I have started thinking that life in France can be so much more complicated than life in the US and looking for an apartment has definitely confirmed that trend. In Lyon, there are way more people looking than there are apartments available. When I went to visit a small one-bedroom apartment in Villeurbanne a couple of weeks ago, I was told that within a couple of hours of posting the ad on the website http://www.leboncoin.com (the French equivalent of Craigslist), they had received about 80 phone calls and just as many emails!
But that’s not all! Owners are taking advantages of the situation and are asking a lot of their potential renters. In order to be approved, you have to provide the following documents:
- Copy of your ID
- Copy of the last three paychecks
- Copy of the last tax return
- Proof of renter’s insurance
- Proof from your last landlord that you do not have any outstanding rents or other charges to pay
- And last but not least, you need someone to be your guarantor, meaning that that person will be responsible for paying whatever you owe should you no longer be able to financially provide for yourself. This also implies that you need to provide items 1-5 for your guarantor, no matter what you personal income might be.
For example, when my brother (who has a very decent and stable job with a nationally well-known local company) rented a new apartment in his late thirties, he had to ask mom and dad to back him up… How about that for being financially independent? At the same time, I guess he will not be too surprised when I ask him to back me up! Because ironically, he may not be able to rent an apartment on his own, but he can most definitely help me get one of my own…