Rental accommodation, whether furnished or unfurnished, is nowadays mainly advertised online. However, in order to find the right property and rent it on the best possible terms, some practical advice is essential.
Finding the perfect property: set your criteria
With a wide selection of properties advertised online, to search efficiently and avoid spending hours in front of a screen, you’ll need to clearly define what you’re looking for: rental type (furnished or unfurnished), location, key criteria (proximity to public transport or a parking space, local shops and schools). If you’re not really familiar with the area, using Google Streetview will help give you a sense of the neighbourhood.
If your initial search doesn’t produce good results, it’s a good idea to request email alerts, as most websites advertising property will offer, which will let you know as soon as a property matching your criteria becomes available.
It’s obviously preferable to pick advertisements with photos: visits are time consuming and the more you can find out beforehand, the better your chance of finding someone that meets your needs. Nowadays, certain agencies offer not only plans and photo galleries, but also fully-immersive virtual visits (like Lodgis Agency: You can now walk through a Lodgis apartment online with a virtual tour) that give you a real sense of the property. For furnished rentals it’s also common for tenants not to visit a property before renting it, an extensive presentation in advance will help them avoid being disappointed on arrival.
Prepare your guarantee documents electronically
For your first exchanges with the real estate agency or the owner, it’s a good idea to ask what documents are required for the file creation, and not to forget to bring them with you for the visit. As a general rule, you will need to provide your 3 most recent payslips, your 3 most recent rental receipts, your employment contract, your bank details, your tax assessment and even money for possible security payments.
It’s also nowadays crucial that you have these documents at your disposal electronically. This will enable you to send them across before a potential visit (without you having to make unnecessary journeys and giving you the reassurance that your documents are satisfactory). Most importantly, this will allow you to save precious time before signing the lease. There is a set list of supporting documents that can be requested by landlord or the real estate agency to create your rental file: asking for documents that do not feature in this list is illegal.
What to do between visiting your future property and signing the lease?
During your visit, don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions and check certain thinks like the heating, electricity and plumbing. You should also consider measuring the width of staircases and/or doors and windows if you have large pieces of furniture, a piano for example.
You should also know that an owner doesn’t have the right to request a booking deposit.
It’s also, of course, important to carefully read through the lease agreement before signing it. The rental charges must be indicated, and you should certainly clarify what they cover (heating, hot water,etc.).
Nowadays there is a standard template used for lease agreements.
Whem the keys are handed over, it’s vital that you carry out an schedule of fixtures. This must include any defects you have observed. Furthermore, as part of the furnished rental, a precise inventory of the existing furniture and equipment must be drawn up. Currently 11 items/appliances are required for a property to constitute a furnished rental.
A final piece of advice: show enthousiasm! Owners and real estate agents often receive several requests for the same property, undoubtedly with the same guarantee documents, and they will prefer renting a property to the smiliest, most positive prospective tenant.