Weekly insights about property in France!

Subscribe and don't miss an issue!

Apartment Hunting in My Own Backyard

Volume XXII, Issue 3

Hausemann style apartment buildings in Paris, France

I’m in the market for a rental apartment. If you’ve followed any of the saga about the structural problems in my apartment building, then you know that I must find a suitable apartment to move into for about one year as soon as I can in order to enable the reconstruction of the ceiling beams to begin.

This means that I have become a client of my own company, as my staff has been hired to find and secure an apartment for me. They’ve been warned that I might be their worst client (!!) even though I know oh-too-well what it takes to find and secure a property in Paris, even with “my credentials.”

“My credentials” are what the landlords will be looking at more closely than anything: Do I have income three times the rent? Do I have a way of guaranteeing payment of the rent? Will I make the best tenant out of all the other tenants’ dossiers they will be reviewing?

Meme with an explanation of what a long-term rental is

“Tell them I own a real estate agency,” I told my Search Consultant, Bernard, thinking that might carry some clout.

“That might work against you,” Bernard said. “It might make them nervous!”

Just like our clients, I created a dossier of financial and other documents including a “lettre de motivation”—a letter that states who I am and why I want the apartment, and that does as good a sales job on why I’d make the best tenant as possible. It was a fascinating exercise to be in the shoes of one of our own clients and it helps me understand even better what they go through from a first hand experience.

Graphic for a rentaldossier

During the mediation process that I went through with the Syndic and my attorney in December, they agreed to pay for the city’s official rent control rents. You can find these figures by visiting this website. Then, you must determine the characteristics of the property in order to determine what the city will allow an apartment’s rent to be. At the top of the scale, the city allows 35€ per square meter per month, or 2,450€ for an apartment the same size as mine—70 square meters. I couldn’t legitimately ask for more, either.


My parameters are no more than what is based on my own apartment: two bedrooms, one bathroom (with a tub if possible), in the immediate neighborhood (Haut Marais), no higher than third floor without a lift and with a washer (and a dryer if possible). The main objective was to stay as close to home as possible, and that has been the toughest part of all.

When we started looking at properties based on my parameters, there was nothing available at such an amount! Most properties that fit my criteria were over 3,000€ and up to 4,000€ a month. My choice is to either give up something or acquiesce to the extra expense.

The reason the properties can charge higher than the rent control rates has to do with the type of lease associated with the apartment. One cannot write one’s own lease in France—in typical French Napoleonic Code fashion, the lease must follow the rules.

There are five main categories of leases:

1) the Primary Residence Lease
2) the Mobility Lease
3) the Civil Code Lease
4) Secondary Residence Lease
5) Holiday Lease

The Primary Residence Lease is intended for those making the furnished apartment their main address. It requires a minimum stay of eight months a year, however, there are two variations: 1) standard (one year) and 2) student (about nine months). The contracts renew automatically, with termination options for both the tenant and the landlord.

The Mobility Lease (Bail Mobilité) is designed for temporary residents such as foreign exchange students and business travelers. It offers flexibility with lease durations ranging from one to ten months. Good for the tenant, there is no initial deposit required, and there is a one-month notice for lease termination. (This is not good for the landlord!)

The Civil Code Lease is less regulated than the primary residence lease and is commonly used for “atypical” properties or when premises are used for non-residential purposes. This applies to second homes and corporate housing. The duration of the term and the rent amount are freely negotiated, subject to general Civil Code rules.

The Secondary Residence Lease is suitable for those ineligible for the mobility lease. It’s more flexible than the Primary Residence Lease but stricter than the mobility lease. The minimum duration is of three months, but it’s extendable and it requires a security deposit (between half a month up to two months’ rent) and one-month cancellation notice after the initial three months.

The Holiday Lease is geared towards short-term rentals for tourists or business visitors. The limit is 120 days, and it’s non-renewable. A contract is set date-to-date, with a possibility of an extension up to 90 days beyond the original ending date. But the property must be a primary residence to comply with French law.


Wednesday I visited the first apartment of a list 11 Bernard had found for me and declared this one close to perfect—located within a few blocks of where I live now, with two good sized bedrooms exceptionally well equipped with built-in closets + a walk-in closet (!!), all modern and newly renovated with new appliances, beautiful parquet floors throughout, lots of wall space for my artwork, and spacious enough to equip it for a desk and work space. The major downside is price, as it’s well over the budget, but I don’t see that I have a choice.

The apartment found in Paris for Adrian Leeds

My dossier has been submitted and now it’s a matter of crossing my fingers that I get accepted by the owner. And the kind of lease that will be written will likely be a Civil Code Lease and possibly in the name of my company. In addition, I offered to pay six months rent in advance, which I hope “sweetens the deal.”

Wish me luck! (I’m going to need it.)

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds with Bernard BurchAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with Bernard Burch

P.S. If you’re in the market for an apartment or home to rent anywhere in France, be sure to learn more about our search services.



  1. Lisa from Albany NY on January 18, 2024 at 9:36 am

    Wishing you luck Adrian…what an ordeal (I have been following)… one of my local friends was talking last week while I was there about a construction nearby where they were removing the poutres (wooden beams) at night (which I understand should not be removed as they can connect several buildings together)…all for the sake of consumerism. I always stay in your area when visiting Paris (some of my French friends say I know the area better than them!)…in the past 12 years I’ve stayed at primarily 2 locations (until one was sold a few years back) – as I am in real estate, it too, was a bit odd to be on the other end, when an unannounced showing happened and I hadn’t showered – a French real estate lady in a big fur coat and fog of perfume entering my little sanctuary…my host/friend was livid. Next time, I made sure lights were on and left for showings. Being on the other side is always helpful to know what your clients go through. Hope to see you on my next visit at the usual Apres-Midi! And another consult is in order too!

  2. Sally Bostley on January 18, 2024 at 9:51 am

    Bonne chance. I hope you get your apartment.

    • Adrian Leeds Group on February 8, 2024 at 9:45 am

      Thank you!

  3. Bob Horton on January 18, 2024 at 10:32 am

    Thank you for this Adrian. I am just beginning my move preparations and it was VERY informative. I will definitely be using your services in the next few months.

    • Adrian Leeds Group on February 8, 2024 at 9:44 am

      Thanks so much! We look forward to working with you!

  4. Margot Desannoy on January 18, 2024 at 11:28 am

    Good luck, Adrian. And thank you for sharing your journey of finding a temporary apartment. It’s very helpful to watch your process. I hope the repairs on your real apartment take less time than anticipated.

    • Adrian Leeds Group on February 8, 2024 at 9:44 am

      Thank so much!

  5. Nick Wieder on January 18, 2024 at 3:37 pm

    Fantastic! Thank you for taking us inside the process.

  6. Tracy on January 18, 2024 at 4:55 pm

    i am sure you will get the apartment.
    im a firm believer that what you put out into the world, you will receive back and as I’ve been following you for a few months now, i can see all the love and good you send out..

    • Adrian Leeds Group on February 8, 2024 at 9:43 am

      Thank so much! Still waiting to hear about the apartment.

  7. Liz Shivel on January 19, 2024 at 11:33 am

    Hi Adrian, I read your blogs and watch you on HHI all the time! I wish you a lot of good luck in your apartment search. The photo you provided looks lovely and the herringbone patterned floors are beautiful! Is your apartment the only one having the work done or is it the whole building or maybe the nearest apartment neighbors? I recall the ceiling and beam issues. You should film your apartment search and move and have it as an HHI episode! 😁

    • Adrian Leeds Group on February 8, 2024 at 9:42 am

      The search continues. Adrian’s apartment is the only one in the building experiencing the structural issues.

  8. Heather C on January 20, 2024 at 6:16 pm

    Good luck and thank you for the incredible inspiration you are providing. I am eligible to retire in 2 1/2 years (at age 55) and I am dedicated to living at least 6 months in France once I’m free. I have watched many of your videos and am prepared to fall in love and never want to leave. Thanks to you I know how to prepare and just where to go to set myself up for a wonderful adventure.

    • Adrian Leeds Group on February 8, 2024 at 9:40 am

      Thanks so much! Let us know if you would like to schedule a personal consultation.

Leave a Comment

Let Us create a custom strategy for you

You can live or invest in France-now.

Property for sale

what's happening

Check out upcoming events, conferences, or webinars. Join us!


Learn about French Property Loan Information.

French Property Loan logo

Read & Subscribe

Dive into more by reading the Adrian Leeds Nouvellettre®

Better yet, subscribe to both and get the updates delivered to your inbox.

Adrian Leeds in red beret and sunglasses

Get started with your dream of owning property in Paris.

Join us on Youtube

Dive into more on how to live, invest & escape to France

Be sure to subscribe!

Advertise with Us

Deliver your message to 15,000+ Francophile readers in our Nouvellettres®

Save money on currency exchange. See who we use and recommend.