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Finding a Rental Apartment in Paris and Filming It!

Adrian Leeds Taping an episode of House Hunters International in Paris

Twenty-nine years ago today, my husband, daughter and I arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport to begin our adventure of living one year in Paris.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! What a joke that was!

This is one reason why I tell almost all our clients embarking on their own adventures, “Plan on never going back!”

At the time, we thought anything was possible, but never dreamed our lives would take such twists and turns…but I have always remained steadfast in my love of France.

At that time, finding a furnished rental apartment was difficult because of the long distance without the internet. We ordered-up a printed copy of the FUSAC, a classified ads publication in English (that still exists). In it, we found rental agencies advertising and called them long distance. My then-husband went to Paris for a week months in advance to visit properties and secure one. He did just that and secured a large three-bedroom apartment in the 17th arrondissement. At the time, going from 3,000 square-foot house in Los Angeles to a 1,400 square-foot apartment in the 17th arrondissement with the family’s discarded furnishings, puke-colored carpet and views only of gray walls and courtyards was a shock!

Boy, have things changed since that first day!

For example, this past weekend I filmed my 52nd episode of House Hunters International. The first one was as long ago as 2006. The “contributors” in this episode were Franco/Mexican newlyweds who had been living in Mexico City until he (François) was offered a job in Paris, so they moved to his hometown (Paris). She (Luisa) is completely new to all this and is going through the usual cultural divides, as we visited furnished rental properties. In the process, she discovered tiny refrigerators, washing machines in bedroom closets, and a host of other normalities of life in France that weren’t so normal for her in Mexico.

Looking over the shoulder of the cameraman for an episode of House Hunters International with Adrian Leeds

We filmed in several different parts of Paris, which woke me up to the rich texture of the city once again. So much has changed over the years, and so much has stayed the same, too. I can’t give away too much until the show airs about six months from now, but we filmed one apartment that was overflowing with history and charm in the 18th arrondissement. We walked up and down the steps of Sacré-Coeur, through Place du Tertre and other parts of the “quartier” as part of the “travelogue.” I couldn’t remember the last time I did just that, as that particular part of Paris is a haven for tourists and not one to which I make a point of visiting on a regular basis.

The Sacré-Coeur on Montmartre in Pairs

The Sacré Coeur

View of Paris from Montmartre

View of Paris from Montmartre

What a shame! I should be a tourist in my own town more often! It’s magical, in spite of the throngs of Parisian-wannabees.

On the other side of town, in a bourgeois and beautiful suburb, we discovered the difference between living inside the 20 districts vs. living just outside.

I joke that when you’re living outside the city, you’re not as likely to stop home to change your shoes if you want. Plus, the suburbs tend to be more family-oriented and not as interesting for young people who want to meet their friends for a drink at a local café or bar. But, it’s less expensive for the space and that can be very attractive.

The opposite was true for another apartment in the very heart of the city in one of the oldest districts on one of the busiest pedestrian streets, where there is no shortage of cafés and restaurants. Early on Sunday morning when we set out to film, there was almost no one on rue des Rosiers. But by 11:30 a.m., the line to the best fallafel stand in Paris, L’As du Fallafel, was already all the way down the street.

An empty rue des Rosiers on Sunday morning in Paris

An empty rue des Rosiers on Sunday morning

In line at L'As du Fallafel on rue des Rosiers in Paris

In line at L’As du Fallafel on rue des Rosiers

Of course, there’s a price tag to consider with each district and the apartments in central Paris are slightly more expensive, but not as much more than you might think.

Since July 2019, the rent on a residential lease (including a “mobility lease”) is governed by reference rents fixed by the prefect. These fixed rent amounts depend on the category of accommodation: empty or furnished rental, the number of rooms, and the period of construction of the building. In some cases, a rent supplement may be provided for in the lease.

Some properties are not covered by the rent controls because they are subject to other rules. These are the dwellings that fall within the “1948 Law” category, or contracted by the Anah (excluding intermediate rent agreements), or are considered social housing (HLM).

(To learn more about the fixed rents, visit “L’encadrement des loyers en Île-de-France“)

Our contributors have a dog named “Jeff”…a huge dog…a Saarloos Wolfdog. I wasn’t familiar with the breed, as one might see more small dogs in Paris than large dogs for the obvious reason—space. They learned very quickly that the moment they uttered anything about having a dog, their dossier presented to the landlord went to the bottom of the stack and no one was willing to rent to them. In the majority of cases, however, landlords cannot prohibit tenants from owning animals, whether it’s a dog, snake, rat, bird, spider, or any other pet! Tenants have the legal right to own animals in their rentals, and no prohibition imposed by the landlord, whether oral or in a lease agreement, is valid.

François, Luisa and their dog, Jeff in Paris

However, tenants are obligated to ensure that their pets do not disrupt their neighbors’ enjoyment of the property, cause damage to common areas of the building, or pose any dangers. If an animal causes harm, noise disturbances, or other issues, the pet owner is liable for their actions. Take note that landlords do have some discretion regarding certain types of pets. For instance, the law distinguishes between different categories of dogs, such as those in categories 1 and 2, which are considered attack, guard, and defense dogs. Landlords may prohibit tenants from having these specific dog breeds in their rental properties. Additionally, certain “new pets” (NAC) or exotic animals may also be prohibited, especially if they are considered dangerous or protected species. Seasonal rentals may have different rules, and landlords can decide whether to allow these kinds of animals in their properties.

Our solution: don’t divulge that Jeff exists…until they have been chosen by the landlord! So, keep this in mind when you get ready for your own rental!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds with HHI contributors Luisa and FrançoisAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with contributors Luisa and François

House Hunters International logoP.S. To all of you who have recently moved to France and would like to have your 15 minutes of fame by being a “contributor” on House Hunters International, send us an email. They are looking for young people (mostly) who are moving to France and it doesn’t matter if you are renting or buying—we do both kinds of shows. It takes about four to five days to film, and it’s fun. There’s also a small reward that would help offset your rent, so why not do it if you have the time and inclination to be a star!? Email me and tell me your story and why you should be considered. Then, I’ll pass your info on to the casting directors!

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