Today, I’ll share with you what the estate agents and owners don’t tell you to get your French rental file accepted! Finding a home abroad is tough! Especially when we do not know the local practices and requirements.
First, let’s revise the basics.
It is already hard enough to find a property and then to have your file accepted so if you do not provide the documents requested, there is little chance to have it accepted.
French law establishes clearly the list of documents  the tenant should provide the owner in its rental application file.
- Proof of ID (National ID card or Passport copy)
- Proof of professional situation (for example a work contract, school attendance certificate if you are a student, or your company registration called K-bis in France)
- Your proof of income (3 last payslips for employees or any other proofs you may have covering the last 3 months.) the owner will want to make sure you have a stable and regular income. *** Know that it is normal practice in France to request an income that represents three times the amount of the rent. So your rental budget is pretty much decided by the income you can prove in your file.
- The owner can also request proof of address where you currently reside
Having a paper file ready with you when you do the visit or a PDF file that would be easy for you to send straight away to the agent or owner, will put all the chances on your side!
Now let’s jump into these untold tips that will make your file stand out! These will be specifically useful to look for a property in big cities with a lack of rentals on the market.
To make the rental application a bit easier, the French administration has recently implemented a new online system where the tenants can upload their documents and the landlords view them.
This is called Dossier Facile, translated as Easy Folder or Easy File. To create a dossier on Dossier Facile, go to the website and follow the instructions. The website is translated into English for a change.
TIP# 1: Include some BONUS documents
The French law forbids owners to request some documents such as a copy of your healthcare coverage (Carte Vitale), your bank account statements or even your criminal record.
However, adding documents that reassure the owner of your creditworthiness and seriousness can only help you.[
So you may want to consider adding documents such as your Resume or a recommendation letter from your previous owner. Documents in French are recommended of course.
Beware, if you are asked for money (cheque, money order, deposit on an account, etc.), you are probably dealing with a scam. Any payment of holding deposit to reserve a rented accommodation is prohibited by law.
TIP# 2: Write a cover letter for your French rental file
This is usually something requested for a job application but consider writing a cover letter for your rental file. This letter should summarise your file and make the owner want to rent it to you.
So remember to include the full names of the tenants and guarantors, the address of the property in question, the agency in charge, the monthly income of the tenants and guarantors, their professions, their ages and the documents in the file.
Play on originality for your rental application.
You can also write that you are a non-smoker or that you don’t have any pets, which can make your application stand out from the rest.
This is another way for the candidate to stand out from the crowd.
TIP# 3: Take care of the presentation of your file
If you or the agency do not use Dossier Facile, ensure that the rental file (which can be as long as 30 pages), is well put together. Remember to print it well, on clean sheets of paper, and slip it into a plastic folder, preferably a coloured one to stand out from the other applicants.
If you send it by email, make a single PDF file, but don’t let that stop you from having a copy of your rental file printed out at each visit so that you can submit it as quickly as possible. Especially in large cities where rental pressure is high.
TIP# 4: Put all the chances on your side with a guarantor
If you think you cannot have a guarantor in France because you don’t know anyone yet, there are some solutions for you. Check out this video to find all my tips to get a guarantor, which is often essential to have your file accepted in big French cities. It is not rare in Paris for example to see tenants with executives work contracts and good income to be requested for a guarantor! This is how competitive the rental market is in Paris!
TIP# 5: Add a letter of undertaking for each guarantor
The letter of commitment from the person who agrees to act as guarantor for you can work in your favour.
Do not forget to specify the type of guarantee chosen:
- Caution simple (the landlord must go to court to force the guarantor to pay)
- Caution solidaire (the guarantor commits to pay without the intervention of the courts).
So you can see getting the keys to a rented property is not always easy, so the more thorough you are, the more chances your rental application file will have to be accepted.
I hope you found these tips useful and that they will help you in your home hunt!