JP is finally back in France and I couldn’t be happier! After spending the Christmas break in his hometown village, we are now settling into our new apartment in Bordeaux.
Finding an apartment here has not been easy.
It was nearly impossible when I was here on my own, but through a contact I found an apartment and we thought all would be well.
We still had not signed a contract but because she was a contact of someone I knew from my alma mater’s Bordeaux study center, I thought she could be trusted and everything would work out fine.
How wrong I was…
A while ago, I mentioned in a blog post how we had had some ups and downs with our potential landlord. At first she told us we could not have the apartment as she did not believe we could afford it, then told us we could have the apartment after all but she would be using an agency to draw up our contract.
We asked if this meant that there would now be agency fees, and lo and behold, there would be a 300 euro agency fee to draw up the contract.
This fact really irritated us as she had not disclosed that information, and I blogged about it.
Well everything was going fine and we were set to sign the contract the following Monday.
Then JP received a call from her, and she was not happy.
Apparently she had discovered my blog and was very unhappy about the post where I explain our frustrations with trying to find an apartment and the 300 euro fee.
She felt I had been very offensive and no longer wanted to rent the apartment out to us.
I really did feel bad that the post had been taken the wrong way. I didn’t mean to paint the landlord in a particularly bad light, but I did want to be honest about my experiences as an American abroad trying to navigate housing in Bordeaux.
JP explained that my blog was not directed or targeting her, but rather a lifestyle blog. Still, I privated the post as a nice gesture (it is now public, if that gives you any hints to the end of this story) and she agreed to meet with us (again, no signing) to see if this could still work out.
The blog post didn’t really even come up when we met, but I brought a bottle of wine to express my apologies and we discussed the apartment logistics.
When I first visited the apartment, I was told that charges would be included (including wifi) for 600 euros a month. The apartment was a 30m2 studio right by Porte Cailhau. (I know most people don’t blog or publish their rent prices, but as I discuss a lot of TAPIF related things, I thought it could be beneficial to know Bordeaux pricing for any of you looking at participating in TAPIF or moving abroad)
At the meeting, JP asked about the charges and come to find, wifi is no longer included.
Neither is water.
But we could still have the apartment. And even though the apartment was furnished, she wanted us to get housing insurance for an unfurnished apartment and have the contract state that the apartment was not furnished.
It made us both anxious that these charges were now not included, and the apartment rent would be closer to 700 euros a month rather than 600 with all the extra expenses. But, what other options did we have? Finding an apartment had proven to be very difficult and at least this one could be ours.
JP subscribed to an internet service and housing insurance for that specific address, also stipulating that the apartment was not furnished, as instructed by the landlord. He then called the landlord to say that we were ready to sign the contract and had paid for our housing insurance (as required by most landlords) and subscribed to a wifi service.
WELL. ANOTHER SURPRISE COMES.
She says that she wants the contract to say furnished now, not furnished. And that after speaking with her agency, she would like us to pay the entire rent from the months of January to June in one payment. (around 3,600 euros…)
At this point, I was ready to find somewhere else to live. The surprises kept coming and we had been talking to her for months now still with nothing signed. Also it felt like she was sort of trying to trap us—after we had already subscribed to these services for this specific address, she then tells us we need to pay our entire rent in one payment (which is not legal) and that if we don’t want to, she can easily find another renter. She wasn’t making any other renter pay their entire lease payments in one payment, so why should we have to?
JP tells the landlord that we will pay the rent in one payment if we can move in on January 2nd. In France, you must pay a taxe d’habitation if you move into your apartment anytime before January 2nd to cover the previous year. But as we were only going to be living in this apartment for six months, it didn’t make much sense that we would have to pay the taxe d’habitation for 2016 when we would be living there in 2017. That should be the landlord’s responsibility.
She said sure we could move in on January 2nd, but we would still have to pay the taxe d’habitation and that she didn’t want to pay it. She reminded us again that she had many other people who would be interested in the apartment and she could easily replace us.
We were both very upset about this and frantically started looking on Leboncoin for some options. I found a listing that had just been posted and JP called the landlord right away. We visited the apartment the next day and met the landlords, a very nice couple. The apartment would only be available from January to June (which was perfect for us) as the couple was working on turning the buildings into a house, their future home.
The visit went well and the apartment could be ours! We couldn’t believe how smoothly everything went and everything had been taken care of within a matter of days.
And I was so thankful we had found an apartment being rented out by nice landlords.
We were told that the construction that would take place would be touch ups (construction turned out to be louder than we thought it would be…but the noise is bearable and the landlords offered us an out after we expressed our concerns within the first week of living there)
It’s a studio with a duplex so the bedroom is upstairs and it’s in a good area. Plus, we have our own door entrance so it feels more like a little house than an apartment.
Once it’s a little more fixed up I’ll post some pictures on the blog!
I was on the phone with my friend the other day and after seeing some snapchats I had sent of the place she mentioned that the place looked small. I smiled to myself—before leaving California, maybe I would think this place was small too. But I’ve realized the difference between needs and wants, and for me, this place is the perfect size.
We have just enough space and it feels like home.
Can’t wait to show you the place!