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Renting with no French income

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[quote user="Albert the InfoGipsy"]

A lot of posters (sensibly) adocate renting in France for a while before leaping into buying. Having enquired about this it looks difficult because agencies require proof of income and if you are moving to France you won't have one.

Am I missing something? How do you get round this?


No, you are not missing anything. Unless things have changed a lot in the past 6 years.

When I first moved "back" to France from England 6 years ago, I had left my OH in our house in the UK with a view to rent something in France for a year and prepare the ground for both of us coming over.

I quickly discovered, going around agents immobiliers, that nobody was prepared to touch me with a bargepole - although I had enough money in the bank to pay for a year's rent and for my expenses. I also had a letter from  someone in England employing me to do research for a year. This cut absolutely no ice with any agency, the only possibility I would have had would have been with a guarantor, resident and taxed in France, who could show that their income was 3 or 4 times the amount of my rent. This normally is what happens with youngsters/students, their parents act as guarantors.I offered to pay a year's rent in advance, again this was impossible, as it is not legal!

I had someone in the UK who offered  to be a guarantor, again nobody wanted to know. In the end I did find a flat to rent privately, from searching the small ads in the local paper - and through being, in the end, incredibly lucky that the landlady took an instant liking to me and trusted her judgement. (she was experienced and the proprietor of a whole block of flats).

I also heard of whole families where one of the parents was brought in by a company with a job, and the company had to move heaven and earth to secure accommodation for them - even then it was hard.

When you see how difficult it has been for landlords to evict their tenants, you can see that the whole system is completely deadlocked - nobody wins. This is why there are so many empty flats in town centres, landlords daren't rent them out.

Fortunately there are now new measures so that the local council undertakes to pay the rents if the tenant defects, but it is still a new measure and still limited. It is designed to encourage landlords to rent out property, then all they have to do is take an insurance, and they do not have to worry about being landed with dodgy tenants. It benefits everyone, and one hopes that it will soon be widespread, when you consider the number of homeless people in France - some of whom have jobs, and still have to sleep in their car, in garages, sheds etc... just appalling.

So to come back to your question, Albert, I am at a loss to, to know what people do when they come from the UK to rent for a while - unless they come across landlords through the expat grapevine, that would be my guess.

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Well, we found that the largest agency in the largest town in the département was happy to work with figures from Inland Revenue tax returns and, had we been fully retired there would have been no problem.

However, I can see that many will experience difficulties in this respect (we had succeeded in having most of our "income" in the UK arrive, perfectly legally, in a manner that involved paying no tax*, so we found ourselves in the "cash rich, income poor" group) and may well (as we did) have to post a guarantee of a year's rent (which is legal, even if rather more expensive than paying a year's rent upfront which, as 5-element says, is not legal).

Nonetheless, there is nothing to compare with:

(a) approaching the agents and trying to establish a relationship;

(b) (as 5-element says) looking through the local small ads, so that you can try and strike up a relationship directly with the proprietor.

*no, don't bother asking - all I'm saying is that I figured it out, ascertained its legality (quite easy, as it happened) and it worked for me but my particular circumstances were quite unusual.

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[quote user="5-element"]

In the end I did find a flat to rent privately, from searching the small ads in the local paper - and through being, in the end, incredibly lucky that the landlady took an instant liking to me and trusted her judgement.  [/quote]

This is what happened to us. We found our house through the small ads in the local paper - and so did the French family who rent the house behind us. It is often this way in France - for a variety of reasons.


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It definitely is, Albert. I thought the same for myself, and was quite shocked when the "relatively rich" relative declined, having already done the same thing for 2 of her children. Here it is quite a responsibility, being a guarantor. The moment there is defaulting in paying the rent, the guarantor is called upon to cough up, there is no messing about! And even close relatives are not always keen to divulge to all and sundry the state of their bank balance and income etc... which they have to do.

I wish you luck (if you need it!)

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