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Monday, July 08, 2013

My Grenoble apartments thus far

I've lived in three different apartments so far in Grenoble.  The first was found by an agency that my work helped me with.  It was in the San Bruno district, on the top floor of the building(4th, I believe, which would be 5th in US).  It was furnished, and not so bad, but it got extremely hot in the summer, and the pipes froze in the winter, leaving me without water for a few days here and there.  Also, the neighborhood was not so great, being regularly checked out to see what drugs I might be interested in.  And notes were placed in the entry corridor requesting people to not dispose of their hypodermic needles in the main garbage area.  I felt isolated there and was not able to meet many people in my apartment building.  So after a year of this place, I decided to try to find a shared apartment (colocation in French).

I responded to an ad for a shared apartment with four renters total, and set up a meeting with the landlord ('propriataire').  The apartment was just north of Villeneuve, on Rue Le Notre. He told me that three women lived there (two French and one Spanish), and after hearing I had a decent salary, accepted me immediately.  I was glad to live with women, and thought that I'd be a decent, respectful flatmate.  At the same time, it seemed strange that the landlord put so little effort into checking with the people living there whether they agreed to have me living with them.  It turned out that at a later time, I would be on the other end of this uncomfortable situation, but I'll have to tell that story another day.  In any case, I lived at this place for another year before getting completely fed up with it, and looking for another place to live.

My second colocation was in a better location, right near the downtown, on the other side of the Isére river, on Rue Saint Laurent.  It is the oldest part of town, and is next the longest line of Italian restaurants I've ever seen anywhere.  This place was convenient because everything was included in the rent, along with someone who would clean the common areas once a week.  It was a little small, though.  70 square meters with four people, even though one was only there a few days a week.

In any case, the time has come to try to find something a little better, and I'm in the process of searching for a new apartment for myself.

One challenge is that rental agencies sometimes require a guarantie of some kind.  If you have family in France, you can have a family member sign for you.  The main rule is just that your monthly salary should be three times the cost of the rental each month.  This is fine for me, but the additional guarantee is not so easy.  (I can get something called LocaPass, though it appears I have to pay a substantial amount for this coverage.  I'm trying to understand this point, and have heard mixed things so far.) This creates an additional uncertainty because I may think I can rent an apartment, give notice to my current apartment, and then be told that I don't have this document, and so they give the apartment to someone else.

So far I've looked at three or so apartments, and I liked one of them a lot.  I have two more to look at before deciding to go with this one.  But this added uncertainty of not knowing if I will get the apartment due to my poor French, or some issue with paperwork makes it more challenging.

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