Accommodation in Nice is known to be expensive. Supply is limited as the majority of housing is used for short-term vacation 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 contact 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 important points to consider.
Types of accommodation in Nice
Expats looking to live close to the action in centre of the city, the Old Town and along the port should note the space is limited and 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 one moves further away from these sought-after areas, expats 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 to 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 transportation infrastructure.
Naturally, moving further away from the city centre allows expats a wider choice when it comes to housing options. However, 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 close 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
When looking to rent an apartment in Nice there are a few resources available. 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.
Pièce refers to the number of rooms, and chambres refers to the number of bedrooms. So, a two pièces, one 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 month’s 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. Leases can vary depending on the landlord, and usually require one month's notice before moving out. Some rentals include utilities like electricity, heating, cable television and internet. Most apartments in the centre of the city are furnished, but not all apartments have air conditioning, an oven, or a washer and dryer.
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.
Some expats choose to ship their furniture over, depending on the length of their stay and their 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.
Lane Nieset is a freelance writer and stylist whose work has appeared in Women's Health, Town & Country, INsite magazine, and on MyRecipes.com. She graduated in 2010 from the University of Florida with degrees in magazine journalism and French. Learn more on her website.
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