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There’s nothing quite as lovely as waking up in your very own Paris apartment. After all, it’s the city of culture, of lights, and of love. Finding a place to live here is an exciting process, but unbeknownst to many, there are some aspects of Parisian apartments that can cause you problems underneath the city's classic charm. So if you need some help on what to look out for, here are 5 red flags for apartment hunting in Paris:
Before giving any Parisian apartments a good look, make sure to check the listed price. CNBC's report on rental prices in the top cities in the world notes that the average rent for a one-bedroom unit in Paris is around $1,730 (€1,600). If the price of a unit you are looking at is at a much lower price or is just simply too good to be true, it's possibly because the landlord is using it as bait. Whether they're leading you on only to suddenly hike up the rent or are concealing the apartment's gaping flaws, your best bet is to cross out that property from your list.
Peeling paint, dirty windows, a broken fireplace, and dusty balconies are telltale signs that the apartment will feel more like a maintenance nightmare rather than a home. Try to browse through pictures of an online listing to see if you can spot one of these signs. But if you’re visiting with an agent and notice that the home is neglected, tell them right away that you’re opting out. Be careful of a property’s owner who is only looking to pass any liabilities on to you. And if you do decide to spruce things up on your own, it could cause trouble between you and your landlord, who might not be happy that you made those adjustments.
Apart from getting bitten, bugs can threaten your health by transmitting dangerous bacteria and spreading disease. Inspecting for bugs should be a top priority for apartment hunting in Paris. Seeing a few ones on your visit indicates that the apartment isn’t in good shape, or it could even mean that pesky bed bugs are lurking somewhere. As we’ve previously shared in our post on ‘Bedbugs Everyone is Concerned’, bed bugs can cause a myriad of problems, such as body itching, painful blisters, and red patches all over your body. If you find yourself with these signs too late after moving in, do consider seeking professional help.
An efficient heating system is essential for your Paris rental, since temperatures can drop as low as 3 °C during the winter. Plus, an aging or failing heating system not only puts you at risk of freezing in the winter, it also causes higher heating charges. When surveying a potential home, a guide by HomeServe on how to diagnose central heating problems recommends checking the thermostats, timers, and pilot lights in addition to the radiators and pipes. Cold radiators can be a sign of airlock and pump problems, while leaking pipes might cause low water pressure or the growth of mould. It’s best to ask your agent or landlord when the last annual boiler service was, as it’s mandatory for all non-electric units in the country. While the image of a rundown apartment may be the considered part of the city’s charm, you won’t find it quite as romantic when you are shivering come the winter months.
Don't forget to ask your agent or the landlord if the unit has a good drainage system — or you can check it yourself by looking over the water systems. To survey your prospective Paris apartment’s drainage system, HouseLogic’s feature on drainage problems points out that gushing gutters, cracks in the foundation, and deposits on the walls are major warning signs of poor drainage. This will help you avoid problems like damaged walls, flooding, and the dreaded August leaking problem in Paris. Indeed, the BBC shares that water pressure in the city can get out of control during this month, since most people are still on vacation and do not take care of their pipes.
Despite the above points don’t be put off from living in an apartment in Paris. If you find the right place it truly is the city of romance and adventure.
Picture Credits @samefaisrire