agrees to take a flat and is liked by the owner, gets the place. Several times have I been called by owners that I should not even leave my flat as they had just rented out the flat I was about to visit. OK, I understand that the market conditions are different here, the demand is high and the supply is low, but I do not have to like it.
Now everyone, please keep your fingers crossed until Friday evening!