Finding a flat in Nice

I have had a request! (There are people who actually read this! I'm shocked!) I've been asked to explain how we found our flats - which is a good idea, and one I should have written about before. Thank you for the prompt, Martin.

The first flat, we found through (on their rental properties board) -I recommend starting looking there, since it's one of the few places I've found that allow landlords and tenants to talk to each other directly, without having to go through an agent. Which means you avoid honoraires (agency charges) - normally a month's rent. It's also helpful if you don't speak a lot of French (and Anglo Info in general has some helpful articles on living in France, if you can wade through their crap website design.)

Another website to consider, particularly if your French is better, is De Particulier a Particulier - this is more use if you're in Paris, where they have lots of properties (we found at least one of our Paris flats through PAP), but they do have some properties in the Provinces...

The flat we currently live in, we rented through an agency - we'd been looking for flats in Villefranche since we first saw the place, and came up with this one, along with the contact details for the agency managing it.

You will need quite a lot of pieces of paper to rent somewhere in France - as with most things in France, actually. Passport (or ID card), proof of income - you are supposed to only rent somewhere that costs 1/3 of your income, and agencies check - proof of your last address (be warned that agencies, particularly, may contact your old landlord for a reference). Probably some other things I'm forgetting, I'll add to this if I remember them...

Price - I've just noticed Martin particularly asked about prices. €550 a month is a cheap 1 bedroom flat in a fairly dodgy part of Nice; prices go up from there. Posh parts of Nice tend to be around €850-1000 a month - you should check whether charges are included (charges compris) or not. If they are, check what that actually means. Usually, it means water (and sometimes gas, if they're using gas) is included, but electricity is not, and taxes are not. But this varies - where we are now, all charges including electricity and taxes are included. So it's definitely worth checking.

Outside of Nice, prices vary. Villefranche is more expensive than Nice, possibly because there are less grubby bits. Monaco is shockingly expensive. If you can afford to live in Monaco, you probably don't need my advice, because you can afford to pay someone to do it all for you. Beausoleil is a slightly cheaper alternative to Monaco proper, but that's not saying a lot.

I'll add to this as I think of more things to say. Martin - and indeed, anyone else who is reading this - if there are specific questions you want me to answer, let me know either in the comments or by email...

flats  – (5 February 2010 at 15:19)  

The most important thing when hunting for a flat is to find a good estate agent

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