Thursday, 8 February 2007

A day of mixed emotions

What a day for David - excitement turned to frustration, anger and ultimately disappointment. Not only have we not been able to start a dossier on the 4 bedroom apartment, we have a major stumbling block that will severely limit the range of apartments we can chose from.

Renting a home in France is quite different to Australia and I thought we were well prepared for the amount of paperwork required. Real estate agents either find a tenant for the property and manage it for the landlord or simply find the tenant, take a finder's fee and hand over to the landlord. Leases are for 3 years in France and once the tenant is in the property there are many rights in their favour. Tenants cannot be evicted without a court order and cannot be evicted in the winter months at all. So landlords are, quite rightly, very choosy about who they lease to. A prospective tenant must provide a guarantor (who must be french and be able to prove they earn 3 times the rent as they are responsible for the rent if the tenant fails to pay). In lieu of a guarantor, the pratice has been to accept a bank deposit of funds by the tenant.

But it seems the practice is changing. Some tenants, who have paid their bank deposit, then refuse to pay their rent and remain in the apartment for the 3 years or until the lengthy court process eventually results in their eviction. So many real estate agents who manage properties are refusing to accept bank deposits and insist on a french guarantor. And this is the situation David has found himself in. It seems there is no way around it; he even offered to pay a full year's rent in advance. No go. We must have a guarantor to even be able to open a dossier on this property (and that's not to say we would be accepted if we had one). And we dont have one. The family friend who David is staying with has retired so could not even be her own son's guarantor. We have one distant relative in France who we have not even met, but we have decided to ask her if she or her husband would consider it. We would be prepared to deposit money into their bank account as some form of security. But it is a huge ask, of someone we have never met. So David has to face this embarassing task tomorrow and we end the day with not much hope at all.

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