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Renting a house or an apartment

For people moving into a new country, there can be many differences in what rentals and rental agreements contain. Because of these differences, you should read your lease carefully and be sure that you understand all wording. Legal advice may be helpful and wise.

In unfurnished apartments and houses, do not expect light fixtures, kitchen cabinets or appliances (unless the advertisement states cuisine équipée or cuisine américaine), carpets, curtains or rods. There is generally little closet space so wardrobes – armoires – are needed. Before signing a lease, be sure that you note all nail holes and any damage to walls, doors, windows, floors, etc, so you will not be held accountable for the damage when you leave.

Furnished – meublé – apartments and houses sometimes include kitchen appliances and utensils, dishes, tableware, and linens in addition to the furniture. For your protection, insist upon a complete inventory – Etat des Lieux – signed by you as well as the landlord. Just as with unfurnished dwellings, be sure that you note all nail holes and any damage to walls, cracked tiles, etc for inclusion in the lease. Reading of meters – electric, gas, and water – should also be mentioned in the lease. For unfurnished houses and apartments, leases are generally 3-year contracts.

If you lose your job or if you are transferred, submit a letter from your employer to your landlord, and you will be able to leave with only one month’s notice. However, if you just wish to move some place else before the end of the lease, you must give 3 months’ notice. Some expenses involved in renting a house or an apartment may be different.

The tenant and owner pay agency fees. Deposits – cautions – of one to two months’ rent are required from the tenant. When a tenant leaves a property, this deposit is normally returned to the tenant after the états de lieux is completed and the keys are turned over to the landlord. However, the owner is entitled to retain part or all of the caution if damages other than normal wear and tear have occurred. The owner has two months to show proof of repairs to be deducted from the caution.

Monthly rent will also include fees for the Ordures Ménagères, which pays for trash collection, etc. If you rent an apartment, charges will include the Charges Locatives, which are the fees for water and the maintenance of the building – cleaning, elevators, etc. An additional yearly tax for renters is a government habitation tax – the Taxe d’Habitation. Residents of an apartment or house from the beginning of the year will receive a notice from the CDI – Centre des Impôts – that the tax is due.