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France - Finding Housing

Housing in France can become a real nightmare, specifically in some areas, due to the lack of availabilty of rental properties. Foreigners might benefit from the service of a relocation agent for help with real estate search and all related paperwork, which can be daunting if you do not speak the language.
You will find all sorts of housing, from tiny flats to large villas. Keep in mind that houses (or villas) are generally located outside big cities and that the traffic could be very heavy in the morning going into town.
Before choosing, we advise you to visit the area at different hours of the day and (why not?) at night. This will give you a better idea of your new area. 

You can rent an empty apartment or one with furniture and appliances (meublé). Here are the different sizes of flats available:
- 'une pièce' is like a studio. There is a room with a kitchen and a little bathroom
- 'deux pièces' has a living-room, a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom.
- 'trois pièces' has a living-room, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom.

Houses (villas)
There are two different choices:
- villa individuelle: a detached house
- villa jumelée: a semi-detached house

If you decide to rent a house or a flat, you will sign a three year contract. During this time, the owner of the house or flat will not be allowed to change the rental price or to make you leave. As for you, you will have to pay the rent on time but you can leave the house or flat with one month's notice if your company moves you to another location, otherwise you have to give your owner three month's notice.

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