Paris property is famously expensive, with the high demand for housing pushing prices up even for tiny apartments in poor condition.
As anyone who has had the misfortune to be house-hunting in the city will know, finding a place to rent is hard enough, but then you have to factor in the sometimes eye-watering rent.
This was a problem that was supposed to be at last partially solved by rent control rules that were imposed in July 2019.
- What you need to know about Paris rent controls
- Renting property in France – know your rights as a tenant
These put a maximum rate on rentals and were meant to stop some of the more egregious overcharging by landlords.
The cap was imposed by the Paris mayor's office, so only applies to Paris itself – the greater Paris area and the suburbs beyond the ringroad still have no rent cap – but even within the city the rules are not being respected, according to the consumer rights group CLCV.
The group told French newspaper Le Parisien that its analysis of 1,000 representative adverts between July and November last year found that 44 percent of them were breaching the rent cap.
And the smaller the apartment space the more likely it was to be overcharging, with only 55 percent of studio adverts within legal limits, as opposed to 66 percent for two and three room apartments and 78 percent for apartments of four rooms or more.
The average overcharge for a studio apartment was a hefty €121 a month.
Going through a professional agency offers you more protection than a private rental, but still only 70 percent of agency adverts were legal, against 48 percent for private individuals.
There is a process where tenants can report landlords who are overcharging, but as of December, only 21 people had used it, either because they were unaware of the new cap or simply because they were so desperate to find somewhere to live that they were willing to overpay.
Apart from rent controls, it is illegal in France to rent out any living space that has less than nine metres square of habitable space, with a ceiling at least 2m 20cm high.
The space must also contain at least one window, an area where cooking is possible, a separate shower/bath and toilet and there must be some method of heating the property.
It must also be in a good state of repair.
Once you success in actually gaining a tenancy agreement, you have quite a few rights as a tenant – read more on your rights here.
Among those rights is the trêve hivernale – the winter period during which you cannot be evicted, even if you are in arrears with the rent.