How do escarow accounts work in France?

I urgently need to know the basics of how the French-equivalent to escrow accounts work for the purpose of renting an apartment. For anyone unfamiliar with the real estate rental market here in Paris, let me just tell you that it is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Great apartments are extremely rare and there tends to be a highly competitive process to obtain them. My friend just told me that for his apartment there were 250 inquiries (not sure how many offers) and 3 weeks worth of competing with other prospective tenants!!!

So getting back to my question, I don’t know what they call escarow accounts here (I think the rough translation to the proper term might be a French " bank guarantee" but I need to know if they generate interest, if the money stays under my name (or is a shared account with the landlord) and any other pertinent basics such as this.

merci bien and wish me luck, I have my first meeting with the agency tomorrow morning!

sorry, I meant “escrow” and not the poorly spelled version I typed in the thread title.

I love it!!! The first time I’ve ever seen “escargot” misspelled for “escrow” and in a thread about France!:slight_smile:

That’s what I saw when I first read it, anyway…

And best wishes, of course, andrea_green!


umm, was I just whooshed?

No, you weren’t. I went back and edited… sorry!


IIRC, the money is not accessible to you or the landlord until the end of the contract; it does not give interest. By putting your deposit in escrow, the landlord is guaranteeing that he’ll have it available when you leave, so that you can get it back (assuming no damages are assessed) no matter what else happens to his finances.

Paging clairobscur

Présent ! :slight_smile:
Well, nothing is deposited in escrow when you rent an apartment here. The landowner, however, may (read : always will) ask for a “depot de garantie”, that he gets to keep (so, no interests for you) until you leave. This “depot de garantie” can’t, by law, be more than one month of your rent. You will get it back after you leave (providing of course that there’s no damage, no unpaid rent, etc…).

So basically, you’ll have to pay two months of rent when you’ll enter your apartment, and will get one month back when you’ll leave.
Escrow accounts exist, but they’re used only if there’s a dispute between the renter and the landowner. In this case, it’s possible to deposit the rent in such an account instead of paying it to the landowner until the dispute is resolved. It’s called a “consignation” in French, but it is to be hoped that you won’t need informations about that during your stay in Paris.

Aha, so when I rented an apartment where the deposit was placed in escrow, this was actually an additional guarantee for me. Merci!

By the way : you’ll have to write down an “etat des lieux” with the landowner when you’ll enter your apartment. This is a document detailling any pre-existing damage or other issue in the apartment. You’ll write another when you’ll leave and it will be the basis used to establish whether or not you’re owing something to the landowner (necessary repairs, cleaning, etc…).
Make sure to check everything and write down everything (a stain on the wall, a window difficult to close, whatever…). Do not let yourself be convinced otherwise. I’m speaking from experience.

Seems weird to me that anything was deposited in escrow when you rented an apartment in France. Assuming that you rented it more than three years ago, the “depot de garantie” would have been the equivalent of three months of rent (instead of one month now) but would have similarly be kept by the landowner.

Besides, AFAIK, there’s only one (state-owned) financial institution that can keep such escrows, and it does so only following a court order.

So, I’m wondering if you rented a “regular” apartment from a “regular” landowner, or if it was a special case (a “residence universitaire”, maybe, if youn were a student at the time?). I’m also wondering how much you deposited and where.

It was in the Three Borders area (in St Louis specifically, which for those who don’t feel like searching and with my apologies to them can be described as “the French side of the Swiss city of Basel”), in… uh… 2007, and rented through an agency. One-year contract.

It’s an area with a lot of movement, where something like living in Germany, working in Switzerland and shopping in France is considered routine and people move there and away a lot; I don’t think I’ve ever lived in another place where I met so many people (not direct colleagues of mine) who’d moved there on a limited-time contract.

One year? Were furnitures provided? (contracts are normally for three years, but only one year for “meublés”, apartments where furnitures and equipment is provided. Those contracts obey to different rules, favoring the landlord).