Accommodation in Nice is known to be expensive. Supply is limited as the majority of housing is used for short-term holiday rentals or as second homes for city dwellers.
Some expats are lucky enough to have their employers provide housing options, a housing allowance, or a contract from which it’s possible to negotiate a favourable payment plan. On the other hand, others must secure accommodation themselves, and in these cases, there are some critical points to consider.
Types of accommodation in Nice
Expats looking to live close to the action in the centre of the city, the Old Town or along the port should note that space is at a premium in these areas, so they are likely to be limited to smaller apartments within older complexes. It is also important to bear in mind that many of these older buildings in Nice won’t have elevators and other amenities. As expats move further away from these sought-after areas, they are likely to find larger, more modern apartments.
Expats moving to Nice with a family or looking for more spacious accommodation will need to look at the suburbs of Nice. Here, expats will find more spacious houses, many of which will come with a decent-sized garden. Houses in popular suburbs such as Fabron and Cimiez provide a fair number of reasonably priced options.
Factors to consider when looking for accommodation in Nice
First and foremost, prices vary depending on location, and rental prices are considerably more expensive in popular parts of the city. However, being located centrally allows residents easier access to a multitude of facilities as well as the public transport infrastructure.
Naturally, moving further away from the city centre allows expats a wider choice when it comes to housing options. That said, expats need not worry about being isolated if they opt to live in a suburb of Nice. Even without a car, local bus services are extensive and allow people to travel easily around the city.
Aside from financial concerns, expats may want to choose accommodation in proximity to their workplace, in an area that offers them a certain lifestyle, or in a place that makes getting around easier. Since traffic can build up in the evenings, expats can avoid getting stuck for a few hours by living closer to work.
Finding accommodation in Nice
A few resources are available to expats looking to rent an apartment in Nice. Before starting the search, though, expats should keep in mind that they will need to learn about the different kinds of properties that will be available to them.
Pièces refers to the number of rooms, and chambres refers to the number of bedrooms. So, a 2-pièce, 1-chambre listing would mean a one-bedroom apartment with a salon or kitchen.
For expats who don’t have time to go apartment hunting or would like assistance, leasing agencies can be a helpful option. There are also several local websites that provide rental listings.
Agencies can give a better idea of the types of apartments available in the city and can even provide tours. These service providers usually charge a finder’s fee that is equivalent to one month’s rent. The finder’s fee does not include the cost of the security deposit that is due upon moving in. Most apartments charge a security deposit equivalent to one month’s rent, but some can ask for up to three months’ rent.
Renting accommodation in Nice
A few things to take into consideration whether searching for a place to live alone or with the help of an agency are the length of the lease, utilities, and the current condition of the apartment.
Furnished vs unfurnished properties
Some expats choose to ship their furniture over, depending on the length of their stay and budget. Others take advantage of the variety of options available within Nice, like modern furniture stores and antique markets all over town and by the port.
Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation is available in Nice. Most apartments in the centre of the city are furnished, but not all apartments have air conditioning, an oven, or a washer and dryer. Furnished options are inevitably more expensive and more likely to be available for short-term rental. Unfurnished accommodation rarely includes appliances such as a fridge or stove.
Making an application
Expats seeking accommodation in Nice will need to act swiftly once they find a place because of the fierce competition and high demand in the city, with listings commonly being taken down minutes after going up.
A good impression with a prospective landlord can be the difference between signing a lease and having to continue the search, especially when there are dozens of other eager candidates. Expats should come prepared with all the necessary documents so they can get the ball rolling as swiftly as possible.
Standard leases in France are generally for 12 months. It is possible to negotiate shorter leases directly with the landlord, but most property owners are reluctant to do so. Leases can vary depending on the landlord, and usually require one month's notice before moving out.
The law in France mostly favours the tenant, meaning that eviction or raising the rent can be a difficult task for a landlord. A letter must be sent to the tenant at least six months before a rental increase, informing them of the landlord’s intentions. The landlord also has to show that the rental increase is in line with the market value of the property.
When signing a lease, expats should be sure to read the paperwork carefully in order to understand what is included in the rental price. Some rentals include utilities like electricity, heating, cable television and internet, but tenants are typically responsible for paying their own utility bills.
The deposit for an apartment is usually one month's rent, with the expectation that the tenants will provide two months' rent in advance in addition to this. When viewing an apartment, expats should make sure to note any issues or changes that will need to be made before moving in. It is also necessary to have home insurance in France, whether buying or renting. Insurance can be purchased at a bank and will vary on a case-by-case basis. A copy of the lease and proof of address are usually required. If the inventory shows no damage upon the departure of the tenant, the full deposit should be returned.