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How to Find a Roommate in France On Your First Try

Finding a roommate abroad can be tricky, but this guide offers solutions to find your perfect match in France. Many people are interested in sharing a home and the rent; the key is knowing how to find them, and we'll help you in that endeavor.

Section 1: Finding Roommates

Section 2: Vetting Potential Roommates

Section 3: Shared housing

Section 4: Additional Resources

 

If you’re an expat in France who wants to live modestly while enjoying the vibrant French lifestyle, sharing an apartment with a roommate could be your ticket to achieving just that. However, finding a compatible roommate in a foreign country can be challenging. But don’t worry! There are several options available to help you find a shared flat that suits your needs.

Here are some proven strategies if you are wondering where to start searching for the ideal roommate.

Section 1: Finding Roommates

Online Roommate Platforms

In this regard, online roommate platforms such as Appartager, La Carte des Colocs, Colocatère, Bailti, Leboncoin , Colonies, and Cohebergement can be extremely helpful. These websites allow you to search for flat shares according to your preferences and contact the owners directly.

Among these, the most popular is Appartager, where you need to create an account and fill out your specific criteria to receive offers that might correspond to what you’re looking for.

Another website that you can use to find a roommate is Craigslist, which has a massive classified section with listings worldwide. You can post your listing or browse what’s already available.

Roomster is another global roommate finder that you can use to search for a roommate worldwide, an open room for rent, or a tenant if you have a room to fill. This option is helpful if you’re the type who likes to do as much research as possible on a person before meeting up.

However, keep in mind that almost all sites focus on roommates or rentals, you’ll have to be wary of scams.

Mater application

In addition to these online platforms, you can also use the Mater application, which is explicitly designed for expatriates looking for a flat share. It allows you to find roommates with common interests and similar lifestyles. You can create your profile and start looking for roommates within minutes.

Enter online roommate finders, web-based tools that help connect roommate-seekers for a (hopefully) harmonious shared living situation. Like a dating app, an online roommate finder lets you browse potential matches and select who you’d like to meet for further consideration.

Social Media Groups

Social media can also be a good place to find a roommate, so don’t hesitate to post an advertisement or join Facebook groups dedicated to house-sharing.

Don’t overlook the power of social media—especially Facebook. The platform hosts numerous groups for people relocating to France and seeking roommates.

Language Schools

Often overlooked, language schools are a fantastic resource for finding roommates, particularly in large cities. Many students in these institutions are expatriates adjusting to life in a new town and likely need sharing accommodations.

Real Estate Agencies

Lastly, many specialized agencies exist if you’d prefer to place your trust in professionals’ hands. 

You can contact a real estate agency specializing in flat shares. These agencies often have a list of available shared properties and can help you find accommodation that suits your needs.

Offline methods

Offline methods can also be effective in building personal connections and trust. Using these offline methods allows for a more personal interaction from the start. You never know when an unexpected connection might occur! 

Here are some offline strategies you can use to find a roommate in France:

1. Local Community Boards in public spaces

2. Universities and Educational Institutions if you are a student

3. Workplace Bulletin Boards

4. Networking through Friends, Family, and Colleagues

5. Local Events and Social Gatherings

Nevertheless, a roommate is bound to specific rules of life by paying the rent and utilities on time or respecting the co-ownership rules and life with all the roommates. 

Alternatively, if you are looking for more detailed guides on renting in France, check out our overview of the rental market in major French cities like Paris, Lyon, and Marseille, as well as the typical costs of renting in France.

Section 2: Vetting Potential Roommates

One of the most important criteria for finding your roommate(s) is to figure out what you have in common. Naturally, the atmosphere in the apartment will be much more pleasant if you agree on several subjects. 

Before signing the contract, ensure the compatibility of your living styles. It can still be a successful cohabitation even if you have different habits and values.

You need to judge your personality compatibility and determine whether you are looking for the same thing in a shared rental: a calm space or a lively house.

To avoid having to share the purchasing of furnishings with your future roommates and move in quickly, turn to furnished rentals. 

When you imagine your perfect roommate, consider whether your lifestyle fits with the current apartment tenants before signing your lease. Whatever rhythm of life suits you, it is important to visualize it within the roommate dynamic to see if it will match with the other tenants.

It would be best to define non-negotiable criteria after seeing the importance of common ground and differences.

  • For example, can you live with a roommate who smokes inside the rental unit? If so, can they smoke inside the apartment or on the balcony? Are there any rooms that are off limits, such as the kitchen? 
  • Do you accept pets? Can your roommate own a cat, a dog, etc.?
  • Just as each tenant has the right to peace, do you allow your roommate to organize parties in the apartment?
  • Do you need quiet for your work, and do you appreciate privacy?
  • Finally, cleaning is one of the most essential criteria in your search. Define your tolerance level for housekeeping from the beginning.

Tips on the best ways to find a roommate

  1. Keep a healthy dose of skepticism when trying to find a roommate online.
  2. Do your due diligence, and you should be able to find a great match quickly and easily.
  3. There will always be many great options and success stories, but you must be aware of potential scammers and illegitimate postings.
  4. Don’t sign a lease or share any financial information before confirming legitimacy. Constantly meet up with potential roommates in a public place.
  5. If you end up with someone you don’t know, get references from past roommates and landlords and perform a credit check on that person.
  6. Moving in with a roommate can be challenging. It’s best to be as prepared as possible as you get to know your roommate. If you disagree on anything early on and some subjects are a deal breaker, it’s better to know sooner.

Before prospective roommates move in with you

This period involves several factors to consider closely:

1. Financial criteria are crucial.

Consider whether your prospective roommates’ incomes are stable and compatible with expense sharing.

2. Personal compatibility

Equally important, ask yourself questions about their lifestyles: are they more into partying or quiet? Do they have pets? Cleanliness and organization should also be on your list.

3. Communication is key

Please make sure they are open to discussion and compromise. Don’t forget to consider the duration of the commitment; everyone must be on the same page regarding shared living space.

4. Get references from past roommates if you can.

5. Get references from past landlords. They can verify residency and on-time payments from your potential co-habitant.

6. Perform a credit check on the person. This should give you a good indication of the person’s ability to make bill payments.

7. Finding that person starts with asking the right questions. The ideal questions to ask a potential roommate are those that give you insight into who a person is and how they prefer to live. For instance:

  • What do you do for a living?
  • Do you get along with your previous roommates?
  • What’s the most you can spend on rent?
  • Do you smoke or do drugs?
  • Do you have any pets or plans to get a pet?
  • Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  • What’s your policy on guests?
  • What’s your ideal roommate situation like?
  • Could you tell me about your cleaning practices?

Section 3: Shared housing

Shared housing refers to multiple tenants renting the same dwelling unit as their primary residence.

Shared housing involves multiple individuals, who may be strangers or friends, sharing a single dwelling. Typically, all roommates sign a standard lease agreement, making them jointly responsible for obligations towards the landlord. This is known as a single lease agreement, contrasting with multiple leases where individual contracts exist between the landlord and each tenant.

The rules applicable to the lease and landlord’s obligations are very similar for shared and standard housing. You can learn more about that in our articles on Rental agreements and Landlord responsibilities.

On the financial level, the roommates can apply for state aid, including APL, which is no different from traditional renting.

There are many advantages to sharing a home: you split expenses, which means more affordable rent and lower bills for everyone. Plus, there’s always someone to talk to, share a meal with, or help you when needed.

Of course, there are also some drawbacks. As such, differences in lifestyle and minor conflicts can arise. 

Roommates’ Obligations

Roommates must:

  • Pay rent and other utility charges.
  • Use the premises peaceably as intended.
  • Maintain the property, barring normal wear and tear.
  • Insure against rental risks and show proof annually or when the landlord requests.
  • Be jointly responsible for all payments due under the lease, which allows the landlord to demand full payment from any roommate if others fail to pay.

Terminating the Lease

  • If all roommates agree to leave, they must send a joint notice with all names and signatures.
  • The departure of a single roommate doesn’t end the lease; it continues with the remaining tenants.
  • If a new roommate joins, the lease must be amended, and the landlord cannot impose a new tenant without the current roommates’ consent.
  • The outgoing roommate remains liable for payments for six months post-departure unless replaced sooner.

Notice from the Owner

If a solidarity clause is in the contract, the landlord’s notice to terminate the lease applies to all tenants. This usually happens for reasons such as repossession or sale of the property.

Types of contract for a co-living 

Depending on the landlord, there are different ways to establish a lease agreement for a shared living situation.

  • A lease for each of the co-tenants

The individual lease is similar to a traditional lease between the lessor and the tenant. 

Each roommate has a contract. This provides some independence but also means that each person is responsible for their rent and obligations.

  • A single lease for all the co-tenants

Everyone signs the same contract, simplifying payments and obligations, but it also involves collective responsibility.

This type of contract allows the landlord to place all the roommates on a single contract. All the tenants are obliged to sign this lease. Otherwise, their legal status in the eyes of the shared housing could change from co-tenant to occupant.

It is also possible that the landlord includes a solidarity clause. In the case of unpaid rent or the departure of one of the roommates, the remaining roommates agree to pay the total rent.

  • The primary tenant and the sub-tenants

One of the roommates is designated as the primary tenant, while the other roommates have subtenant status. This can be convenient for managing things but requires a good understanding of the legal implications.

With the landlord’s agreement, the tenant can sublet the apartment. In this case, the co-tenants are not subject to the above solidarity clauses. In the case of the primary tenant’s departure, the sub-tenants will automatically have to leave the accommodation.

Handling conflicts

Problems can arise within a shared living arrangement. Whether it’s about rent payment delays, damages to the property, or unresolved disagreements among roommates, the legal and financial consequences can be significant. For roommates, this can result in internal conflicts, tensions, or even the premature end of the shared living arrangement. 

Financially, suppose one of the roommates fails to pay their share of the rent. In that case, it can have repercussions on the others, as the lease may contain joint and several liability clauses, forcing the remaining ones to cover the total rent if one of the roommates defaults on payment.

Additionally, property damages can lead to deductions from the security deposit, which can be unfair to those not responsible for the damages.

But the consequences don’t stop there: guarantors, who assume financial responsibility for the roommates in case of problems, can also be affected.

If a roommate cannot fulfill their financial obligations, the guarantor may be called upon to make payments. This can lead to family or friendship tensions and create problems in relationships outside of the shared living arrangement. 

To avoid these unpleasant scenarios, it’s essential to carefully select your roommates (if you have the choice), establish clear rules from the beginning, and maintain open communication to resolve conflicts.

Establishing communal living rules from the start can significantly help avoid future conflicts. Respect your roommates’ space and privacy while being willing to contribute somewhat to household chores and financial responsibilities. Fair sharing is the key.

Co-living

Finally, you can explore co-living for an even simpler shared living experience. It’s like shared living, but better. Co-living allows you to live in spaces designed for community, with inclusive services and carefully selected roommates for maximum compatibility. There is no need to stress finding the perfect roommate; everything is set up for a lighter mental load. 

We covered the basics of co-living here, so feel free to check it out.

Quirks of communal living

Flat sharing in France, known locally as “colocation,” is a popular choice for those looking to save on rent and make new friends. However, living in shared housing can often lead to unexpected situations.

Living with flatmates in France can be as much an adventure in cultural exchange as it is a lesson in patience and humor.

Many flatsharers in France find themselves living with people from various parts of the world, which leads to a rich exchange of cultures. For instance, it’s common to have themed dinners where each roommate prepares a dish from their home country.

France is famous for its strikes, affecting everything from public transportation to postal services. Flatmates often bond over the shared challenge of adapting to these disruptions, like figuring out alternative ways to get to work or school together.

The transient nature of some flatsharing arrangements, especially in student cities, leads to stories of quickly formed friendships and sudden goodbyes. The constant change of roommates can be both a blessing and a challenge.

Many apartments in cities like Paris are in buildings that are centuries old, which adds a charming but sometimes challenging aspect to flatsharing. Residents might recount dealing with peculiarities like ancient plumbing, small elevators (or none at all), and the need to maintain silence in buildings with thin walls and strict noise policies.

This can be a reminder of the unique and sometimes challenging world of flat sharing in France, characterized by a mix of cultural adjustments, personal eccentricities, and the trials of communal living.

Flat sharing in France can also bring moments of unexpected joy and friendship. Like when flatmates throw an impromptu cheese and wine party on a Tuesday night, inviting everyone they’ve ever met.

Or the winter evenings you spend with your flatmates from various corners of the globe, exchanging stories and holiday traditions over cups of steaming hot chocolate. These moments make the challenges of colocation worthwhile, turning flatmates into lifelong friends.

Section 4: Additional Resources

As an English-speaking expat who has just moved to France and is looking for a community of people in the same boat, you can discover the expat community in France with our list of top expat forums, clubs, and groups.

In the end, flat sharing in France teaches you more than just the French language; it teaches resilience, adaptability, and the importance of humor.

Each quirky flatmate and overbearing landlord adds a chapter to your story of living in France, interspersed with cultural faux pas, peculiar habits, unexpected friendships, and a treasure trove of anecdotes.

Whether it comprises students, workers, foreign or French roommates, the ideal flat-share for you exists! There are plenty of people looking to share a home — and the rent — with another person. You just have to know how to find them.

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