Got a crazy bill this month? Here’s a few tips to reduce your next one

You might not be aware of it but your home and your daily habits are extremely energy intensive. Not to mention the environmental concerns, those habits can have a significant impact on your electricity bill.

This article aims to give you some tips to reduce you electricity consumption and understand why you might receive a bill for regularization.

What is the regularization bill?

Your bill is calculated on an estimate of your consumption. During the year, your consumption is evaluated so that your electricity supplier can bill you your actual consumption over the year: through the regularization bill.

For example

Your annual bill will be between € 31 and € 50 per square meter. For a studio of 20m ², you will have to pay a bill spread between 620 € and 1 000 €, depending on you energy supplier.

For a 50 square meter flat, it will be between 23,5 to 36,2 € per square meter per year.

A schedule is established for the first eleven months of invoicing but in the 12th month, regularization may be necessary, depending on your consumption. If you consumed more than expected your electricity supplier will ask you to pay the difference, if you consumed less than the estimate, they will refund you.

How to save some electricity and some money at the same time ?

1) Unplug the devices in standby

TV, computers or microwaves in standby continue to consume electricity. It may seem convenient at first to have them plug at all time, but it will cause you a significant loss of money each year.  We therefore encourage you to unplug them to reduce your electricity consumption.

2) Use a power strip

Using a power strip to turn all devices off at once is easier then to unplug all your devices one by one. It will also help you reduce your electricity bill. So, think about buying one next time.

 

3) Find the ideal temperature

Heating is often the first energy consumption item in a house, temperatures vary from one room to another but they should be around:
• 19 ° C in the living rooms and 17° C in the bedrooms

Therefore, don’t overheat your home and make sure you have this numbers in mind next time. Sometimes, wearing an extra sweatshirt at home will actually help you reduce your electricity bill.
Lowering your heating by one degree will make you 7% of energy! Which means 7% of your bill! Save euros €€€€€

4) Take advantage of the off-peak hours rates

Off-peak hours are hours where electricity is 30 % cheaper. It will vary a bit depending on your city or district in Paris but it will generally be around 11pm until 7am.

Use this hours if possible, if you have to run your dishwasher or other devices.

You can find other useful tips here

 

 

 

How to find a guarantor in France ?

A guarantor is a third party, such as a parent or close relative. He will be the one to pay your rent if you can not do it. In France, a guarantor is required to rent an apartment.

Finding a guarantor to rent an accommodation when you are a student, can be a challenge.

We are going to introduce you the requirements needed to have a guarantor in France and others options that exist now if you don’t have one, for you to find the solution that fits you best.

1. The traditional guarantor in France

The first option is to have a “traditional” guarantor which in the case of renting an apartment in France is a French guarantor. A guarantor allows you to pay your apartment monthly with just one month deposit. In some cases, like with the student residence Estudines, International guarantors are also accepted.

In France, your guarantor needs to meet certain criteria:

  • Agencies accept a guarantor who earn 4 times one month’s rent each month
  • If your guarantor doesn’t earn enough, you can have a second one and they both need to earn at least around €2000/months

If you don’t have a guarantor you will have to pay your rents in advance in most cases, sometimes 3 to 6 months’ rents in advance, every 6 months and in other cases the whole stay!

However, other solutions exist now to help you rent a student accommodation and find a guarantor.

2. Garantme

GarantMe act as your guarantor during your stay in France. To check if your are eligible and can subscribe to their service, you have to compiled their file online, they analyse it in 24 hours, certify the documents and issue a deposit that will protect the lessor’s income, up to 36 000 €, for the duration of the lease and its renewals

Finding an apartment with Garantme is simple because they work with real estate professionals that trust them:

  • Student residences: 15 networks including 3 market leaders, CROUS, Nexity Studéa and Les Estudines
  • Real estate agencies: 300 branches and now two large networks Foncia and Orpi
  • Research platforms: Adele, Immojeune, Location-Student, Loc-Services now use Garantme

Who is your guarantor?

A strong insurance company well-known by landlords : GALIAN . Rents, charges and occupance allowances are guaranteed for the duration of the lease and its renewals up to € 36,000 by GALIAN.

How does it work?

  • To be eligible, you need to have enough revenues or financial resources to pay your rent or find a sponsor who has enough revenues or financial resources. Resources can be abroad and they can be savings.
  • You pay 3.5% of your rent for the rental period as the Garantme fee

Ex : for a rent of 500 € and a term lease of 12 months
The annual price is 500 * 12* 3,5%= 210 € (17,5€ per month)

More information available on https://www.garantme.fr/

 

3. Garantie Visale

Garantie Visale is a 100% free solution that will open doors for you.
VISALE is a deposit given by Action Logement to the tenant who pays the rent and the rental charges of the principal residence in case of payment default.

To benefit from it, you have to submit a visa application. Then, the renter accept the demand, you have the guarantee that you will not have to pay any other deposit.

It’s reassuring for the owner with Visale, the owner is secure to perceive his rental incomes during the length of the rent.
You can access your situation at any time, your personal data and documents are available on your personal account.

 

How does it work?

  • You have to be between 18 to 30 years old, no matter your financial situation
  • The rental price should not exceed 1300€ in France (excluded Paris) and 1500€ for Paris
  • It should not be covered by other guarantees (personal guarantee or insurance), not concluded between members of the same family and in case of colocation, it should be individualized for each roommate

The lease must be signed after obtaining the Visale guarantee contract (and before the end of the validity of the tenant’s visa).

More information available on https://www.visale.fr/

Habitation Tax Explained

Habitation Tax : If you’ve been living in an apartment in Paris this year, you might have received something called a tax habitation in the mail. What is it? And why dd you receive it? 

 

Habitation Tax

A tax d’habitation is a municipal tax issued by the government every year in November to be paid by January 1st to owners or tenants of property within their jurisdiction. Do not confuse this with a “taxe fonciere” which is a municipal tax to be paid by the owner of the building, not the tenant. You are liable to pay for the tax if you have been living in your current lodging since January 1st of that year. Even if you only stayed in your apartment for a couple of months, if you were in the apartment on the 1st you are required to pay.

The habitation tax is determined by the size of the apartment, the income of the owner, as well as a number of other tax factors. It can be anywhere from €90 to €3,000. When you sign the lease for your apartment (or for a student residence),  check to see if it is listed as a main residence or a second residence, as second residences have a much more expensive tax. Also, when you fill out your tax form, make sure to unclick the box that says you have a TV in the home if you do not have one, as this will also raise the price of the tax.

 Why should you pay ?

If you are still unsure whether you have to pay, the first thing you should do is review your lease agreement. Sometimes the habitation tax is included in the deposit fees for the apartment and therefore you have already paid for it. If your lease is unclear, contact your landlord and ask whether you have to pay it or not. Sometimes apartment owners in Paris do not register with the tax office that they are renting and therefore must pay the habitation tax themselves. However, this is unlikely.

If you are renting a room in an apartment or sub-renting an apartment (meaning you have a contract with the person renting the apartment not the owner) then you don’t have to pay the habitation tax.

If you are living in a public student residence, you do not have to pay this tax. However, if you are living in a private student residence, but moved in after January 1st and are living there for a short time period, you also do not have to pay the tax. If you are unsure, contact your administrative office.

Unfortunately, since you are an international student and are not a tax paying French citizen, you are not entitled to any tax reductions. Most likely, you will have to pay the tax and can do so a number of ways. You can simply take a check or mail one into your local tax office, indicating your address, identification and lease agreement. Or, you can pay online and create an account here and elect to pay the lump sum or in monthly installments. You will need your bank account details and your tax information found on the invoice you received in the mail in order to make this account.

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This is the page where you will create your account. As you can see, there are three required numbers all of which are found on your third tax d’habitation, so make sure you keep the original document. The first two numbers are found on the first page and third is found on the last page of the invoice. If you cannot find these numbers or you have lost your tax d’habitation, go to your local tax office.

The good news is that the government is planning on eradicating all of the habitation taxes by 2021. So if you are planning on living in Paris for a long time, you’re in luck!

Finding Free Housing in France

Struggling to find cheap accommodations in Paris? Housing in Paris is one of the top complaints among international students because the options are slim and the prices are high. Feel Parisien is now able to offer affiliated students free accommodations through our partnerships with French tutoring programs.

If you are a native English speaker or speak English fluently without an accent, you may be eligible for this program. If accepted, you will be a private English tutor for a French family in or near Paris for three months. You will tutor in English for 15 hours a week and in return receive free room and half-board (two meals a day).

Don’t worry, you can still be a full-time student if you enter this program. The weekly schedule will revolve entirely around your academic classes. If you schedule your time right, you should be able to have weekends off!

This program is a great option for students coming to Paris looking for cheap, short-term accommodations. Even if you are staying in Paris for longer than 3 months, the program gives you the opportunity to save some money and search for housing in person instead of online. Also, more housing options open up after September because there are fewer students looking for accommodations. 

Another bonus is that the visa application only requires proof of residence for three months in France, so this program is a great option if you are struggling to find other arrangements in time to apply for your visa.

Staying with a host family is a great first initiation into life in France. It is a great opportunity to practice your French and to learn more about French culture and home life. Who knows, through your host family, you might even meet some French friends!

If you are interested in this program, indicate such on the platform or contact us for more information.

Need furniture for your Paris flat?

Moving to a new apartment in a foreign country is hard enough without having to worry about furnishing it from scratch. Buying furniture can be expensive, but not if you know where to look. Read this article for our recommendations for affordable places to buy furniture in Paris.

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New Furniture

Tati

Tati is a great source for cheap household goods in Paris, with many locations across the country and in Paris. See a full list here. The store is a one-stop shop for everything you could need, from appliances to utensils, to even clothing.

 

Maisons du Monde

This store is a great option for the stylish decorator, known for its cute decor and modern furniture. They are frequently having sales so check them out for some bargains on quality furnishings. See all locations in Paris here.

 

Ikea

Everybody’s favorite build-it-yourself store, Ikea is always a good option for affordable goods. Unfortunately, there is no location in Paris but one is coming soon, hopefully by Summer of 2019. Otherwise make the trek to the branch outside the city, accessible by the bus stop at 77 Boulevard Saint-Jacques or by car. I do not recommend this if you do not have a car, as the bus can be unreliable and it can be difficult to transport all your furniture back by yourself. Ordering online is your safest bet. 

New location: 15 Boulevard de la Madeleine, 75001 Paris

 

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Used Furniture

Le Bon Coin

Le Bon Coin is a French online trading site for anything from used furniture to hand-me-down shoes. You can find some great deals here so don’t miss out. I would recommend being a good French speaker or at least having one nearby in order to successfully complete transactions. This site is also a good option for selling furniture when you leave Paris.

 

Emmaus

The equivalent of Goodwill for you Americans out there, Emmaus is a great option for second-hand items of all shapes and sizes. An NGO and donation-based, Emmaus will be your cheapest option for household items. It is also a great place to donate your furniture when you leave Paris. Check the website for all store locations in Paris. 

 

Happy bargain hunting!

How to Apply for the CAF

CAF is rental assistance allocated to those that qualify by the government. CAF is a great resource for international students who need financial aid. If you are living in a studio apartment, you can earn as much as €200 euros a month. If you are living in a shared flat, you can earn as much as €180 a month. Read on to see if you qualify for CAF and how to apply.

The following are the requirements to be eligible for the CAF:

Low income 

As a student, you most likely have a low income, typically under €10,000 a year, and thus qualify. The CAF also takes full-time students into consideration. On the application, simply declare your total income for the last two years. If you are required to provide proof, your tax returns for the last two years from your home country should do the trick.

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Qualified housing

If you intend to apply for CAF and are looking at apartments, verify that the apartment qualifies for CAF before you sign the lease. First, it must be a year-long lease in your own name. You must have your landlord sign the application, which they might refuse to do due to possible tax scrutiny by CAF. If you are living in student housing, you will most likely qualify but you should confirm with the administration to be sure. Also, if you are living with roommates, make sure they also qualify for CAF when you apply, as that can impact your acceptance.

Have a valid student Visa with OFII 

You cannot receive CAF without these documents. If you do not have an OFII upon arrival in France, apply for one immediately. Check the platform to see if you have access to our OFII services. 

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Have a French bank account

The rental assistance will be paid to you directly or to your landlord. In the case of the first option, you will need a French bank account. 

 

If you wish to run a simulation of what your CAF will be, visit this website.

In order to apply for the CAF, simply go to their website and fill out the online application.  We recommend that you apply as soon as you secure accommodation. The CAF payments will begin the second month of your lease, so if it is possible to move in at the end of August and pay half rent, do so, as the payments will then begin in September instead of October. Do not be concerned if you do not receive payments right away. It often takes several weeks or even months for the application to go through, but you will still receive payments for the entirety of the year, sometimes in the form of a lump sum. 

If you are struggling with your application, Feel Parisien offers services that will help you complete the application, walking you through the process step by step until you have received your CAF. If you do not have access to our CAF services, reach out to your university about obtaining them. 

TIPS for CAF

You will collect the aid from the following month of the application of your lease. Of course you need to wait to move-in in your flat  to be able to apply.

If you move-in in Sept and apply during this month, the aid will start in Oct but if you move-in in Sept but apply only in Oct, your aid will start in Nov.

f your lease starts the 31st of August and you’re applying this day, your aid will starts the 1st of Sept.

If your lease starts the 1st of Sept and you are applying this month, your aid will start the 1st of October.

So when you ask for an accommodation contract, ask for it to start at the end of the month instead of the beginning, to not loose one month.

You won’t receive the aid until you apply for it on the Internet. That’s mean if your lease start in Sept but you wait until Oct to ask for it, you will be eligible to earn the aid from Oct. So even if you don’t have all the documents required, such as the birth certificate or its translation in French, we sugget you to apply for it before the month of Oct so you won’t lost one or several months of aid. You will be able to send your documents later by post or upload them online, and the date of your online application will considered as the begining of your aid.

Your story N°2: Why choosing a host family ?

by Mr King (Egypt)

Why The Family?

Bonjour/ Bonsoir to all my friends coming from all over the world. Having this chance to live the Parisian experience is a bless. We are here now surrounded by kind people who speaks the most romantic language on earth, but we cannot understand them because it’s a different language than ours. So, why the family?

Depending on your goal, your future plan & situation. I will always say YES to the family because the minimum benefit you could’ve is the language. I won’t say a 100% proficiency but at least it will help encouraging you to speak freely without feeling shy or at least being more confident about yourself. You might say I don’t need to speak French, everyone here speaks English. True, but sometimes you will find yourself in the middle of

nowhere where the train stops because of an accident and the announcement goes with French, seeing everyone packing and standing up while you can’t understand a single word. This happened to me two years ago. So, at that very moment I understood that I NEED to learn French ASAP. And frankly speaking I found the family the easier way to understand, learn and speak French. Also, never forget the more exposure to the culture the more fun.

Being a part of the French society will guarantee you an easier life and a better lifestyle. Because living the Parisian experience is way different than being a tourist in Paris. You are now a part of this city living day after day in the same place, having new memories to add, more stories to tell & much more smiles to draw. The family am hosted by is super lovely, respectful & kind. I feel like home. They never bothered me or even made me feel like a stranger. I have my own privacy. They helped me with different things regarding the city, the routes I should use to my university, we had dinner together… and much more of more home alike attitude. And here I would like to say something, you are the responsible of how they treat you. Your attitude reflects the real you so then you can gain respect, trust & love.

Most of you consider it more expensive than living alone which is not true in a sense. Having the breakfast meal provided by the hosting family saves you almost the extra amount you pay for breakfast on a daily basis. Also, the location of the hosting house could be nearby your school which saves you extra money too. I am not asking you to accept whatever option of hosting family you have, but I recommend you consider it as a great option for living and improving. No one knows better than the original people of each country. Try not to focus too much on parties and wasting time with friends because as we mentioned previously it all depends on what your goal is?

Being a student means you are kind of a full-time dedicated person to earn knowledge, language and certificate. So, work harder and forget about TOO MUCH FUN now because this is your future trip.

I wish you all best of luck, happiness and success.

Tips to help you look for a cheap accommodation in Paris

GET YOUR KEYS TO A CHEAP ACCOMMODATION IN PARIS

Looking for a cheap accommodation

They are hundreds of websites on Paris accommodation, millions of housing ads for students or professionals in Paris and it’s difficult to go over the flow of information especially if you are on a budget and looking for a cheap accommodation.

 

The price

It’s really hard to find a cheap accommodation in Paris. You will need a budget of approximately minimum €650pm. Sometimes students have heard on blogs or other channels that they can find accommodation in Paris for 500€… well it’s not accurate or not up to date as of 2019.

 

Be careful to scams

First thing If it’s too good to be true it’s usually a scam. Anything less than €450 pm sounds like a cheap accommodation but is most likely to be a scam , so please watch out! You can try to get stipend from governments like the CAF  or get a job if you need money to cover a Paris rent.

50-something male looking for 20-something female is never a good sign (its a colocation offer, not a lonely hearts ad!), stay internet savvy and don’t meet up with potential colocataires alone, always take a friend with you – likewise when viewing accommodation!

 

Check out how to avoid scams in this article

 

Look around Paris.

There is this mythology of living in Paris but now a lot of neighbourhood like Pantin, Bagnolet, Vitry have access to Paris in 10 mn with the metro and give access to way better prices.

 

Now some recommendations of websites and student residences.

Websites

Erasmusu : please only look at verified housing and be careful because there can be a lot of scams on this website. Great website for meeting up with potential colocataires and Erasmus students.

Appartager : Plenty of websites to find potential colocataires good way of meeting new people

Studea Hauts de Seine A student residence from 534€

Facebook Groups

Plan Appart Paris

Plan Appart à Paris

Plan coloc à Paris

You can also try reaching out to your country peers in France like Americans in Paris etc, they have sometimes great tips to share.

The cheapest rate that we have seen so far in a student residence is at Ecla for a room with 6 to 8 persons. Check it here. Around 330€/month

Good luck in your search!

Here is a testimony from one of our students Summer:

“Yes, finding an apartment was not easy at all and I will share all three experiences I have encountered the past year.

I was not in Paris yet when I found my first apartment. It took me a few months to find one. I struggled at the start because most owners required a visit. I found my apartment on appartager.com. It is the perfect website if you are looking for a house mate or room mate. However, there are down sides to appartager.com. I noticed there are quite a handful of con artists so students have to be careful. Most of the owners only accept payment by cash. Some require a deposit before visiting. I was almost conned. I came across a really beautiful 32m2 apartment up for rent for 450€. It was located in the 10th, a prime area. For that price in that area? I found it too good to be true. I contacted the owner and she was extremely nice and told me to make advance payment for 2 months of rent. It was weird for her to request that since I have not visited the apartment yet. She seemed to trust me 100%. I will not go into details but the events that followed after that convinced me she was a con artist and I decided not to proceed with payment.
I managed to find an apartment in the 20th for 500€ per month. My owner was an Algerian woman. Exchanging messages was hard because there was a language barrier and I depended on google translate most of the time. She seemed legitimate and was very kind to me. I trusted her words. There were 4 rooms in the apartment and 3 were occupied. She told me she would wait upon my arrival and save the room for me.
When I arrived in Paris and got to the apartment, I realized she was staying in the living room with her 16 year old daughter. That was definitely something she missed out on telling me about since the start. I found it a little dishonest from then onwards. I tried to overlook it because at least I had a room to myself. I talked to my house mates about it and they told me they felt the same and were not too happy about it which is why they only come back at night to sleep. She has government aid as she is a single mother so she is technically not supposed to rent out her apartment and claim rent from anyone hence why she only accepts payment by cash and I could not apply for CAF. I did not feel comfortable staying there and wanted to leave but thinking about the whole process of finding a new apartment did not intrigue me at all so I stayed on. However, I only stayed there for 2 months before I got kicked out. Yes, I got kicked out for something she gave me permission to do, which was inviting friends over to my room. One of those days she told me I had to leave and gave me 2 weeks to look for another apartment. That was obviously impossible to achieve in that time span and by then I had already started classes so I was under a lot of stress. My friend took me in while I was looking for a new place.
She stayed at a residence called Nexity, next to Rosa Parks RER Station. I stayed with her for 3 weeks and felt like I was invading her personal space as she stayed in a 21m2 studio, 1 bedroom. It was not a student residence as I saw tourists, families and old people staying there. I would say majority were students though. There were studios available in Nexity but the rent was way over my budget! 21m2 were the biggest rooms available. Most were 19m2 and rent starts from 817€ per month. I found it very expensive but at that point I was desperate and tired of being completely out of luck so I decided to settle with the 19m2 studio.
I stayed there for 8 months. I did not have much complications there I just felt like they overcharge everything. I was free to do anything I want as long as it does not include damaging the furniture. I moved out because I did not like the neighborhood and I just felt like Nexity overcharges everything.  The only reason why I stayed there was out of desperation and it was walking distance to school. It was convenient. On the day I moved out, a staff came in to check how clean my room was but yet she charged me with a cleaning fee. I moved out on the 29th of June this year and I am still waiting for my deposit back after deducting cleaning fees and I have yet to know the amount.
Currently, I am in Malaysia for the summer break and my boyfriend and I decided to stay together and share rent. We are still in search of a way bigger apartment around the 3rd and 10th arrondissement where it feels more like Paris. We are searching on websites pap.fr and leboncoin. My boyfriend has made 2 visits so far and another next week.
Yes, I am aware agencies like Paris stay, book a flat and Paris attitude offer great apartments/studios but charge crazy fees on top of it so most of my friends and I usually search on pap.fr and leboncoin.
I hope sharing my experience will help shed a light on what foreign students like us face when we search for accommodation, and hopefully this will help you in your planning of operations. “

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