We are all moved in, and, after a long, exhausting process, we are comfortable in a spacious and airy apartment. Our shipment from the US is out of the 250-euro per month storage and we are again among our favorite familiar things. 

But first, a few words about the rental process in France. Perhaps not surprisingly it is exasperating. 

The apartment seeker does all the work of finding a place. You will never get a phone call from an agency telling you about new listings. So hunting them down is a full-time job. Agents are also quick to tell you why you won’t like a place and maybe don’t really want to view it. Often, they seem quite perturbed that you showed up at their office to make inquiries, but since calls and emails are not answered it is what a searcher must do.

The “good” apartments are taken quickly, often even before they are listed, so one is forced to make periodic visits to agencies, an unnecessarily unpleasant task when agents are so reluctant to engage.

There is no such thing as a multiple listing. Even branches of the same real estate company can’t cross sell from one to the other. 

We have heard that the reason for agents’ lack of enthusiasm for finding renters for their clients is that apartment rentals require a lot of paperwork, and return very meager commissions compared to those from sales. It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around that one.

Because Nice is an expensive and in-demand rental market, not all landlords feel the necessity to keep their properties in good condition. Sadly, that was true in our case, requiring an investment in painting and sanding that we had not anticipated.

It is perfectly normal for appliances to be missing from an unfurnished rental. So we now own an oven, washing machine and refrigerator that we’ll take with us when we leave. Air conditioning is more prevalent than before, but not routine. Nevertheless, it is indispensable in the Cote d’Azur summer. We asked our landlord to share in the installation of it for two rooms, but he declined and suggested we proceed anyway. Instead, we bought two mobile units that we will sell later or take with us as needed.

We did see quite a few gorgeous, newly renovated places amid a lot of dross, and in a few cases were eager to sign a rental contract. Repeatedly, we were rejected. The reason was the biggest obstacle standing between us and a home.

Renters have enormous legal leverage in France. They are seen as the common folk who are getting screwed by greedy capitalistic landlords. The laws reflect this. It is notoriously difficult to evict a renter, even one who has not paid rent for years. Plus, it is illegal to evict in winter and anyone more than 70 years of age. Even squatters have tenancy rights, only weakened a bit this summer after the trial of a family who had broken into someone’s second home on the Riviera, changed the locks and settled in. 

This is all to say that landlords are very nervous. So they take out a newly popular insurance policy that pays out for unpaid rent for up to three years, the time it usually takes to evict a derelict tenant. The insurance company requires that the tenant have a French income, to eventually garnish against it. Therefore, we do not qualify. And, as we dismayingly discovered, virtually all landlords have bought this insurance, the Assurance Loyer Impayé. 

Which is why, when an unfurnished apartment opened up in the building where we were already renting, with a nice view on Belle Epoque buildings and palm trees, managed by a hard working concierge, on a quiet dead-end street, with no requirement of French income, we went for it. And seriously, we now love it. As we await President Macron’s announcement this evening on new anti-Covid restrictions, which rumor has it includes a one-month national lockdown, we are grateful to have such a lovely place in which to shelter. 

About kmazz

I spend as much time as possible pursuing my interests in global culture, photography, arts and politics.
This entry was posted in expat, expat life, France, Nice, France. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to L’Emménagement

  1. Hooray for you and David. Sorry for all the fuss, but glad you’re settled in now. Enjoy! And HAPPY HALLOWEEN and HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

    Best to you and David. You are missed!


  2. Mel says:

    I love this story. Thank you for posting.

  3. Karen McKay says:

    So glad you have such a lovely place! Can’t wait to visit😁.

  4. What you write about is true all over europe but not to the degree that we found in Nice. Last year we visited Nice with the intention of finding a rental place. We had a very difficult time because the agents were not interested. Listings on agent’s websites were always no-longer available. Requests for meetings with agents were always turned down for a variety of reasons. In the end we gave up on Nice and moved to Tuscany instead. Good luck on your new place.

  5. Lynn Blasberg says:

    Well you obviously made a good move even though it was such a hassle for you. I saw the photos from Dave and there are spectacular. Love your bedroom view! Everything looks so bright and airy. Glad you were able to secure it for at least three years and you don’t have to go through this too soon again. We are all counting down the days till the election in the US and hope the results are favourableFor Biden. Fingers crossed! Lots of love. Good luck in your new place! Lynn

  6. cichand says:

    We are fortunate that we did not have to deal with that when we found our lovely apartment on Victor Hugo. It will a blessing during the lockdown.

  7. Yolande JOURDREN says:

    Hi Kathleen,I agree with everything, except for the term ‘Amenagement’, which refers more to the layout or the design of the flat. ‘Emmenagement’, meaning the fact of moving into a new flat, is more suitable here.

    Envoyé depuis Yahoo Mail pour Android

  8. jnewton@bluehousecg.com says:

    Very nice. Sounds like a lot of work, but wonderful to be settled. The photos are great.



  9. Ian says:

    Very pleased that you are nicely settled into your new residence, having outlasted the fearsome French bureaucracy. What a formidable challenge for you! It seems that the only way to secure appropriate accommodation is through useful contacts. With your a/c units you will now be able to stay through the hot months. Meanwhile we are hoping that DT will soon be moving, along with his family, from the White House to the big house, ideally Guantanamo. Enjoy your new digs!

  10. cynthiapagni@yahoo.com says:

    Great blog Kiki! 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

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