You finally found an apartment to stay in France? that's great! but, it is not finished yet! After you sign the leasing contract, your landlord will likely have you go through a check-in assessment of the apartment, called “état des lieux”, and you should take it very seriously. because it is related with your deposit, called "caution", 1 month of rent fee.
A French specificity
In France, landlords and tenants have a conflictual history. With the lack of apartments in large cities like Paris, landlords have increased their rents, especially for studios and “chambres de bonne” where students usually live. The law is very much in favour of tenants, though, and landlords also try to protect themselves in many ways.
That is why an “état des lieux” takes place at check-in when the tenant enters the apartment, called “état des lieux d’entrée”, and another one when the tenant leave the apartment, called “état des lieux de sortie”.Why does the “état des lieux” matter?
The typical and sad story goes that way: Michael is an American student in Paris. He’s having fun and he does not really care about the check-in assessment of the apartment. He pays one month of rent as a “caution” (deposit) to his landlord when signing the rent agreement (called “bail”). One year later, at check-out, the landlord says the paint is deteriorated. Michael says it already was. On the “état des lieux” form, the landlord had stated “paint is new” and Michael had signed without even reading it. The landlord is now entitled to take the cost of painting fresh the apartment from Michael’s deposit.How to get back your deposit?
Pay real attention to the check-in assessment of the apartment. You will have to sign it, so fill it yourself. You can even download an English form yourself that will let you take the lead on your landlord. The law allows you to update it during the first month of using the heating equipment if it does not work.
If you have any issue with your landlord, remember the law is always with tenants in France. Check your rights online and hold on to it!