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The hassle-free housing solution for international residents in Europe

Few things are more exciting than embarking on a new life abroad. But if you’re worldly enough to take the leap, you probably also realise how many practical challenges you’ll face.

The hassle-free housing solution for international residents in Europe
Photo: LifeX

In many European cities, housing is one of the biggest headaches for international residents. Half of all property rental ads in Paris are illegal, according to one study, while many German cities have seen protest marches against “rental insanity”.

It’s hardly what new arrivals want to hear. But how about moving into a large, fully furnished apartment, with cleaning provided and flexible arrangements to match your life?

You could get all this with LifeX co-living if you need a place in Copenhagen, Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Munich or London. With the opportunity to share with a diverse set of international professionals, residents say the apartments also offer a great way to make new friends.

Hassle-free housing: find out more about what you get when you move in with Life X

Clean, classy and always convenient

“Everyone knows these days that time is the only thing you can’t buy more of,” says Paul Sephton, a 30-year-old South African who lives in a LifeX apartment in Copenhagen. “LifeX is a ‘plug-and-play’ model to move into a new city and feel like you’ve had a home for years.” 

He describes the services he receives as “phenomenal”. In addition to a furnished room, you get pillows, sheets, and a weekly clean. If you enjoy cooking, you can expect mixers and modern appliances, as well as basics like pots and pans.

“Things like the cleaning really save you time on a daily basis to focus on the things you want to do,” says Paul.

Ivana Jelic, 32, from Serbia, moved from Paris to Munich, where she works in venture capital, in June 2019. “If you’re coming as a foreigner, it’s complicated and the search for a flat is a nightmare,” she says. After first moving into a private rental on her own, she moved into a LifeX apartment four months ago.

“I just came in with one suitcase,” she says. “It was so easy. There were pillows, a duvet, towels, the whole kitchen is equipped – you even have coffee. You have modern furniture and it’s light and clean. It’s like a serviced apartment with everything provided but a lot more personalised.”

She also praises the administrative approach, including digital contract signing. “All this paper is removed from the picture,” she says.

Photos: LifeX

Your very own friend finder

Between four and eight people live in a typical LifeX apartment. That means around 40-50m2 of space per person on average – a far cry from a cramped studio flat. But having plenty of personal space doesn’t mean you’ll be short of potential friends.

Paul shares his apartment in the elegant and green Østerbro district with six people from six countries: Brazil, Finland, France, India, Iran, and Zimbabwe. While their origins are diverse, Paul says they all have a similar mindset about co-living that he finds “uplifting”.

“You’re sharing with people who have the common point of coming far from home and are interested in meeting and engaging with other people,” he says. 

Social events that the company facilitates encourage “organic” connections whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, he adds.

“I have colleagues who pay huge subscriptions for expat events with buffet table brunches,” says Paul, a brand communications manager. “It’s a very forced social facilitation where you try to walk away with friends.”

Ivana shares her apartment in Haidhausen, a trendy area of Munich by the Isar River, with two flat-mates from Switzerland and Lithuania. “I was in Munich for nine months before coming to this flat. I didn’t really like it and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay,” she says. “My job, which I love, together with this flat, my flat-mates and the neighbourhood actually sided in favour of staying.” 

Around one in five people living in LifeX properties are locals – so you might even find a friend who can show you around your new city.

Community and convenience: view all LifeX’s available apartments now

A home from home

Many international residents worry about a lack of flexibility in rental contracts. You may be asked to commit to a lengthy minimum period – or worry that a landlord could force you out when you have nowhere to go.

With LifeX, the minimum stay in most cities is three months – and you can stay as long as you want. Paul, who has been in his apartment for more than two years, says the experience has helped him develop a wide network that makes him feel at home in Copenhagen.

“There are lots of familiar faces,” he says. “You never really feel like you're alone in a new city.”

The size of the home and the inclusive atmosphere also helped him avoid the “strong sense of isolation” that friends who live alone experienced due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
 
Video: Ivana Jelic and Paul Sephton talk about LifeX

Ivana, who moved into her apartment near the height of the pandemic, says she had initially planned to stay for just a few months before going back to living alone.

“I moved in with LifeX during a very hard period but it was the biggest help to lift me up,” she says. “A different Munich started to exist. I no longer need to go and live on my own.” 

Moving to a new city or looking for a better home? Find out more about LifeX and its range of apartments in six major European cities: Copenhagen, Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Munich and London.

For members

PROPERTY

Tenants in France: How to make your home more energy efficient

Insulation, ventilation, heating - given the cost-of-living crisis that’s affecting France as much as many other countries, it’s understandable that there is a lot of talk right now about improving energy efficiency in homes.

Tenants in France: How to make your home more energy efficient

In France many people rent and although you would hope that your landlord would do improvements like this, if they are unable or unwilling than you have the right to do these works yourself.

It means the work is at your own expense, but if you’re a long-term tenant you may make the money back in savings on your energy bills.

Here’s how to go about it:

Inform your landlord

The first thing to do is inform your landlord you intend to carry out the work, at your expense. Do this by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. 

The letter must describe the transformations envisaged, the conditions under which these works will be carried out, and the name of the company undertaking the work.

If you have not received a written response in two months, you can assume you have the tacit agreement of your landlord to carry out the work.

Work you can carry out

A decree published in France’s Journal Officiel on July 21st defines the list of works a tenant can carry out at their own expense on the property they rent.

  • insulation of lower floors;
  • Attic and upper floor insulation;
  • replacement of exterior joinery;
  • solar protection of glazed or opaque walls;
  • installation or replacement of ventilation systems;
  • installation or replacement of heating and domestic hot water production systems and associated interfaces.

The work cannot affect communal areas of a shared property, and must “respect the expected energy performance”. 

Work cannot affect the building structure, its external appearance, require a permit, or change the purpose of the building.

What happens afterwards

Within two months after the completion of the work, the tenant must inform the landlord that the work has been carried out by the chosen company and that it corresponds to what was announced in the pre-work letter.

Other work tenants can undertake on a property they rent

In 1989, a law was passed that allowed tenants to undertake certain work on a property – painting and decorating, adding or changing floor covering – without the permission of the landlord and at their own expense.

Any other works require the written agreement of the landlord – otherwise the tenant may be obliged to return the property to its original condition. 

The landlord can also keep the benefit of the work done without the tenant being able to claim compensation for the costs incurred.

Landlord’s responsibilities

Landlords must provide decent housing, which implies, in particular, heating in good working order, and compliance with a minimum energy performance criterion. Under current rules, doors, windows and walls must be airtight. 

A tenant can only require work from his landlord on these elements, if they are deficient.

From January 1st, 2023, properties advertised for rent in France must have a Diagnostic de performance énergétique rating of G or better.

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