Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
Resource for people that would like to live or travel in France.



Daily Life



Moving Planner


Q & A

Reading List

Travel Planner


Expat Store

Driver's License



Disposal Units


Learn French

Tax Services


Apartment Hunting in FranceFoncia Molland

I recently had a very bad experience with a French real estate agency. The name of the agency is Foncia Molland, located in Annemasse – near Geneva.

When I moved with my wife and son from Dijon to Reignier we rented our apartment through Foncia Molland. At first everything was okay. We signed the lease (Bail) and paid our deposit and got the keys after an inspection of the apartment. The apartment was in a building that had been built in the 1980’s and the only real problem that the apartment had was pealing paint in the bathroom.

Before moving into the apartment, as is standard in France we did an inspection - état des lieux. This is (or should be) a comprehensive inspection of the apartment, where even the most minor defect should be marked down and photographed if possible. This might seem overboard but you will see below why you should write down everything.

In our case it turned out that a lot of things were not written down. If a defect is not written in the état des lieux, or the renter does not inform (in writing by registered letter) the landlord within a month of a defect that was missed during the état des lieux, then the defect does not exist and the renter will be liable for the estimated cost to fix the defect. Note: The landlord does not have to fix (this has been confirmed by French law) the defect but the renter has to pay for fixing it even if there is no repair.

During the inspection just before we moved in, it was noticed that the toilet had a crack. The inspector who worked for Foncia Molland said this was marked in the état des lieux. This was not confirmed at the time and Foncia Molland was not informed within a month of the état des lieux, so this defect was at our charge. Foncia Molland ended up using part of our deposit to charge us for a new toilet.

This isn’t all, during the état des lieux when we left, the inspector (who did not work for Foncia Molland) notice many more defects than were listed in the first inspection, most notably scratches on some of the windows. All the windows of the apartment had a film for protection. It was unclear if the scratches were on the glass or the film. It was unclear if the scratches were on the glass or the film. The inspector admitted this but nevertheless noted the scratches. We ended up paying the cost for new windows just because they had a few scratches! Yes, it’s really true. Needless to say this meant that we were not going to be getting much of our deposit back.

The estimation for repairs was done by an established company - Compagnie nationale d’expertise et de mesurage but the inspector made a few mistakes, for example he miswrote the date we entered the apartment. This, for an expert who noted every defect he could find is intolerable and can constitute what French call a 'vice de forme'. Even though, Foncia Molland refused to give back some or all of our deposit. They said it was a simple mistake.

We of course have contested all of this, but to no avail. So as a result I’m passing on what I learned about Foncia Molland and I’ll let you decide to use them or not.

Follow @jeffsteiner






Search Site

Travel Store


Auto Rentals


Cell Phones


Phone Card


SIM Card



Terms &

This site
uses Cookies!

Terms of Service


Follow me
on Twitter.

Facebook Page

RSS Feed